Lifestyle

Hopper: Over-activated stress mechanisms

When we are feeling threatened by someone or something, we will naturally fight or flee the situation to defend ourselves or to ensure our survival.

This is a healthy and normal response and is sometimes necessary. However the human brain has not evolved much since cave men days when we needed this mechanism to quickly escape from a hungry tiger

When we are in a fight or flight response, our brain releases neurochemicals that increase our senses to allow us to track and protect ourselves from the perceived threat. We become hyper alert of the environment around us, seeking out hidden dangers in every corner.

Our unconscious survival mechanisms kick into high gear, lowering our blood supply to vital organs and redirects blood supply to our extremities in case we need to run or fight.

After the threat has passed, we stop producing neurochemicals that are associated with survival and our bodies return to their natural resting state and our senses return to normal again.

But there are times when trauma causes a malfunction of the threat mechanisms in the brain, causing the brain and body to go into a state of constant alert. When this happens, the brain loses its ability to discern between real and perceived danger and reacts to commons stressors as if we are about to be attacked by a tiger. When we are feeling threatened over a long period of time, our bodies learn to adapt to this unhealthy state, but at a large cost to our well-being. Functions like rest, digestion, elimination, communication and reproduction are no longer viewed as essential and get over shadowed by our need for protection.

In response to a perceived threat, our sensory awareness heightens and we may find that we become sensitive to light, sound, touch, smell and taste.

We slowly adapt to this new way of being, unaware that the root of the problem is in the brain.  These symptoms are very common in many “invisible” illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, chemical sensitivities and anxiety disorders.

Slowly we learn to adapt to this state and change the way in which we live in order to accommodate the illness. As we adapt to this heightened level of threat, over time, this inevitably changes the way we view the world. Our happiness and innocence is lost when we are forced to live our lives in survival.

No longer the happy-go-lucky people we once were, many will turn into bitter pessimists.

Happiness seems like a luxury that is no longer available to us.  We worry about our future or how we will manage to get through another day.

The cascading physical effects of an impaired threat mechanism in the brain and maladapted stress response are very real and the suffering involved is horrendous.

So where’s the good news?  You have the power to correct the over-activated threat mechanism in your brain and move forward with your life.  There is a natural, drug free way to free yourself from this suffering.

My team and I will be hosting a five-day neuro rehabilitation retreat at the Ocean Resort on Vancouver Island on Aug 11 – 15.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Smart meters coming to Kelowna
 
Region making an impression
 
What qualifies as essential services?
Red Cross needs volunteers
 
Flu vaccine less effective against mutant strain
 
Festival shut down due to ongoing city labour dispute
KIJHL: Rebels defeat Leafs in overtime
 
Black Friday problems hit Britain
 
Sixty acts of kindness

Community Events, November 2014

Add an Event


Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Nov 28 edition online now. Browse the archives.