Kindling

Kindling is the tendency for cells or groups of cells in the nervous system to 'fire' either at a much lower stimulus threshold than is 'healthy', or even to fire spontaneously. It is an attempt at adaptation and represents allostasis. Kindling may or may play a role in primary seizures. A seizure is an event where the neurons in a large part of the brain especially the cortex fire all at once because the firing of several reaches a contagious level. Seizures can act as a 'reset' on kindling. Electro-shock therapy (and hypoglycemic 'insulin shock' before that) was used to artificially induce seizures and create a down-regulating 'reset' of sorts on neurons that was manifested as docility and 'feeling safer.' Of course brain damage also accompanied this. More recently anti-epileptic drugs are used to 'stabilize' the neurons and defeat at least for a time the effects of kindling (including the interpersonal). Like most allopathic strategies, this probably increases dysregulation over time.

With kindling it is possible for some processes to become self perpetuating, either on a purely neural level, or on a mixed behavioral-neural level. An example of the latter is for instance, having a limbic system over-vigilant for possible threat, then over-reacting to the requests of others as if harm was meant, and inducing a hostile response which increases the baseline of the threat system. Self-perpetuating processes like this of course create an unstable positive feedback loop that leads to progressive dysfunction on a biological level. This dysfunction may be partly compensated crudely by other behavioral strategies but this is never satisfying, and behavioral dysfunction may occur as well.

Kindling is mostly an issue with the limbic system, which is the middle part of the 'triune' brain. Our modern tendency is to try to 'cool' the limbic system from above, with the cortex or thinking brain. This is largely unsuccessful because 1) the connection between the cortex and limbic system is weakened by the kindling, and 2) (unless there is a very strong dissociation, which is itself a problem) the emotional tone of thoughts is driven by the state of the limbic system, and so attempts to soothe by thoughts just start a positive feedback loop. This is rumination. The strategy that works, is cooling from below, from the brainstem, with breathing, pleasure, and kinesiological activities.