is a stress disorder that is best explained as an overactive amygdala. The amygdala is a more basic animalistic part of the brain that is designed to react quickly to potential dangers by activating a stress response in the body. It causes sensitivity and quick responses to small triggers such as the smell of smoke, a siren or a sudden loud noise, the stress hormones released increase heart rate and focus the brain on potential dangers. The stress response causes heightened vigilance of one’s surroundings as the brain looks for potential threats, limiting one’s ability to take in new information and learn from experience caused by the tunnel vision that stress creates. It is the prefrontal cortex that makes the executive decision of how to respond to the trigger and determine if it is a false alarm or not. If the amygdala reacts strongly enough, it can overwhelm the system and the executive function of the prefrontal cortex is overridden. At this point the individual “takes leave of their senses” and basically resorts to conditioned responses. In a traumatized individual the amygdala has learned to be hyper reactive, being triggered more easily, it is harder for the prefrontal cortex to control. Most modern trauma therapies focus on calming the amygdala by giving the person coping skills and processing the original trauma to prevent future unnecessary stress responses. Therapies teach victims to cope by challenging the victims new outlook developed in reaction to trauma and repeated stress responses.