Life Skills and Trauma Stressors

Health professionals may be baffled when survivors of trauma come to them after recovery, on reassessment, find out symptoms have recurred.

Trauma is a serious assault on a human’s life functioning.

What happens to get in the way of a regular day-to-day activity like paying the bills or problem-solving to suddenly make it all seem like a monumental feat?

Could it be a day or two before, or after a holiday gathering that negative emotions or physical symptoms got triggered, and a survivor remembers a traumatic moment that surfaces without a warning?

Trauma happens to people who experienced a psychologically distressing and life-risking event. A person having survived an accident, injuries, illness, physical, verbal, emotional or sexual abuse, or other crime; a person who is a war veteran, army officer, or settlement refugee who comes from war-torn or a violent country; it can happen to a search and rescue worker; natural disaster survivor, or a bystander of a traumatic episode.

A survivor can relive moments of terror, feelings of culpability, remorse, rage, or disillusionment about life.

Reliving a traumatic event can arouse emotions that cause fatigue, low energy, weepiness or lack of concentration or impatience with others. Outbursts of anger happen for no reason. The memory of trauma comes by flashbacks and nightmares, and it can become so severe it’s difficult to lead a normal life.

Unbeknownst to a survivor of trauma, belief that healing has taken place and recovery is over and done with plays havoc on the mind. Thoughts, feelings and emotions are stirred-up. Without warning, symptoms return to cause grief. The ability to manage simple home or work tasks becomes daunting.

Joint pain or inability to sleep throughout the night can occur during a traumatic flashback. Agitation and self-inquiry like “who am I” and “will I ever feel normal? Or “am I going crazy?”

Disharmony grows in relationships and clouds of doom become a veil over the survivor.

The Canadian Mental Health Association reports this kind of impact can develop into acute anxiety or more commonly “post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”

PTSD is one of several conditions known as an anxiety disorder. It affects about 1 in 10 people, characterized by reliving a psychologically traumatic situation, long after any physical danger involved has passed.

Taking care to know and understand disruptive emotions that could arise after flashbacks are vital life skills tools.

Self-awareness and self-care is arsenal for a trauma-episodic memory.

Life can suddenly become crushing because an onset of images, conversations, smells, or sounds, serve to remind something happening now related to a traumatic event back then.

Psychology Today reports PTSD affects about 7.7 million American adults. It is often accompanied by depression, substance abuse, gambling, eating and anxiety disorders.

When other conditions are appropriately diagnosed and treated, the likelihood of successful treatment increases.

Mayo Clinic oncologist Edward T. Cregan M.D. explains coping with traumatic stress is an ongoing process. He explains we’ll be of more help to our loved one (to ourselves) if we learn about the effects of trauma.

Life skills can help people draw from a broad range of problem-solving behaviours to meet the challenges at work, home or socially. The extent to which an individual with trauma integrates survival behaviours in their lives after their trauma is in itself a measure of success and deserves much support.

In trauma recovery people learn during their healing it is important to accept feelings of denial, to keep active, seek support, face reality of the triggers, and to ground themselves after a flashback.

Trauma survivors need to take time to process feelings associated with the experience and know how to find quiet time to be alone or find someone in the family or among friends to share the experience. They need to know sharing the experience is accepted without judgment.

The key is to recognize trauma might surface at different times of the year.

Dr. Cregan describes the best way to approach trauma is by finding some ways of normalising it – thinking about not being overwhelmed or frightened by symptoms and difficulties (as opposed to catastophising thoughts like, ‘It’s happening again, I am back to square one’ and emphasising coping strategies like staying active, taking care of yourself, seeking social support).

Family members and friends care deeply, yet hold beliefs healing should be done with quickly. This can hinder a trauma survivor’s healing. Advocating “life is too short” and “stop focusing on the past – get over it” prolongs the curing period.

Healing takes time and it is different for everyone.

Family physicians notably agree it is part of essential life skills for a survivor to understand and express feelings, deal with anger associated with trauma, and safeguard thought processes so as not to undermine the ability to cope day-to-day.

Awareness is essential.

Emotional wounds take time to heal, or some cases may never heal.

Emotions from a traumatic event can take years to show up and when they do, it’s a rude awakening. A realization surfaces to reexamine the memory and the pain associated with it. What can happen is a recall of more memory, adding to the original trauma. Once this happens, it deserves the processing time for the survivor to work through it, and get ready to come out at the other end stronger for it.

Trauma can cause ongoing problems with self-esteem. It affects management of simple life skills. Overcoming trauma is easier for some than others. Some go on to inspire others who is just entering the dark stage of a life-changing journey.

The impact of trauma on the entire person and the range of therapeutic issues are what need to be addressed. Recovery happens when the person is ready to move past the pain of it.

Symptoms come back in bits and pieces, like a flashback in a movie trailer – it can subside.

Dr. Creagan believes we can help a loved one with post-traumatic stress by being willing to listen, but don’t push. Choose a time when you’re both ready to talk.

During the process of recovery from trauma, it can take months, years, even decades. For some, PTSD never leaves.

Trauma assaults a person’s ability to manage simple life skills. Generally this is needed to help understand the world around or know the tools to allow a fulfilling life. Daily tasks, going to school or work, building relationships, or one’s personal feelings of belongingness or connectedness become visibly exhausting.

Trauma symptoms get in the way of meeting ambitions to live to one’s full potential.

Many treatments are available for PTSD to meet the unique needs of the survivor.

Everyone is different, so a treatment by someone experienced with PTSD may work for one person and may not work for another.

Life coaching is available to give supportive listening – without attempts to repair but help resolve some of the strong feelings such as shame, anger, or guilt. A life coach can offer strategies to help map out a plan to get beyond PTSD and work at meeting life goals based on a new method of human functioning.

A life skills approach to trauma is about finding a new personal life balance. Breaking through another wall of understanding and self discovery during recovery of trauma, is about learning to live with a new agenda of coping skills. Taking time to find what works best during healing from the effects of trauma is worthy of investment.

Giving up is not an option, but seeking self-love and understanding, or getting the help needed all bring added successes to an especially brave life of a survivor living with the stresses of a past trauma.

Short-Term Application Of Intravenous Amino Acids For The Control Of Cravings And Withdrawal

Addiction and substance abuse is undermining the very moral fabric and future of America today. In 1995 it was estimated that the cost of alcohol and other drugs reached a staggering figure of 276 billion, not including the pain and suffering of loved ones and friends. Alcoholics have an estimated decrease in life expectancy of 10-15 years, with alcohol the most frequently used and abused intoxicant and involved in 40% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents (1 and 2).

Although not illegal, nicotine accounts for approximately 25 million people addicted and is the cause of 430,000 tobacco related deaths per year.

The most commonly abused opiates are, heroin and methadone. It has been estimated by the National Institute of Drug Abuse that approximately 2.5 million Americans have a history of heroin abuse (3).

Stimulants such as cocaine are widespread as well in America and it is estimated 72 million Americans have tried or are using or cocaine (3).

Methamphetamine is growing at an unstoppable rate due to the ease of making the drug, and is now competing with cocaine as a drug of choice.

Although there are numerous examples of addictive drugs in America they all show similar symptoms and qualities of craving and withdrawal conditions. The individuals at greatest risk are genetically predisposed through a neurochemical pathway that alters the minds perception of pleasure and reward. Kenneth Blum, coined the term, “Reward Deficiency Syndrome,” to relate to the neurotransmitter deficit that occurs due to use of drugs and alcohol. Although the pathways may vary, depending on the abused substance, they all show a common final neurochemical pathway in their expression of euphoria when abundant, and craving when deficient.

The important Amino-peptide neurotransmitters to date are serotonin, dopamine, GABA and the enkephalins. Dopamine specifically is the neurotransmitter of pleasure. When dopamine is in abundance, it provides a state of well-being. Although this research will focus on alcohol, there are many other substances that can alter the increase in dopamine resulting in pleasure. Other altering scenarios can be glucose, impulsive/compulsive disorders, gambling and risk-taking activities, opiates, cocaine and cigarettes.

When the brain is supplied with a substance a momentary spike in neurotransmitter activity of dopamine occurs. The body then reacts to down regulate this excessive increase by down regulating the neurotransmitter sites of production or receptor sites, or by increasing the breakdown of neurotransmitters. Because of this, the brain develops tolerance and the need for more of the drug to prevent a state of withdrawal.

The point at which addiction can occur is variable and based on the individual’s genes. Recently, the dopamine D2 receptor called the A1allele, has been known to be a greater prevalence for alcoholics, opiate or cocaine addicts.

This pleasure and reward system was discovered, by accident, in 1954 by James Otis. By mistake, Otis placed electrodes in the Para limbic system of rats. In doing so, Otis observed he could elicit a pleasure response. This response caused the rats to continuously press a lever, causing an electrical stimulation to this area even to the point of starvation. It was later noted that an increase in dopamine was being released in regions of the limbic system, specifically the nucleus accumbens and the hippocampus.

Recently, a pharmacological approach to alter these neurotransmitters and help people with reward deficiency syndrome has been found. Studies by Brown and Blum indicate that certain amino acid precursors can relieve cravings and reduce incidents of a relapse. Oral formulas have been formulated and produced with these amino acids, vitamins and minerals cofactors. Recently an intravenous pharmacological approach utilizing amino acid neurotransmitter precursors have shown to have an immediate and profound effect on craving reduction and withdrawals in 86% of the patients with no side effects noted by this researcher or by Excel treatment facility during the last two years. The intravenous amino acids, vitamins, and mineral therapy appears to augment the dopamine and serotonin levels while the body begins to return to better handling oral nutrients and neurotransmitter homeostasis.

This study has been implemented to determine the efficacy of intravenous amino acids to reduce withdrawal and craving from substance abuse.

Methodology

Nine subjects were picked from phone in volunteers from a local Denver newspaper add (Exhibit 1).

Inclusion into the study are individuals who are between the ages of 18 and 50 years old, in good health, not court ordered and who desire to stop their substance abuse, but to date, are unable to do so. Methadone or a history of psychiatric hospitalize subjects are excluded from this study. All subjects will undergo a history and physical exam and a doctor will be present at all times. Initials will be used for publishing purposes only and strict confidentiality will be observed of all subjects.

The treatment subjects will undergo 10 sessions (Monday through Friday) of a multi amino acid, vitamin and mineral solution in a 250cc ½ NS bag group or a placebo group of Vitamins (B2, B12 and Folate) in a 250cc ½ NS bag with matching color and volume. All subjects will undergo drug testing for their addiction including random breath and/or urine drug tests.

If you smoke, you will be asked to keep track of the number of cigarettes smoked daily.

To be entered into the research group each individual must meet the requirement of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders TR (DSM-IV TR) for an Axis-I drug dependence.

Axis-I 303.90 Alcohol Dependence

Axis-I 304.40 Amphetamine Dependence Including Methamphetamine

Axis-I 304.30 Cannabis Dependence

Axis-I 304.20 Cocaine Dependence

Axis-I 305.10 Nicotine Dependence

Axis-I 304.00 Opioid Dependence

Axis-I 304.90 Polysubstance-related Disorder

Other axis-I substance dependence disorders will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The research subjects will be placed randomly into two equal groups A and B.

The control-or placebo-group will receive an intravenous solution of 250 cc of a ½ normal saline bag with B2, B12 and folate to give the distinctive color to the bags.

The experimental group will be given an intravenous solution consisting of a patented formula titled TGGRS Treatment (Third Generation Genetic Repair System). The Tigers Treatment consists of multi amino acids, vitamins and mineral solution drip over a 1 & 2-hour period for 10 sessions. All subjects will be randomly be monitored by blowing a B.A.C. or urine drug tests. A questionnaire will also be required to rate their craving and anxiety symptoms each session. Specific cravings will be rated from a zero (0)-indicating no craving or withdrawal, to a ten (10)-indicating maximum craving or withdrawal symptoms.

The intravenous bags will be marked “Group A” and “Group B” and will be made by a local compounding pharmacist. He will have no contact with the subjects. Heart rate, blood pressure and level of subject mental status will be conducted before each session. During the study, all subjects will be asked to eliminate or cut back on their alcohol or drug consumption but at any time may voluntary return to their pre-study consumption level, or be asked to by the doctor, if sever withdrawal symptoms occur. Failure to participate in 90% of the study will be grounds for dismissal. The people involved in administering the I.V. and monitoring the people will not know which bags contain the amino acids and which contain the placebo. At the end of 10-days the pharmacists will expose which group was the experimental group and which group was the placebo group-A or B, respectively. At that time the experimental and the placebo groups will undergo a daily debriefing and questionnaire rating their withdrawal symptom success and anti-craving level.

At the end of 10 sessions, the treatment group will be given 5 additional treatments of the same solution with D-phenylalanine added. Afterwards, the placebo group will get the treatment solution for 5 sessions followed by 5 session with D-phenylalanine added. All subjects at the end of their intravenous sessions will be debriefed and given the opportunity to take a one months worth of a similar oral based formula for maintenance efficacy.

Results

To stay sober, the war on addiction has many battlefronts to concour from dealing with initial withdrawals and craving to handling family and friend enablers, denial, stress, temptation and faith that we can overcome the disease that seals the heart, soul and life of mankind.

From Jan 21 until Feb 17th nine volunteers under took a major step to sobriety by introducing nutrition building blocks of neurotransmitters by intravenous means to battle withdrawal and cravings aspects. Only one individual had no response to our amino acids vitamin and mineral cocktail and continue daily drinking with no perceived change in anxiety and craving. All others expressed a significant response from moderate to profound anti-craving benefits by the end of the study.

The A group (RH, RY, KM, RA) received vitamins for the first 10 sessions, and although noticed a slight reduction in craving and anxiety, RY, KM, KA continued to drink. RH had marijuana addiction problems and throughout the study he did not use. The B group (RM, DR, RD, DB, JD) received the therapeutic formula less the D isomer of phenylalanine. They all continued drinking and showed no significant change in craving and anxiety. The A group noticed no significant change as well to 5 days of the therapeutic formula minus the D isomer. It wasn’t until the last 5 days in both groups that a significant response in drinking reduction in sobriety along with cravings and anxiety reduction occurring.

The D isomer of phenylalanine appears to be a crucial component in withdrawal and craving issues. Addition to alcohol and drugs is caused by an imbalance or defiency of neurotransmitter activity in a cascade mode. Per Dr Blum serotonin releases enkephalin in the hypothalamus and enkephalin inhibits the release of GABA in the substantia nigra. The inhibition of GABA permits the release of dopamine in both the nucleus accumbens and the hippocampus.

Apparently up regulation of serotonin by tryptofan is not enough to release sufficient enkephalins to have an impact on up regulating dopamine despite direct stimulation of L-phenylalanine and L-tyrosine on increased dopamine production. The D form of phenylalanine, which inhibits enkephalin, appears paramount in the cascade theory and therefore causing substantial anxiety and craving reduction. Enkephlins are nature’s natural painkillers and a reduction in pain appears critical to suppressing withdrawal and craving symptoms as well as balancing neurotransmitters. This study supports the 86% recovery rate in retrospective review of the current intravenous amino acid (TGGRS solution) being conducted at Excel treatment and recovery program. However, future clinical trials with genetic testing and greater numbers coupled with a variety of addictions would better support statistical efficacy of intravenous amino acid supplementation. In addition, why 10 to 15 percent of the population fail this program possibly could be cause from a yet unknown genetic pathway of metabolism with nationality possibly playing a role in this failure rate.

Conclusion

The TGGRS intravenous amino acid program in its current formula had statistical efficacy in nine patient’s ability to handle their craving and anxiety perception and their ability to withdraw from alcohol. The D-phenylalanine isomer appears to be an essential ingredient to this formula. Together with education and counselling and nutrition, intravenous amino acid supplementation will prove to be a powerful tool in initially combating the evil grasp of addiction in today’s society.

Are You Suffering From Addiction?

Many researchers believe that addiction is a behavior that can be controlled to some extent and also a brain disease. And since some testing with functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) found that all addictions tend to cause nearly the same reactions inside the brain, there could be one type of control model for addiction health-related issues.

Others express the opinion that some of us have an addictive personality and therefore are more likely to have problems than others.

In other words, just as there is one disorder or disease labeled asthma, there would be one for addiction, covering all addictions; gambling, smoking, overeating, drugs, etc. Then one main treatment strategy or plan could be used to treat all addictions.

How addiction works in a nutshell is like this. The brain, the center of the body’s nervous system, handles addiction by increasing dopamine levels in response to increased reactions from behaviors, also referred to as compulsions, like gambling or over eating, and / or in response to increased repeated episodes of substance abuse, like from cocaine or alcohol.

And this addiction affects the three functioning processes of the nervous system; sensing, perceiving and reacting. How? Let’s take a quick peak…

Dopamine, the chemical transmitter to the “pleasure center,” the place where survival instincts like eating and reproduction focus in the brain, activates cells individually or energizes them. Each energized cell in turn energizes another cell, and so on down the line, resulting in a spontaneous process of ecstasy or feelings of elation.

The problem is the brain doesn’t realize what it is that is causing the ecstasy reaction. So when this flutter of activity increases the creation of dopamine for the negative behaviors and substances like drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc., it neglects the natural survival instinct reaction mechanisms, replacing them with the ecstasy instead.

Depending upon the addiction, nervous system functions are altered. So sensing, perceiving and reacting functions of individuals are impeded. For example, alcohol is a depressant and slows down all of these functions. So a drunk driver facing an immediate collision will in all likelihood react slower than a healthy, alert driver.

And whether or not the addictive substances are inhaled, going into the lung system; or injected, traveling via the blood system; or swallowed, entering the digestive system, also affects different bodily reactions, responses and overall health.

One long-term effect is an increased tolerance level with dopamine reaching out into other brain areas that cloud judgment and behavioral considerations and choices. And ultimately depression results, even amidst opposing or negative stimuli, like the negative effects of narcotics on behaviors and on the body / mind and like trying to withdrawal or discontinue use.

Other long-term effects can include changing of the brain’s shape and possible permanent brain damage, depending upon the addiction and length of compulsive activity. And other health problems like cancer from cigarette smoking can result.

Addiction summed up is: compulsive behavior despite negative consequences.

Compulsive Shopping Addiction – Symptoms and Signs of Shopoholism

Compulsive shopping addiction can impact anyone at any time. Just like an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or gambling, shopping disorders are largely a result of an underlying chemical or mental imbalance that is triggered by certain events.

Much like the rush a gambler received after a big win, a compulsive shopper gets the same euphoric feeling when in the middle of a spending spree. Conversely, the impending let down and feeling of anxiety and depression after the even can be severe.

There are numerous signs and symptoms of a problem. While not any one symptom will define a problem, many times someone who shows signs of them indeed does have one. Here are some of the more common symptoms of shopping addiction:

1) Hiding of Purchases – Often, the person will hide the shopping purchases from others in hopes they will not discover the stash of goods they just bought. Of course, over time the hiding becomes more sophisticated and harder to keep from those close to them.

2) Excessive Credit Cards and Debt – Another common sign is running up credit cards and other debt to the point of making minimum payments becomes difficult to impossible. A person with a more severe case will open new accounts, often in just their name, to acquire the additional funds to continue binge shopping.

3) Stacks of New Items Never Used – A closet full of clothes or other items with tags still on them is a sign of excessive spending and compulsive shopping.

4) Depression or Anxiety After Shopping – Often, the person will enter an almost panic stricken state after a compulsive shopping binge.