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About Clinical Psychology

As humans, we have been evolving for over 300 million years. Our brains are among the most complex and brilliant products of evolution on earth. Nearly 100 billion neurons within each of our heads communicate on a daily basis, solving all kinds of issues within the body, such as changes in environment, talking with others, reading, etc. As people, however, we still struggle with intense emotional stress. If you find yourself often in a state of sadness, if your emotions may swing suddenly, or find yourself often losing control, you should seek medical attention. Your symptoms may be entirely treatable. To learn more, continue reading.

Since the beginning of life, many other creatures have shared the earth. The brains of reptiles, birds, and fishes, however, contain only centers for instincts such as hunger, gastrointestinal movement, breathing, and sexuality, and all activities are essential for survivability of the organism. They live without emotional expression or attachment. Reptiles lay their eggs in a safe place and then leave. When their eggs hatch, the offspring must fend for themselves.

One crucial distinction between humans and animals is the limbic system. Latin for 'neighboring,' it is the place where all emotions and memories are formed and stored. Because of the way it works, memory almost always attaches to a specific type of emotion such as fear, anger, sadness, depressed mood, anxiety, or happiness.

If these emotions live on without control, our moods and behaviors would be extremely emotional and erratic. Pathological behavior and other mental health issues, such as general anxiety, phobias, depression, and bi polar disorders, arise when these stored emotions and memories run out of control.

Thankfully, the human brain also developed the cerebral cortex. It is what makes us who we are. The prefrontal cortex takes on the task of controlling our emotions by being the voice of reasoning, rational, and logical thinking, by utilizing methodical, clinical, and practical ways of managing stressful situations. The frontal lobe also contains the broca's area, a center responsible for expressive speech that enhances our ability to communicate and reason with one another.

While the average human is well-equipped to deal with large amounts of emotional upheaval, something occasionally goes amiss. Our current understanding of mental health can trace its origins to the work of Dr. Sigmund Freud, who developed the school of psychoanalysis. He described three components of personality: the Id, the Ego, and the Super-Ego. The "Id" is the instincts that demands to be satisfied, somewhat like the activity of the simpler brains of birds, reptiles, and lesser mammals. It is controlled by pleasures and pains, and needs immediate gratification. Following the Id alone can be harmful, and lead to violent behavior. The Ego, on the other hand, tries to adjust the actions of the demanding Id by using societal norms, logic, and practicality. This reasoning takes the form of delayed gratifications. When the Ego fails to control the demands of the Id, however, it incorporates the Super-Ego. The Super-Ego resides in the frontal and prefrontal cortex. It voices the parents' and the Grandparents' values and morals, ethical and religious control over the emotionally charged behaviors of the Id.

Each of these aspects to our personality hangs in a subtle balance. Disruption can lead to emotional stress and even mental health disorders. If our brain activity is not inhibited, reasonably stimulated, trained to control the irrational emotional thinking we can achieve peace of mind and live happily.