May 5, 2013 / 5:00 am
There are many sources of stress or trauma that have a direct impact on brain function. Psychological, emotional, physical, viral, bacterial and chemical just to name a few.
Isolated or combined trauma can cause stress overload in the brain. When we reach the “tipping point”, the basic threat and survival mechanisms in the brain become over stimulated. In fact, this protective mechanism can become so over stimulated that it physically alters the structure and function within circuits of the limbic system in the brain. Consequently, this cross wiring of neural circuits sends false threat messages to the rest of the body. It also activates a primitive defense system that releases a chronic stream of stress hormones. This influences many body processes involved with emotions, sensory perception, cognitive function, digestion, energy, detoxification, immune function and libido. It causes the body to go from a state of “growth and repair” to one of survival. Understandably, this can cause various types of breakdown in the systems of the body.
Take Lauren for instance. She is 56 years old and had suffered from a variety of emotional and physical traumas that led to limbic system imbalance in her brain. In 2001, managing illness became her full time job. Although Lauren had suffered from ill health since childhood, it was the unique combination of triggers in 2001 that really heightened limbic system dysfunction. Lauren was under an extreme amount of stress at work and was also going through a divorce. That same year her mother died from cancer and they renovated the building where she worked. The chemicals used in the renovations were the straw that broke the camel’s back.
The trauma affected the threat mechanisms in Lauren’s brain and her brain got stuck in extreme survival mode. This over activated threat mechanism was skewing her sensory perception and robbing her body of the necessary energy needed to rest, digest and regenerate. As a result, Lauren’s complete focus was on how she could manage to get through another day. She had very little energy for anything else. In fact, there were many days where she didn’t want to go on living anymore. Life just seemed too hard. She went from one specialist to the next and time and time again was left feeling hopeless to improve her health and quality of life. Throughout the years she was diagnosed with a number of different illnesses - Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, Depression, Anxiety and a list of food sensitivities a mile long.
The good news in all of this is that Lauren recently attended our program in Santa Fe, New Mexico where we teach our clients how to rewire the mal-adapted threat mechanism in their brain. After the program Lauren commented on how different her life is already. Not only are her physical symptoms rapidly decreasing, her entire outlook on life has changed dramatically. She is now excited about life! Now that she knows she has the ability to take charge of her health, she feels joyfully empowered to do so.
Regulating limbic system function is at the very root of recovery for many illnesses.
With this in mind we invite you to joyfully empower yourself to take control of your own health and join us at the Ocean Resort on Vancouver Island on May 22 – 26. For more information or to start your registration process please email email@example.com
Annie Hopper is a Limbic System Rehabilitation Specialist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Apr 21, 2013 / 5:00 am
Susan was a 42-year-old woman who was perfectly healthy, had a wonderful career and a full and rewarding life. She developed a condition known as environmental illness (a.k.a. chemical sensitivities) soon after she moved into a newly renovated apartment. Everything was new - paint, flooring, carpets, kitchen cabinets - new everything. The toxins that were being released from these products were unknowingly making her sick. She started to notice that certain scented products like perfumes and cleaning products started to give her headaches. Her sense of smell was changing and she would often complain “that stinks!”
Susan’s health was deteriorating with every passing day she spent in her new home. Even though she consulted a number of physicians to help her, none were able to effectively diagnose or reduce her symptoms. Interestingly enough, not one doctor or alternative health care practitioner asked her about her home environment.
Meanwhile, the affects of toxicity were affecting Susan’s pets. Her cat became so ill from the apartment that it died within two weeks of moving in. Her dog could barely walk at one point. After seven months of living in this chemical cocktail she put the pieces together and moved to a healthier home. However the damage was already done. She had already suffered from toxic overload that resulted in a chemical brain trauma that was causing a cycle of inflammation and illness. The chemical injury activated protective mechanisms within the deep circuits of the limbic system, thereby changing the structure and function of her brain. Resulting over-activation of the threat mechanisms in her brain had also altered her sense of smell - a stress response and warning sign of toxic danger.
As the illness progressed, exposure to even small amounts of chemicals found in shampoo or detergents would leave her cognitively impaired with a host of life threatening and disabling symptoms that could last for days. Her life became increasingly isolated as a result and merely surviving through another day became the focus of her existence.
While Susan’s story is extreme, it is a very horrific reality for people. And although her degree of suffering may seem uncommon, toxins in our environment are affecting millions. In fact, varying degrees of chemical intolerance affects one in every five people, yet goes largely undiagnosed by physicians according to clinical research published July 9, 2012 in the journal Annals of Family Medicine.
Chemical intolerance refers to people who are highly sensitive to common substances such as cleaning products, tobacco smoke, fragrances, pesticides, new carpet and auto exhaust. Chemical intolerance is just one of many illnesses that are characterized as Toxic Induced Loss of Tolerance or TILT associated illnesses. A toxicant injury from chemicals, bacteria, viruses or extreme psychological or emotional stress can cause brain trauma involved with Chemical Sensitivities, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and Electric Hypersensitivity Syndrome.
What’s the good news in all of this? There is renewed hope for those who are suffering from this set of illnesses. As a result of rewiring the deep limbic circuits of her brain, Susan is now living a normal healthy life once again.
Understanding the brain impairment caused by toxic injury and actively rewiring the circuits involved is changing people’s lives. This represents a new paradigm for healing in understanding brain function as it relates to optimal health.
If you would like to experience recovery for yourself, please join us at the Ocean Resort in Campbell River on May 22 - 26 . For more information please email us at email@example.com
Annie Hopper is a Limbic System Rehabilitation Specialist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Apr 7, 2013 / 5:00 am
Sadly, millions of people suffer from seemingly mysterious chronic conditions that doctors and scientists have not been able to completely explain or treat.
For many, unknowingly, they have suffered from a toxicant injury from chemicals, bacteria, viruses and/or psychological or emotional stress. This can result in brain trauma, resulting in over-activation of threat, survival and protective mechanisms within the deep limbic system circuits in the brain that can initiate a multiple system breakdown in the body.
The brain gets stuck in an unconscious state of chronic “emergency” that perpetuates illness and inflammation. This often involves the central nervous system, musculoskeletal system, respiratory, immune, digestive, and endocrine systems.
This “high alert” state can also result in altered sensory perception and related sensitivities (smell, taste, touch, hearing, sound), as well as pain perception. Energy that was formerly used in functions related to rest, digestion, detoxification, communication and regeneration are now redirected to one thing only - survival.
Normally high functioning and healthy individuals become a shadow of their former self. This literally robs them of their ability to function in the world. For some it can cause them to lose their jobs, homes and in extreme cases live a life of isolation and pain. This is often the case in conditions such as chemical sensitivities, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, electric hypersensitivity syndrome, gulf war syndrome, food sensitivities, and anxiety disorders.
The good news is that the brain is both adaptive and regenerative and we can use this principle to work in our favor. When we understand that the brain has maladapted to trauma, we can then learn how to normalize the over-activated threat mechanisms within the deep limbic brain circuits. This allows the systems of the body to return to normal function once again.
Take Dr. Judy McCarver for instance. She had suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivities for 21 years after being exposed to new building materials and pesticides. She went from specialist to specialist, seeking answers and relief from her symptoms to no avail. No one connected the dots that it may be her house that was making her sick. As the illness progressed - the sensitivities also spread to most foods. She suffered another toxic exposure during a second renovation that threw her over the edge. Dr. McCarver's condition eventually became so severe that she had to quit her job, move out of her house and could not find anywhere to comfortably live.
In time she made her way to Dallas Texas, to undergo extensive and expensive detoxification treatments. Then Dr. McCarver found out about Kevin who had suffered just like she was – except that Kevin was now totally recovered. After Dr. McCarver talked to Kevin, she was determined to attend our next program - in Canada, 1600 miles away from where she lived. She didn't care how far away it was - she was determined to get better - the sooner, the better.
The Dynamic Neural Retraining System™ program made a lot of sense to this Santa Fe psychiatrist. With a background in neurology and a personal experience of the suffering and recovery, Dr. McCarver states "the limbic system is sensitive to trauma and we have suffered from injury to the limbic system in the brain - and this program is the appropriate treatment. It's the best treatment - it works!"
Dr. McCarver is now back at work, living in her house and leading a happy, healthy and vibrant life.
Mar 24, 2013 / 5:00 am
It’s really easy to get stuck in negative thinking and feeling patterns. This is especially true if we have suffered from some kind of trauma that is affecting the emotional centers of our brain.
When this area of the brain is impaired and not functioning properly, it can make us think and feel in ways that may be shocking to us. Even people who once considered themselves positive and easy-going can morph into someone that they no longer recognize as themselves. We wonder, “What happened to the old me?”
We may even find that our thoughts become fixated on past hurtful events, or that negative emotions like shame, resentment, anger, and sadness take over.
Like a gerbil on a spinning wheel, the same thoughts and feelings repeat themselves, over and over again, without resolution. With this in mind, it’s easy to understand how isolating behaviours can become commonplace.
Not only is this way of thinking and feeling disparaging for the person who is suffering, the actual repetition of these thoughts and feelings strengthens the neural impairment, further changing the physical structure and function of the brain.
Unknowingly, when the same thoughts and feelings are entertained, the person is digging a deeper hole that they find harder and harder to get out of. Every time they engage in distorted thoughts and feelings, they are actually reinforcing specific neural pathways in the brain, making the connections stronger so that they fire more easily and rapidly. The brain can actually get stuck in a rut.
Understanding why it may be difficult to get out of this pattern makes sense when we understand that specific thoughts and feelings create a very unique chemical formula in the body.
When they are repeated often enough, the brain and body perceive this chemical state as “normal” and it becomes our unconscious habit zone.
The brain and body adapts to this state by creating more receptor sites on the cell walls that are designed to receive that unique chemical cocktail. We literally become addicted to a state of thinking and feeling. This inevitably causes us to behave in ways that are equal to our thoughts and feelings.
Try as we may to think and feel differently, time and time again we find ourselves back in the rut. Just like any other addiction, this chemical cocktail will try to convince us to feed it. Any opposing thought, feeling or behaviour that does not match the unique chemical formula associated with the neural trauma pattern will feel uncomfortable.
Because the brain registers this unnatural feeling as a threat to the status quo, we will unconsciously seek evidence to support staying in a rut or find ways to justify our old thinking and feeling habits that feed the impairment.
Willpower or intellectual understanding alone is not enough to support the changes that are necessary. The process of rewiring neural circuits within the deep emotional centers of the brain demands that we become curious observers of the often unconscious patterns that we habitually run and actively interrupt these patterns. We also need to be able to recognize and over-ride the chemical cocktail that is currently operating that feeds the neural impairment. Initially this can feel akin to defying gravity as we consciously choose to over-ride the habitual pathways involved.
Although this takes discipline and effort, the good news is that this can be done with guidance and instruction. Recovery is not only possible, but within your own hands.
Read more Emotional Rescue articles
- Emotional transparency - a powerful gift Mar 10
- Train the brain to transform health Feb 17
- Finding the silver lining Jan 13
- Over-activated threat mechanism Nov 23
- What I have learned from my dog Nov 18
- Ease suffering on a global level Nov 4
- Negative emotional addictions Oct 7
- Mysterious illness eludes Mayo Clinic Sep 9
- Slowing Down in a Land Far, Far Away Aug 19
- Chemical intolerance Jul 29
- Taking time for you Jul 15
- Is your brain having a 'hiccup'? Jun 17
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