Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Your Brain has been REWIRED


Many people who undergo a traumatic event believe they can handle the problem themselves. Not to be the bearer of bad tidings, but if this works, it's less often because of what the person did than how our brains normally work. Conversely, if it fails, it's important to realize WHY it didn't work. And the simple fact is, it has nothing to do with how strong your will is or how competent you are. What we'd like you to understand is that trauma physically rewires your brain! Your brain actually changes in that certain parts get bigger, certain parts shrink and new neural pathways are established. This effects your thoughs. Think of your thoughts as a river. Now imagine that area has a massive earthquake. The shift in the terrain reroutes the river! THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS WITH PTSD!!! This happens to pretty much everyone who undergoes traumas in their lives. Now, normally and over time the river will return to some semblance of its original course. This return can happen with or without therapy. It is a natural part of our healing process. While the river's course will never be the same, it does return to something close to where it originally ran. PTSD, however, creates a slightly different problem. The analogy we like to use will make sense if you've ever spent any time in the desert. gullies and washes are commonly found in this environment.  All that water has no place to go, but rushing down that gully. That is what your thoughts are like under the effects of PTSD. It doesn't matter how strong you think you should be, like the water, your thoughts get ripped down this pathway. And like someone caught in a flash flood, you are pulled along helpless to control the effect. Your brain and neural pathways have become those arroyos. The reason we use this analogy is to point out that the time to deal with PTSD is not during the middle of a flash flood. it's when it isn't raining. It is to seek outside assistance to help you fill in those gullies and change where the water goes during those times that it isn't raining up the wash or the flash flood is raging. The problem with having your brain rewired is that you can't run a self-diagnosis very well. And that is why you need to seek experienced professional help. PTSD is a well known problem, you aren't alone, nor do you have to handle it yourself. Because believe us, you don't want your PTSD rewired brain running the rest of your life.

Got Trauma?
Trauma robs our CNS of any rest. It must be continuously on guard. It does not matter whether the event took place days ago or years ago - our brain has been rewired to cope with the event. That was a needful thing at the time. Now that the event is no longer a threat, we can acknowledge "it's just history" with our concious mind. But we still react before we can catch ourselves, because deep in our subconcious brain we are on constant guard. The well-learned response happens before we know it. Our thoughts, our emotions, our bodies have reacted again, often to the surprise of ourselves as well as others. What is PTSD? Terrified and stuck in a loop. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may occur in persons who have been subjected to traumatic events which are outside the range of usual human experience. Trauma can include abuse (physical, emotional, or sexual), accidents, witnessing something horrific, receiving shocking news. Trauma also results from ongoing neglect or stress or even growing up in a house with constant shouting. The individual will often live in a state of extreme vigilance with much anxiety, disturbing nightmares, and/or social withdrawal. “Flashbacks” may occur. The flashbacks are vivid, very realistic re-experiences of the event. Often some fragmented image from the traumatic experience is triggered by some current situation which is similar in some way to the traumatic situation. Insomnia, phobias, depression, alacoholism, addictions, unstable moods, nightmares and dillusional thinking may also be experienced by a person after the event is over. A blow to the head will show structural damage on an MRI. While an emotional trauma will not show up on the MRI the way the physical blow to the head did, functionally, the effect is the same. Parts of the brain can shut down or spin into hyper-drive, or both. At the same time, complete memories of the experience may be unavailable to the person during everyday consciousness. Theories as to why this suppression of the memories would occur vary. One popular view holds that the memory is actively suppressed by the unconscious mind as a means of protecting the individual from overwhelming levels of anxiety that would occur if full recall were permitted. Another theory holds that the traumatic event itself induces a deeply altered state of consciousness which is so far from the normal state that it is inaccessible to the individual when awake.

Why Neurofeedback is Preferred by Many
Neurofeedback addresses the source of the trouble - problematic brain wave activity that got stuck in a disrupted pattern due to trauma. Neurofeedback does not rely on drugs and other chemicals to mask or modify the symptoms. Neurofeedback does not need the client to "re-live" the trauma in order to move past it. Neurofeedback addresses each brain individually. Neurofeedback can accomplish in months what would normally take years - personal, conscious control of one's alpha-meditative state. (This is the area that is crucial in resolving PTSD symptoms.) Watch the PTSD video Neurofeedback for PTSD How Neurofeedback (NF) Training Works A computer records EEG activity (brain wave patterns) using electrodes pasted on the scalp surface.This non-invasive "listening" device is painless and comfortable. In conventional NF, an assessment of the EEG activity is done. This allows the neurotherapist to determine the pattern of training that will be most beneficial for the individual. The computer is then adjusted so that it creates a musical tone as the person begins to generate more of the desirable brain rhythms. This “neuro-feed-back” literally guides the person to a more and more calm state. Clients begin to feel a tremendous sense of empowerment as they take back what they were deprived of by the trauma — a good night’s sleep, feelings of calm and confidence, and a general sense of well-being. The results of controlled studies, as well as clinical experience with this therapy have been tremendously encouraging. People who have been suffering from PTSD for ten and twenty years are often completely relieved of their symptoms. Follow-up testing has shown that the person becomes markedly less anxious, depression is reduced or eliminated, and the person is generally more comfortable and relaxed. The power of the traumatic incident is removed, reducing an all-consuming experience to a simpler factual memory. Release from trauma means regaining one's life.

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