Tasks of the Limbic System
“I can't control my anger, but then I feel quite remorseful for what I did.”
“Sometimes it's even hard to do my daily routine. I become a prisoner of intense emotions.”
For many of us, these sentences that we write, unfortunately, are not unfamiliar. Emotional ups and downs affect our quality of life above our estimate. In order to better understand the reason for all these experiences emotionally and to approach the subject from a different perspective, we will examine the limbic system with the support of neuroscience.
The limbic system can be defined as a small but very important set of structures in the brain. This structure is defined as the brain network system, which is responsible for controlling emotional impulses and memory formation. In addition to hosting fear, anger, hunger, sexual centers, it also carries out learning and remembering functions.
The limbic system supports many basic elements such as emotions, behavior, memory and learning that are necessary for people to survive. For this reason, the definition of ‘emotional nervous system’ is also used for the limbic system. In previous years, the limbic system was also referred to as the olfactory brain, as it was thought that the limbic system was mainly related to the sense of smell.
The scientific world continues to study and naturally discuss which structures are located in the limbic system. However, according to current data, it is supported by many scientists that the hippocampus, amygdala, thalamus and hypothalamus are located in the limbic system.
Hippocampus: There are two hippocampi on each side of the human brain. These two hippocampi are the memory centers of the human brain. The hippocampus is also linked to learning and emotions. Damage to the hippocampus in one way or another causes serious memory problems.
Amygdala: The amygdala is located right next to the hippocampus. Our emotional reactions are shaped on the amygdala. The control center of our happiness, excitement, anger, anxiety and other emotions is the amygdala. The amygdala interacts with the hippocampus by attaching emotional content to memories.
Thalamus: Responsible for other sensory organs such as taste, sight, hearing and touch, except for the sense of smell.
Hypothalamus: regulates the endocrine system (hormone secretion), the autonomic nervous system (vital functions that are not under our control, such as breathing, digestion, heartbeat, saliva, sweating) and the sleep cycle. Its main tasks are nutrition, sexuality, regulation of body temperature and biological clock.
Tasks of the Limbic System
Today, it is known that the limbic system controls many important functions related to human life. Neural networks in the limbic system, emotion, behavior, motivation, memory formation, olfactory, sleep (dreaming), appetite, sex drive, including a variety of psychological work in harmony with other brain structures to control the functions. The tasks of the limbic system can be summarized as follows:
* Evaluation and processing of emotions, emotional reactions,
* To be aware of the threats and to give the body the fight or flight message,
* Memory consolidation and recall,
* Emotional response to pain,
* Regulation of aggressive and combative behavior,
* Control of certain motor behaviors.
The limbic system is also the structure that establishes the connection Decoupled between emotions and physical reactions. For example, stress causes high blood pressure over time, or emotional problems affect the digestive system, such as…
Diseases of the Limbic System
In case of problems in the limbic system, many psychological problems can be experienced. The possible problems that will be experienced are related to where the damage is in the limbic system. For example, a damage to the amygdala can cause problems in the sense of fear, causing it to be unable to understand alarming situations. A person can be harmed because he cannot comprehend dangerous situations. If the hippocampus is damaged, memory may be affected or there may be difficulties in learning new things. Damage to the hypothalamus, on the other hand, causes changes in the production of certain hormones, and this problem can also impair psychological health.
The possible consequences that may occur in case of problems in the limbic system can be listed as follows:
* Seizures, epilepsy or movement disorders,
* Overeating, turning to food for emotional reasons, or other appetite disorders,
* Substance use or addiction,
* Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, which can cause a number of chronic symptoms,
* Low energy, feeling of chronic fatigue,
* Persistent pain,
* Low motivation, depression,
* Being severely affected by light stimuli such as sound, light, smell, touch, stress,
* Post-traumatic stress disorder,
* Mental fatigue,
* Problems such as adjustment disorder, memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer's,
* Behavior changes such as lack of boundaries in behavior, irritability, violence, mood changes,
* Brain fog condition, defined as a difficulty of cognitive functions,
* Fear and anxiety disorders,
* Changes in libido,
* Different problems with the digestive system,
* Obsessive compulsive disorder,
• Bipolar disorder,
* Movement disorders (Huntington's and Parkinson's, etc.)