Complex PTSD Workbook: Vagus nerve; part one

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The vagus nerve plays a central role in ANS regulation because it connects your brain to your digestive system, heart, lungs, throat, and facial muscles.
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Dr. Stephen Porges introduced polyvagal theory , which proposes your nervous system reflects a developmental progression with three evolutionary stages:
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• When you experience a stressful event, your ANS responds with sympathetic nervous system mobilization into the fight-or-flight response. This process aims to protect you and help you reestablish safety.
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• If you can’t resolve the stressful situation or are facing a life-threatening event, you will resort to an earlier set of evolutionary mechanisms maintained by the dorsal vagal complex (DVC). This parasympathetic branch of your vagus nerve puts an abrupt, unrefined brake on your sympathetic nervous system by promoting immobilizing defensive actions such as fatigue, depression, or dissociation—consider concepts like fainting or feigning death.
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• In order to regulate your ANS, you need to engage the most recently evolved parasympathetic branch of the vagus nerve called the ventral vagal complex (VVC), or alternatively, the social nervous system. This branch functions as a highly refined brake on sympathetic activation, and has a calming and soothing effect.
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Importantly, both the DVC and VVC have parasympathetic actions that exert inhibition on the sympathetic nervous system.
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The DVC inhibits it in a negative way (dissociation, helplessness, and despair), which can have serious repercussions on mental and physical health.
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Conversely, the VVC is associated with increases in health and emotional well-being, as it allows you to rest, digest, and relax into feelings of safety and connection.
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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on May 31, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Thank you

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