The Limbic System

Jennifer Riccobono - PSY 391 - Seminar 1 Major Assignment

Where is the Limbic System Located and How May it Become Damaged?

The limbic system is located in both hemispheres of the human brain (Breedlove & Watson, 2019, p. 44). This system lies near the basal ganglia and is made up of the amygdala, the hippocampus, the fornix, the cingulate gyrus and the olfactory bulb (Breedlove & Watson, 2013, p. 44-45). There are a lot of brain structures located within the limbic system of the brain. Due to this there are many things that may happen if and when the limbic system becomes damaged.

The limbic system may become damaged in a number of ways. Some of these include seizures, neoplasia, the Herpes Simplex virus and lesions (Hesselink, 2015). Specific diseases and disorders may also affect the limbic system so that it does not function in a typical way. These diseases and disorders may be something a person is born with or they may be acquired during a person’s lifetime. Some examples of these are developmental abnormalities, dementia, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders and psychopathic disorders (Hesselink, 2015).

What Brain Functions is the Limbic System Responsible for?

The limbic system of the brain is responsible for very many different functions. A person uses their limbic system many times on a daily basis at the same time. The limbic system functions include regulating a person’s emotions, their sleep and appetite, their sense of smell, memory related to events and occurrences and their sexual libido (Amen, 2015). The symptoms that a person portrays depends upon which areas of the limbic system are affected.

What Behavioral Changes Might I Notice?

There are many different behavioral changes that a person may portray due to the limbic system not functioning correctly. One large change involves a person’s emotions. A person may experience severe mood swings and become have more negative thoughts and emotions (Amen, 2015). A person may also begin to eat too much or develop anorexic tendencies (Amen, 2015).

Is There Any Treatment Available?

Many researchers have studied different ways in order to help treat damage to the limbic system in patients more efficiently. One of the most common types of treatment is the attempt to repattern the limbic system through the use of psychotherapy (Dayton 2004). A psychologist may use a number of different techniques to attempt this. These techniques may include journaling, learning how to think positively, sharing feelings, relaxation and recognizing breath and body awareness (Dayton, 2004). Many patients enjoy these types of therapies.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What types of testing are completed to examine the limbic system to determine if it has been affected?

There are a few different brain imaging techniques that are now available to healthcare providers that may be used to help determine if the limbic system has been damaged. A CT Scan may be used to determine if the limbic system is being affected by a brain tumor (Breedlove & Watson, 2013, p. 50). A PET Scan may also be used to give insight into the brain’s activity levels (Breedlove & Watson, 2013, p. 50). These types of tests as well as a clinical psychology assessment may be used. Sometimes a clinical assessment is used alone.

  • Are there any types of medication that I may take to help my condition?

Sometimes there are medications that a patient may take. These medications do not alleviate the condition, but they may help lessen the effects of the symptoms. It is recommended that you follow up with questions about medication with a psychiatrist who will help you determine which type is best for your needs.

  • I am a patient who is affected by seizures due to a tumor located in my limbic system. Will surgery help me?

Brain surgery may help some patient’s alleviate their seizure activity. It has been found that 87% of patients who go through surgery become seizure free (Yasarquil et al., 1992, p. 40).


Amen, D. G.. (2015). Functional neuroanatomy. The Amen Clinics. Retrieved from category_id=127

Breedlove, S.M., & Watson, N.V. (2013). Biological psychology: An introduction to behavioral, cognitive, and clinical neuroscience (7th ed.). Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, Inc.

Dayton, T. (2004). The neurobiology of emotions: How therapy can repattern our limbic system. Health Communications. Retrieved from

Hesselink, J. R.. (2015). The temporal lobe and limbic system. University of California, San Diego. Retrieved from

Yasarqil, M. G., Von Ammon, K., Cavazos, E., Doczi, T., Reeves, J. D. & Roth, P. (1992). Tumours of the limbic and paralimbic systems. Retrieved from