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Posts Tagged ‘Ridha Arem’

“Compared to bipolar’s magic, reality seems a raw deal. It’s not just the boredom that makes recovery so difficult, it’s the slow dawning pain that comes with sanity – the realization of illness, the humiliating scenes, the blown money and friendships and confidence. Depression seems almost inevitable. The pendulum swings back from transcendence in shards, a bloody, dangerous mess. Crazy high is better than crazy low. So we gamble, dump the pills, and stick it to the control freaks and doctors. They don’t understand, we say. They just don’t get it. They’ll never be artists.” ~ David Lovelace

Creativity does seem to feed off emotional turmoil and often in the works of great poets we can feel the soul’s pain and turmoil. In fact, heightened imaginative powers, depression, insomnia, fatigue, rapid thoughts, inflated self-esteem, panic attacks, rage and intense emotions all swim about in an ocean of ever changing moods of heightened creativity and suicidal tendencies.  It is within this ocean that brilliance is born and fed by the storms raging in many artists’ minds.

“I was diagnosed bipolar 6 years ago. I recently decided to come off my meds. I’ll admit it took me a while to cope with certain situations and learn to focus and concentrate on just taking one day at a time. I’ve learned to cope through eating healthy, exercising and trying to get at least 8 hrs sleep a night. It’s no walk in the park, I’ll tell ya. I have to be very strict with myself and stick to my routines. If I’m feeling low and unmotivated I make myself exercise, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. I’ve learned this removes a buildup of toxins and gets my happy chemicals moving. I take 6000 units of vitamin D daily and a 100 mgs of a B multi-vitamin twice a day. The doctor gives me injections of vitamin B12 once a month to keep my energies up. It’s very common for individuals with mood disorders to have low vitamin B levels. I also keep close contact with my doctor. I don’t think there is a cure for Bi Polar. I do however think it can be managed. For me it always comes back to quality of life or quantity of life. Everyone is different. Medication helped me when I was very unwell. I’ve learned what works for me.” (Matthew B.)

I do believe we need to find a better way of treating manic depression, rather than through high dosages of lithium and antipsychotic drugs. Even uses of antidepressant drugs (SSRIs) and/or stimulants can be linked to the onset of some manic symptoms.  As well, many people on medication for bipolar disorder have complained this kind of treatment has stifled their creative abilities.  Some famous authors suffering from manic depression have said that their suffering is a part of who they are and that without it they couldn’t create. Many turned to drugs and alcohol to counter the effects of their medication or to get relief from their symptoms. In fact people suffering from bipolar disorder are 10 times more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol than most other people because they turned to these substances to help counter the effects of their medication or to get other relief from their symptoms.

We are all born with genetically programmed instincts, which are located in the primitive brain (limbic system).  The limbic system focuses inward on our survival, our emotions and our nurturing needs. When you feel depressed or anxious, these feelings originate from the limbic system but involve the cortex as well, since depression diminishes our insights and judgments as well as our lack of motivation and attention.

What we think, how we feel, what we assimilate into our beings at every stage of life and at every level has a cumulative affect that directly impacts our states of being, influencing our physical hormones, genetic make-up, neural processing etc. And the condition of our states of physical being also affects our states of mind.

Environmental factors also play a significant role. For example, many people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) later develop bipolar disorder. Repetitive traumas suffered throw the body into a constant state of stress and research shows that stress can induce the hippocampus to remodel itself and shrink. Hormones are also involved. Additional considerations involve head and/or neck injuries.

“World champion boxer Frank Bruno was sectioned for 28 days in a psychiatric hospital and diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2003 following his marriage break-up. He describes his behavior in the run up to his breakdown: ‘I got confused and snappy and impatient. I couldn’t, couldn’t, couldn’t function. Losing my wife, seeing my kids less regularly, not eating properly, staying up late, living by myself, getting uptight, wound up, over stupid little things [ … ] It’s like a kettle. I wish I could put a hole in my head and let the steam out.’ “Bipolar Disorder: The Ultimate Guide ~ by Sarah Owen, Amanda Saunders

Although the brain, especially the limbic system is quite complex let’s look at specific areas that are related to our most primitive and potent emotional signals.  It has been proven that the limbic system (emotional reactions and emotional memories) can actually hijack other parts of the brain, especially when so overcome with anger, fear or passion, excitement.  You see the limbic brain jumps in when it proclaims an emergency, even before the neocortex, the thinking brain, has had a chance to reason out what is happening.

“Lithium tweaks many mood-altering chemicals in the brain, and its effects are complicated. Most interesting, lithium seems to reset the body’s circadian rhythm, its inner clock. In normal people, ambient conditions, especially the sun, dictate their humors and determine when they are tuckered out for the day. They’re on a twenty-four-hour cycle. Bipolar people run on cycles independent of the sun. And run and run.” ~ Sam Kean, ~ The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements

The brain responds to chemical changes, by adjusting the feelings and thoughts within the physical body. Psychologists have shown us that we can react a whole variety of ways to one single hormone—this mostly depends upon our expectations.  The parts of the brain that are involved in thought, memory and sensations are connected by direct neural pathways with emotional centers—and  with the pituitary gland that controls hormone output.  The pituitary actually suspends from the hypothalamus, which controls emotion, appetite and desire.

There does seem to be a stress loop that connects the adrenal glands, brain, hypothalamus, and pituitary together, which then flows back to the adrenals again, pushing them way out of kilter.  This stress loop also affects the other endocrine glands creating a continual cycle of stress in the body, causing bizarre mood swings, muscle tension, stiffness, eating disorders, depression, heart palpitations, excessive sweating and migraines. Too much cortisol in the blood damages our memories, our learning capabilities and our creativity.  This stress cycle will, if not corrected, eventually affect the immune system.

“If you are suddenly anxious, under threat, or furious about something, your brain via your pituitary gland tells your adrenal glands to pump up production of epinephrine, cortisol and other hormones to put your body into high alert. Once the threat goes away and you “cool off,” the adrenal glands stop their escalation of hormones. However, if your mind ruminates about the anxiety and threatening events, with such thought patterns as “It’s hopeless”; “My life is a disaster”; “things should be different!”, and “This is unfair!” your adrenal glands continue to overproduce cortisol and estrogen. This leads to your pancreas secreting more insulin, and you get symptoms of what is commonly known as “adrenal gland exhaustion.” All is Well ~ Louise L. Hay and Mona Lisa Schulz

Continual high adrenaline (epinephrine) levels cause the repetitive release of insulin increasing carbohydrates to convert to fat in the liver.  Weight gain and obesity add to ill effects to the endocrine system, muscle joints, and digestion, with loss energy and self esteem.  In bipolar people, this is all that is necessary to produce insulin insensitivity and, ultimately diabetes.  These are genuine threats to their health.

“A balance of thyroid hormone in the brain is crucial for maintaining mood stability. If you suffer from a deficit or an excess of thyroid hormone resulting from a dysfunctioning gland, you may even experience clear-cut mood swing disorder. Severe hypothyroidism has even been blamed for causing manic-depression, with poor judgment and hallucinations. Doctors always wonder, however, whether such patients might not have preexisting minor forms of manic-depression, which have become more severe as a result of the thyroid imbalance.

 Hyperthyroidism can also cause mood swings in a person who does not have a preexisting mood disorder. In some people, an overactive thyroid can result in an elated mood called “hypomania” or “mania” depending on whether the elation is moderate (hypomania involves no major behavioral disturbances) or severe (mania is associated with irrational behavior). In some patients, the thyroid condition may not be diagnosed until several years after the onset of the mood swing disorder that it caused  ~ The Thyroid Solution: A Revolutionary Mind-Body Program for Regaining Your Emotional and Physical Health ~ Ridha Arem

LITHIUM AND THE BRAIN

 “Lithium tweaks many mood-altering chemicals in the brain, and its effects are complicated. Most interesting, lithium seems to reset the body’s circadian rhythm, its inner clock. In normal people, ambient conditions, especially the sun, dictate their humors and determine when they are tuckered out for the day. They’re on a twenty-four-hour cycle. Bipolar people run on cycles independent of the sun. And run and run.” ~ Sam Kean, The Disappearing Spoon

The brain is what helps you to make sense of the world, taking in information from your environment and sending messages throughout your body. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch are not only an essential part of our memories, they help to understand the changes happening around us.  But any change in the brain, even the subtlest change, can have a major impact on our feelings, thoughts and action.

Suppose you were given a chemical that blocked the absorption of the vitamin niacin in your central nervous system. The result would be “instant mental illness,” most likely violence, during which you might smash all the furniture, throw it out the window, then run out into the street and attack a total stranger passing by who had stopped to watch the ruckus.

“For some people, use of antidepressant drugs and/or stimulants can be linked to the onset of some manic symptoms. Research has shown that B complex deficiencies commonly occur in 80 percent of bipolar people. Also, many bipolars are anemic, with low levels of B12 and folic acid, and shown a lower uptake of inositol when compared to a control group. So orthomolecular physicians have now paired the use of lithium with the intake of daily B complex vitamins, which work synergistically with lithium. In this way, high lithium doses can be substantially reduced, thus eliminating many devastating side effects.”  ~ Depression-Free Naturally: 7 Weeks to Eliminating Anxiety, Despair, Fatigue And Anger From Your Life ~ Joan Matthews Larson, Ph.D.

Our blood circulates the love of life from the heart throughout our whole body.  When we are anemic, we are deficient in red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the tissues and removes carbon dioxide.  One of the causes of anemia in manic depressives, is excessive blood cell destruction which can be metaphysically explained as ‘losing one’s will to live. When we feel discouraged, hopeless or helpless we lose touch with our needs and desires—we feel as if we’re withering away.

“The messages we unconsciously give our bodies are thus a determining factor in our state of wellness. Messages based on failure, despair and anxiety are ones that present a negative, dying feeling and will cause the body to react by breaking down the defence mechanisms (that is, the immune system) and preparing for death. Even if our worries and fears are imaginary, the message will still translate into physical illness as our bodies feel endangered and threatened”. ~ Debbie Shapiro ~ The BodyMind Workbook 

Research at the National Institute of Mental Health suggests that bipolar people are hypersensitive to acetylcholine, a chemical that carries memory messages in the brain. They found that cholinergic receptors (the chemical hitching posts on cells that receive acetylcholine) are far more numerous in the brains of manic depressives.

(Acetycholine controls the brain’s speed, creativity, self-esteem, criticism, short-term memory, language, sensory impressions and interpretations, speech, reading and thought. It also controls all muscle contractions.)

One substance that blocks acetycholine is lithium, which we all have in low levels. It is one of the best drugs, at the moment, for treating bipolar depression.  But is it the best treatment?

Psychiatric News outlined the widespread difficulties that lithium causes in an article called “Lithium and Memory Loss.” Besides causing memory loss, the high does of lithium needed to stop manic moods are often toxic to the nervous system, causing tremors in many users. And at high levels lithium suppresses thyroid function and can cause hypothyroidism and mental confusion.

“Scientists have gained insight into why lithium salts are effective at treating bipolar disorder in what could lead to more targeted therapies with fewer side-effects.” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120313103922.htm

“I have often asked myself whether, given the choice, I would choose to have manic-depressive illness. If lithium were not available to me, or didn’t work for me, the answer would be a simple no… and it would be an answer laced with terror.

 But lithium does work for me, and therefore I can afford to pose the question. Strangely enough, I think I would choose to have it. It’s complicated…” ~  Kay Redfield Jamison

“Lithium, don’t want to lock me up inside.

Lithium, don’t want to forget how it feels without…

Lithium, I want to stay in love with my sorrow.

Oh, but God, I want to let it go.” ~ – Lyrics from “Lithium” by band EVANESCENCE

NEUROTRANSMITTERS

A neurotransmitter is a brain chemical specifically for communication that happens between brain cells.  It’s incredible that these neurotransmitters can zigzag and flash through the mass of brain neurons at speeds of up to 150 mph carrying your every thought and feelings.  Of the 100 identified, the one’s best known are: acetylcholine, dopamine, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) and serotonin.

Everyday our neuropeptides try to work hard to keep us functioning at a peak performance but chemicals, food colorings, sugar, trans-fats, food preservatives, traffic fumes, second hand smoke, stress, anxiety and lack of sleep slows them down.  One of the best ways to boost your dopamine is exercise, swimming, biking walking and running. Playing board games and computer games help to replenish dopamine too. Walking in nature enhances GABA, and creative writing (poems, songs) help to restore acetylcholine.  Violent movies and loud ‘hard’ music or angry words decrease the production of acetylcholine.

“[An] exciting safe substance that has a lithium-like effect on the brain is the amino acid taurine, which is a calming inhibitory neruotransmitter that naturally blocks the effect of excitatory transmitters like acetycholine. Manic depressives have very low taurine levels when measured in the lab. A taurine deficiency cuases far greater symptoms in women than mean (hypothyroid, lethargy, and depression), and bipolar disorder is twice as common in women. Science also documents hereditary depression in taurine-deficient persons. Taurine has been successfully substituted for lithium (500 mg. three times daily) and, unlike lithium has no side effects.” Depression-Free Naturally: 7 Weeks to Eliminating Anxiety, Despair, Fatigue And Anger From Your Life ~ Joan Matthews Larson, Ph.D.

And from another source…..

“Taurine is an amino acid made in the liver from cysteine that is known to play a role in the brain by eliciting a calming effect. A deficiency of this amino acid may increase a bipolar patient’s manic episodes. In addition, eighty percent of bipolar sufferers have some vitamin B deficiencies (often accompanied by anemia [46]. The combination of essential vitamin supplements with the body’s natural supply of lithium reduces depressive and manic symptoms of patients suffering from bipolar disorder [47]. ~ Functional Foods: The Connection Between Nutrition, Health and Food Science ~ edited by Leah Coles

THE LIMBIC BRAIN

LIMBIC SYSTEM

The main transportation of the nervous system is the brain.  It is the best organized 3 lbs of matter in the known universe.  Tens of billions of tiny nerve cells transmit electrical signals from the nerves to the brain.  And each nerve cell in the brain is connected to many other cells in the brain and is affected by them.  The whole brain hums actively firing in circuits or loops, round and round like a pinwheel, throwing off sparks of energy on each cycle.  Great masses of nerve cells unite together to create a marvelous orchestra which plays thoughts of truth and beauty, which creates creative imagination.

“How do billions of nerve cells within the brain communicate with each other? One way is through the amazing molecules called chemical messengers or neurotransmitters. These substances are made within each nerve cell and are secreted through the synapse, the space between one cell and the next. The “mood pathways” in the brain that we have been referring to consist of the chemical messenger systems that travel through and innervate the prefrontal-limbic complex”. Women’s Moods ~ Deborah Sichel, M.D., and Jeanne Watson Driscoll, M.s., R.N., C.S.

Carl Sagan on the Brain http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SHc67Hep48

When symptoms of depression and anxiety occur, they originate from the limbic brain, but they involve the cortex as well, since severe depression is associated with diminished eyesight, poor judgment, lack of motivation and attention—all functions of the higher levels of brain. As the brain evolved over time, the cortex grew larger and we developed the capacity to control our emotions, hold back our anger and modify the impulses coming from the more primitive part of the brain called the limbic.

The cortex is divided into two halves or hemispheres and each holds a different function—though separate, these two halves are joined by a boomerang-shaped band of fibers’ or bridge call the corpus callosum which allows the left-brain and right-brain to talk to each other.

The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and enables us to figure out problems logically, to speak and write, to understand science and numbers.  The right side of the brain controls your left side of the body and is your creative side—this is where your vivid imagination and artistic ability comes from and your love for music.

“Rich connections also exist between the amygdala in the temporal lob of the brain and the stomach. These connections allow our intense emotions—fear, anxiety, anger and rage, threat, intimidation—to be felt in the stomach and abdomen.  Since the amygdala plays an important role in memory, it can also moderate the degree to which adverse or traumatic experiences can produce changes in the GI system.  In animals the amygdala controls whether the animals feel resilient (powerful) or vulnerable in stress situations.  The more helpless the feeling in the face of threat, restraint, and aggression, the greater the individual’s likelihood of developing ulcers”.   AWAKENING INTUITION Mona Lisa Schulz

We are all born with genetically programmed instincts which are located in what’s called the primitive brain or amygdala which in the fight/flight response showers the body and brain with chemicals, quickly turning the stress button ON.  When we sense danger, the autonomic (instinctual) nervous system signals the body to release the hormone adrenaline into the blood stream, providing instant energy to the hearts, lungs, and muscles.  We are pumped up and ready to fight or run.

“A fundamental assumption in this work is that the brain has multiple memory systems, each devoted to different kinds of memory functions. For traumatic memory, two systems are particularly important. For example, if you return to the scene of an accident, you will be reminded of the accident and will remember where you were going, who you were with, and other details about the experience. These are explicit (conscious) memories mediated by the hippocampus and other aspects of the temporal lobe memory system. In addition, your blood pressure and heart rate may rise, you may begin to sweat, and your muscles may tighten up. These are implicit (unconscious) memories mediated by the amygdala and its neural connections”. Joseph LeDoux

HYPOTHALAMUS AND PITUITARY

The hypothalamus controls the autonomic nervous system, regulating temperature, water metabolism, reproduction, hunger and thirst, and our state of alertness. It’s responsible for turning the stress switch on in the body—stimulating the fight or flight reaction, raising the blood pressure, the heart rate, and breathing rate—it also has centers for emotions: anger, fear, pain, and pleasure.

Connected to the hypothalamus, and continually influencing it are the ‘higher’ centers of the brain which give us our senses, memory, creativity and thought.  So theoretically, our hormone cycles could be controlled by the power of pure thought.

The pituitary gland hangs like a little round bag from the hypothalamus and controls the total balance of hormones in the body. We have come to call it the Master Gland of the body, also known as the ‘seat of the mind’. Its frontal lobe regulates emotional thoughts such as poetry, art and music, and the anterior lobe regulating concrete thought and the analytical mind.  You could say it is our mission control center that continually sends messages to all the other glands in our body and regulates our sexual development.

Hormones, like the rest of our bodies are created from the food we eat. In order to create all the hormones we need in sufficient quantities, we have to get enough of the nutrients they’re composed of and to make enzymes and other substances that affect the production, metabolism and functioning of our hormones.

When we are reacting to either food, or a situation, or a person, or to the weather, we are actually responding to a signal that started from the hypothalamus to the pituitary gland.  The signal may be in the form of comfort or discomfort, but if we could learn how to listen to these signals that are being sent to us, all the time from within us, then, we’d realize that these signals affect our moods, our behavior, our perceptions, our tastes, our habits, our attraction to other people, our appetites, our urges and so on.  Knowing your body/mind, allows you to ‘tune’ into yourself and of course to others. This allows the pituitary to analyze situations before taking action.

When we’re under stress the brain immediately responds by triggering the release of specific hormones from the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and adrenal gland areas (HPA axis).  Acute and chronic stress triggers the fight/flight response causing our heart and breathing to increase, and the blood vessels to constrict—adrenaline starts to flow through the body, digestion shuts down as blood is shunted away from the digestive tract and sent to the muscles. Most people after a particularly frightful or angry encounter,feel exhausted. They suddenly feel the need to sleep or pull away from the problem.

During traumatic stress, stress neuropeptides norepinephrine and cortisol disconnect the left-brain “talk” memory systems, but simultaneously turn up the process. The neurotransmitter norepinephrine turns on the domino effect of depression to disease in the body, and acetylcholine turns off the inflammatory cascade.

Elevated levels of adrenaline can also cause an elevation in triglycerides, which are fats in the blood, and elevation of blood sugar…also not good. Elevated levels of adrenaline over time can also cause blood to clot faster (which contributes to plaquing), the thyroid too becomes overly stimulated, and the body produces more cholesterol.

“In the last decade, neurobiologists have reported structural differences in at least two regions of the human brain.  One is the corpus callosum, the mind’s big “telephone” cable, connecting as it does hundreds of millions of neurons between the two hemispheres.  The other is the hypothalamus, the master controller for the integration of many basic behavioral patterns from temperature regulation and appetite to sex drives—involving brain and endocrine functions, Neuroendocrine research also strongly indicates that nervous system differences begin as sex hormones bathe the developing fetus in the womb.  Hormonal differences continuing through childhood—and perhaps even through adult life—affect brain activity and guide performance.  Other studies suggest that men and women may process the same information differently and yet come to the same of similar conclusion.”  Kathryn Phillips

Cortisol stays in the body longer than adrenaline, interferes with digestion and suppresses the immune system allowing tumors if present, to grow faster. Cortisol can create a fearful, threatened feeling that overstimulates our whole system. Unexplained muscle aches, chronic headaches, feeling hopeless or helpless and crying more than usual are signs of chronic overarousal. Anxiety coupled with cortisol has been known to cause unexplained heart palpitations, a nervous stomach, road rage and short temperedness.)

The pituitary happens to sit quite comfortably just above the sphenoid bone, which looks very much like a throne made of wings. Side by side these wings have long been referred to as the ‘Swan’, (although to me they look more like the wings of a bat) and in Grail lore the Swan is symbolic of the fully enlightened being. This is the ultimate realm of consciousness achieved by the medieval Knights of the Swan, such as Perceval and Lohengrin. One of the functions of the sphenoid is to solidify and stabilize our digested memories and patterns with the imagination so that we are able to do what we call visualizing, or inner seeing.

For further information on the pituitary and endocrine glands go here

THE PINEAL GLAND

Resembling a pine cone, the pineal gland, located just above the pituitary gland, secretes the hormone melatonin, a light sensitive hormone known to affect sleep, mood and the reproductive cycle.  Usually levels of this hormone rise at night and subside at dawn. In Part I of this series we learnt that melatonin is associated with Season Affective Disorder (SAD) especially in the darker seasons like Autumn and Winter.

The pineal gland acts in two ways to inhibit the action of the pituitary gland. First, the pituitary gland is responsible for activating adolescence and the beginning of sexuality, and the pineal gland checks the pituitary gland to prevent premature sexual awakening. Second, human thought is regarded as a result of suspended action, and the pineal gland holds back your thoughts from charging recklessly into action. It says whoa slow down and think about the chain of reactions and repercussions caused by the thoughts you want to put into action.   It forces you to submerge (like a submarine whose captain yells dive, dive) deep into your own  subconscious waters, using the perascope to see into your thoughts regarding the surface of your outer reality.  When the external world disappears, we fall back into ourselves, kind of like a falling star or a deep sea diver.  Our whole energy pattern contracts because we’re tuned into our own station.  When we plug into our own broadcast, it magnetizes  “spiritual light” like a beacon stimulating the pineal gland to stand straight up attracting and releasing a tremendous amount of powerful energy!  In order for your desire, good or ill to manifest, the pineal gland must join together with the pituitary to create an eclipse, a conjunction, a merging of these two glands creates an opening  what mystics have called the third eye (a higher form of intelligence)

THE SEAT OF ALL PASSION – THE AMYGDALA

The amygdala’s main role is emotion, including what we call intuition. It plays a major role in dreaming, and religious and spiritual experience, Including telepathy and ESP.

“Our world is only one in a cluster of consecutive worlds, arranged like the layers of an onion. Even though we have been energetically conditioned to perceive solely our world, we still have the capability of entering into those other realms, which are as real, unique, absolute, and engulfing as our own world is.” Carlos Castenadas ~ The Art of Dreaming

In the human brain, the amygdala normally filters out most of reality, yet, when its hyperactivated, you will suddenly be able to experience what is normally filtered out—you will suddenly be able to see and taste sound, you can feel colors, and you can experience realms of reality that are normally suppressed.

When bipolar individuals are manic, passion and enthusiasm for life is not without its dangers.  When the amygdala is in a hyperactive state, manics can be carried along in a reckless pace. When passion veers out of control they experience a highly unrelaxing force that when it overwhelms them, their sense of true passion is lost.

“Then, as time rolls on, my head really speeds up; ideas are moving so fast they’re stumbling over each other and I begin to get this sense of power–power over other people. I begin to feel that what I think and do is of significance to those around me, even to the universe at large. I think of myself as having special insight, as understanding things that others do not, and with a special capacity to lead. I recognize now that these are warning signs.”  ~ Stephan Szabo

The amygdala, an almond-shaped structure in the limbic brain is also the brain’s alerting system to stressful and emotional situations. When triggered by stress or anxiety, it alerts several bodily systems—the gut, skin, heart, muscles, eyes, face, ears, and adrenals to be on the lookout for incoming stimuli.  The amygdala notes threats in the environment and decides whether you should freeze, run or fight for your life.  Imprinted onto the amygdala’s memory are massive fears and traumatic incidents that affected you since your birth (even registering unbearable pain in others).  Many of your fears were instigated by your parents in the very early part of your life ‘before’ you developed your ability to think things through.

The amygdala controls the production of neurotransmitters, *serotonin and norepinephrine—low serotonin levels cause us to be impulsive, aggressive, anxious, restless, and depressed—exhibit compulsive habits including overeating and drug and alcohol abuse.

The more active the amygdala becomes, the more you’ll struggle to keep your emotions steady. You may get mad at people for no reason and replay memories and conversations in your head that happened years ago. It’s like every waking moment of your day is spent muttering about something you have no control over.  The amygdala is like a runaway horse, going where it wants, with you barely hanging on—the more you hold on—the more energized the amygdala becomes.  And the stronger the amygdala—the tighter your muscular system becomes and the more tense the mind.

The Amygdala and Hypersexuality

“When that pure, euphoric filling hits I become hypersexual—sex is a no-no word even to the doctors, but we have to talk about it!!!  When I’m manic, I can literally have sex with anything that moves—and the truth is I really couldn’t care less about the other person—it’s a conquest, a game, that’s thrilling and fun—a game that can last for hours or days!!  My biggest problem with this is—I’m married!!” (Bipolar woman) 

“I take antidepressants which is like a chemical neutering because it takes away all my sexual desires. (Peter T.)

“When hypersexual I keep myself locked up so i don’t do anything stupid or crazy—it’s like i become very promiscuous and then I feel shameful, dirty and filled with regret”(Susan W.)

“Though hypersexuality may present itself as just one aspect in a constellation of problems, it is often the most destructive and challenging part of bipolar disorder—troubling families of young children suffering from juvenile hypersexuality, ruining marriages, generating life-threatening health problems. “The one thing I regret is what I did to my husband,” says Bev, a middle-aged woman from rural Quebec who was diagnosed with bipolar a few years ago. “He was a good man and we would have had a good retirement together.”http://www.bphope.com/Item.aspx/522/opening-the-door-on-hypersexuality

THE HIPPOCAMPUS

“The stress response can also literally poison the brain—because it causes excessive secretion of the adrenal hormone cortisol.  Cortisol is released at about the same time adrenaline is.  However it stays in your system much longer than adrenaline does, and that creates a terrible problem.  Cortisol gives your hippocampus, as well as other parts of your brain, a highly destructive ‘toxic bath’.  It can be so destructive that your brain may never again recover absolutely all of its cognitive function.” Brain Longevity by Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. with Cameron Stauth

 The amygdala adjoins the hippocampus, known as the ‘library of short-term memories’ which converts short term experiences into long term memories and then stores them in other parts of the brain.  (Your hippocampus is active right now as your reading this.)

The brain receives up to ten billion pieces of information per second.  Negative emotional shocks such as fear, tension, stress, frustration, anger and guilt are stored in the brain and sorted in order by a nervous structure called the reticulate ‘substance’ or ‘formation’. Metaphysical causes of the body happen when emotional residue pours into your organs causing pain and discomfort.

 “A fundamental assumption in this work is that the brain has multiple memory systems, each devoted to different kinds of memory functions. For traumatic memory, two systems are particularly important. For example, if you return to the scene of an accident, you will be reminded of the accident and will remember where you were going, who you were with, and other details about the experience. These are explicit (conscious) memories mediated by the hippocampus and other aspects of the temporal lobe memory system. In addition, your blood pressure and heart rate may rise, you may begin to sweat, and your muscles may tighten up. These are implicit (unconscious) memories mediated by the amygdala and its neural connections”. Joseph LeDoux

Repetitive traumas will throw the body into a constant state of anxiety and stress causing the hippocampus to remodel itself and shrink. There are studies out there saying that antidepressants help the hippocampus grow new cells in people with Bipolar, PTSD and other emotional traumas.

THALAMUS

The thalamus is the key relay station or distribution center, transporting incoming information from all parts of the nervous system.  It’s important for processing all sensory data (taste, pain and memory) except smell. “Thalamus” means “couch” in Greek: it is where the cerebral hemispheres sit.

When the thalamus isn’t working as it should, it’s most likely because we are feeling disconnected from our ‘true self’. When we lose touch with our authentic self we feel as if everything in life is piling on top of us.  Life is messy, chaotic and very confusing. This loss of self is an underlying problem with several types of addictive and compulsive disorders such as alcohol and mind alerting drugs.

There is no doubt the earth’s changing energies are intensifying our emotions and feelings. The news tells this to us daily with more and more violent crimes. More antidpressant pills are being taken more than ever. More people are in prison, and more people suffer from serious mental illness than ever before.  I think the root of our problems are literally from anything that upsets the safety of our world—a world that is continually changing.  The earth’s magnetic field has a mutual relationship with both the sun and moon and with all the life forms of the ‘biosphere’ (plants, bacteria, fish insects, mammals).  Although this field is subtle it influences the behavior of every living organism.  We are no exception as we contain an auric field generated by the beating of our hearts and by all our body processes…but our body rhythms respond to fluctuations in the earth’s magnetic field—and our bodies are polarized—the head end negative and the tail or feet positive—similar to a battery.

“Fleeing the raw, wounded places in ourselves because we don’t think we  can handle them is a form of self-abandonment”. John Welwood

If you grew up in a troubled family, more than likely you had to hide your true self to survive and what we call the ‘false self’ dominated most of your life. You soon learned that you could never win the full approval of your parents, no matter how much effort you put forward.  Nothing was ever good enough and you never felt quite accepted and you never learnt to accept yourself either—everything you did was a perfect performance for someone else.  This mask is who we pretended to be in an atmosphere of abuse or neglect from within or, later, outside the family.

I do believe, though, that the ‘child within’ still has needs, and from time to time will peep out or show itself through manic behaviors or violent explosive emotions—often hurting the child or someone else.  If these behaviors continue, they could result later in life as eating disorders, compulsive gambling, religious addiction, workaholism, mental illness and family violence.

INTRODUCING PART III ~ Bipolar

Inside each of us is a variety of subpersonalities (archetypes) (eg., the hero, the victim, the nurturer) that contribute to how we respond to life experiences.

In Part III on Manic Depression we’re going to look at astrological charts of three different people diagnosed with manic depression who’ve worked very hard on  themselves and continue to do so through the aid of self-help groups, books, divination, therapies and frequent visits to their doctors.

We’re going to look at several different aspects, including the association of the moon with one’s home, family life and mother, motherhood and long-term bonds and behaviors.  Anatomically the moon represents the stomach, thus it emphasizes a direct link between what we eat and how we feel. It also provides clues to what may be “eating” at us. Psychology rarely studies the role the moon and how it plays in respect to changing moods or the sensations these give rise to, especially with people with bipolar.  Each of us responds to the moon’s cycle in our own unique way and looking at the moon phases, we can learn from them.

Astrology and numerology are a form of divination containing an internal communication network providing us with clues to our mental, physical, and emotional framework; they help us understand our body’s present state including all its past history. Step by step they point us in the right direction, guiding us through the healing process.

To be continued….

ravenstarshealingroom@gmail.com

Great Links….

This blog takes you to into the heart of a bipolar  https//bruisedbybipolar.wordpress.com

Excellent Lecture on the Limbic System ~ Sex, Hallucinations, Emotions, Memory, PTSD, Amygdala    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7nXiXQb2iM   

What is Lithium   http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?  Section=About_Medications&Template=/TaggedPage/TaggedPageDisplay.cfm&TPLID=51&ContentID=20820

Bipolar Disorder and Highly Sensitive People    mentalhealthtalk.info/bipolar_hsp

Bipolar Disorder and Brain   http://www.brainexplorer.org/bipolar_disorder/Bipolar_Disorder_Aetiology.shtml

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“I have ADD. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been messy, disorganized, talk too fast and write way too fast. I’m always anxious and can’t sit still; I start something then move onto something else so quickly, I can’t focus on the first thing to get it done. I used to cheat at school…the only thing that saved me was my creative abilities…I was put in every music/art class my high school offered. My focus is incredible when I’m doing what I love but doing stuff I don’t like or don’t want to do is a nightmare and that causes many problems. I have so many unfinished projects. (College student)

“My son has ADHD and is totally addicted, obsessed and consumed with video games. The strangest thing is, they help tremendously to calm him down and he notices the fine detail and frames better than me.” (Father of child with ADHD)

“People will be talking to me and my head or my mind will suddenly travel and drift off into outer space..then I’m come back and try to catch-up and listen but then my thoughts or day-dreams take me off to somewhere else…I doze off at the oddest moments (Andy with ADD)

Not that long ago there was little support or information available to help us understand learning and mental disorders.   Those afflicted with learning and mental disorders were basically on their own causing them to feel more and more pessimistic and withdrawn. Their families and those around them were in denial and they would blame themselves repeatedly on what looked like failures in their lives. Society told them to get on with their lives and pull themselves together yet they didn’t know how. To anyone on the outside, it appeared they weren’t in control of themselves.

It wasn’t until the beginning of the 21st century that mental disorders came out of the closet and were considered a ‘real illness’. Actors/actresses and authors admitted and openly discussed their stories of mood disorders and treatments; it was a true relief from those who suffered from inexplicable sensitivities and dramatic mood swings.

Every aspect of the way you live will influence the mind/body system and the thousands of neurons in the brain. The brain and body work as a mind/body connection–especially when the brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) are in balance or in sync together. From the food we eat, to everyday stresses, to the chemical pollutants that get into our bodies, all these affect our behavior, causing nerve fibres to become tangled in our brains.

 “From a bodymind perspective every illness has a psycho/emotional connection; some are simply more obvious than others. There is no clear separation between what is happening in the mind and what is happening in the body. Both the physical problems that arise and the mental battles that rage within have the same importance.

 Mental and emotional disorders are real, and they are not necessarily cured by medical intervention. Anti-depressants are not a cure. Most of the therapies available aim to normalize according to society’s idea of what normal is, although more holistic and sympathetic systems are now emerging that treat the person, recognizing that each of us is a unique individual with specific needs.” YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND ~ Deb Shapiro

Why are more and more children being classified with this disorder? Many of the children labeled as ADD/ADHD are diagnosed through their behavior and not measured through neurological testing. So any child who doesn’t follow the basic law of standards and rules by a school are diagnosed with some kind of learning disorder. In many cases children are being labeled with ADHD when, in fact, they are simply normal kids who are particularly bright and have a need to explore the subjects he or she are passionate about and that will stimulate and build their willingness to learn. Some children suffer from dyxpraxia; which is basically a problem in knowing what to do and how to go about doing it.

INDIGO CHILDREN

“Indigo Children are children who are brilliant and creative yet unconventional. Many of them are psychic, highly emotionally sensitive, or highly physically sensitive. Some of them have attention deficit disorder or learning disabilities. Some of them are angry or nonconformist, while others are exceptionally tolerant and compassionate. Indigo Children can be spiritually advanced beyond their years. Your Indigo child may have some but not all of these attributes. The main thing to know about Indigo Children is they don’t fit into a mold. They’re different, and they are here to change the world.” ~The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Indigo Children ~ by Wendy H. Chapman, Carolyn Flynn

I hummed and hawed about adding the indigo children. What actually changed my mind was the color ‘indigo’ itself; a color not only difficult to describe but difficult to perceive as well.   Its inky blackness is unstable; an elusive color—known to dissolve boundaries; it seduces and liberates or overwhelms the mind. Indigo exists between purple and blue; sometimes almost black and ‘always’ with a hew of red. It’s associated with the 6th chakra (3rd eye) which is in the region of the brain, eyes, ears, nose, pineal and pituitary glands.

(Too much of the color indigo can decrease the function of the thyroid gland affecting one’s thoughts, speech as well as fatigue, muscles aches and weakness. This is discussed later on in this blog.)

“The health issues related to the sixth emotional centre span from ailments of the brain, eyes and ears to broader themes of learning and developmental problems. As with the other emotional centers, if we are discussing a part of the body, the illness is often caused by certain thoughts and behavior patterns. However, when discussing the larger themes, the thoughts and behaviors do not stand as the cause; they are merely a factor that exacerbates certain tendencies, such as ADHD or dyslexia.….

 People who struggle with health in the sixth emotional center have an imbalance in how they see and learn from the world. Some are rooted in the earthly realm, with no connection to the greater universe, and others are totally connected to the mystical realm without a foot on the earthly plane. Finding a way to balance the input of both these realms when facing life’s ups and downs bring health in the sixth emotional center.” All is Well: Heal your Body with Medicine, Affirmations, and Intuition ~ Louise L. Hay, Mona Lisa Schulz

Something I’ve noticed with ADHD individuals in regard to the chakras, is at times the 3rd chakra (yellow) and the 2nd chakra (orange) can pulsate causing them to feel irritable, unsettled and anxious. When these chakras fluctuate between overactive and underactive, we become unbalanced and absorb way too much information from our environment.   This causes tension and stress to buildup, causing irrational thoughts and hyperactivity.

Physically this can cause intense headaches and affect the whole digestive process from the stomach, liver, spleen, kidneys, right into the intestines. When our stomachs can’t digest new ideas and experiences not only food is poorly absorbed in our system but our thoughts and feelings as well. When the stomach is rigid or tense we are resisting or holding onto things that should normally pass through our bodies. Indigestion can reflect on the skin causing blemishes, eczema, and psoriasis, which metaphysically, are caused by confusing thought patterns, frustration and the inability to make our needs understood.

MY SON IS ADHD

My oldest son was diagnosed with ADHD in grade school, and I know for a fact, he took great pleasure in defying anything that had to do with rules or tasks that weren’t creative. In preschool he’d roll around on the floor, often rolling up to the teacher and try to tickle her toes. When it was reading time, all the kids would sit in a circle except Jason who’d constantly fidget and rock his body to and fro or comically march around the room, creating havoc. At home, he wasn’t as hyper at school but always seemed to crave some kind of movement.   Health-wise he suffered from multiple earaches as a child and as a teen struggled with psoriasis and acne.

ADD/ADHD’ers are sensitive, hyper, impulsive, inattentive, extremely bright and highly animated adults and kids; they’re always on the move and have trouble sitting still.   It can be hard to prove some children display ADHD tendencies because all kids display some ADHD behaviors. ADD/ADHD people don’t understand linear time, their thinking is scattered; they have trouble establishing priorities and organizing their lives; they can drive everyone around them crazy.

“It’s..understandable that people might think children with ADHD have brains that process faster than their peers. However…people with ADHD actually suffer from an increased amount of slow brain waves, as evidenced by electroencephalograms (EEGs) (American Psychiatric Association 2013). These slow waves are the “sleepy” theta waves that are seen in ultimate relaxation or stage-two sleep. “This means they are producing theta slow waves (4-8Hz) when they should be producing beta fast waves (12-21Hz),”…this disorder is “related to ‘under arousal’ of the frontal and prefrontal brain systems that regulate attention and impulse control. Children who demonstrate symptoms of ADHD often show smaller and/or slower than normal physiological reactions to stimuli,” and this shows that their brains operate at lower levels of excitement…

 … such children can tend to seek stimulation from their external environment, which can present as hyperactivity and/or impulsivity… This is why it seems as though children with ADHD need to get their energy out in a very excessive manner! They appear almost like energy junkies. They gravitate toward activities that produce emotional and sensory stimulation, which seem to be more action-oriented, offering immediate rewards. Things such as “loud music, colorful toys, big motion outside activities, action-packed video games, and so forth offer the right stimulation” (Managing your ADHD Child 2000-2011).” Toddlers & ADHD: Relief for Parents, A Guide for Clinicians and Teachers ~ Donna Mac LCPC

When Jason was being tested for ADHD, I was learning and obtaining my license to drive school bus part-time. Interestingly, when I was given my bus schedule for the new school year in September, the children on my routes were all Special Needs. Each child was to be independently driven to their appropriate school to avoid becoming overexcited by other children on the bus. The parents to these children were astounding! They were such compassionate, spiritual souls—eagerly sharing what they’d learned about alternative medicines and information to help me understand their children and my own son. As I digested all the information, I realized that I had been trying to mould my son into the type of child that I wanted instead of accepting the child that I had been given. For the first time in my life I was looking at the “problem” from his perspective and found out that my attempts to “change him for the better” must have appeared to him as if I was rejecting him; trying to change him into something that he was not. Jason was teaching Me!

I discovered different aspects to my son’s character that I never knew existed because I was reacting and too focused on his behavioral problems. I received a great deal of inspiration when I thought all avenues had been exhausted. It is such an amazing feeling to receive help from people who understood, and took the trouble to offer such kind and helpful advice. Hopefully we can share the same kind of energy.

 “The child labeled with ADD is given medication to keep him calm, but no one seems to know why he’s hyperactive, and some adults never even ask the question. The reality may be that he’s just not interested in what this world is teaching him. These oft-gifted and highly misunderstood children already know much of what’s being taught and seek challenges elsewhere. The fact that children labeled with ADD can focus on anything at all should tell you this label is false. That the youngster may not want to pay attention in school but can focus on a video game for hours should tell you it’s the subject matter, not the child that needs to be addressed.” Healing with Source: A Spiritual Guide to Mind-Body Medicine ~ Dave Markowitz

I’ve noticed ADD/ADHD’ers are the first to react to what is happening to them at the moment. They are affected by what’s happening in their environment and especially when something’s off. It’s as if they were born with extreme sensitivities, making them aware of all kinds of subtle messages from outside and inside; many of them are empathic, psychic and very sensitive to their environment. This also means they are easily overwhelmed by touch and clothing against their skin. My son would cry when his shoes felt too tight, or his socks seemed lumpy. He’d scream and yell, at home or at school, until he yanked them off and hurled them away. He hated baths, wouldn’t wear hats or mittens even when it was freezing outside. Getting him to eat was also very difficult—he used to hide his food in his cheeks like a chipmunk.

You can’t be a traditional parent, to ADD/ADHD’ers and you can’t educate them in the traditional way….these kids and adults are very creative and relate best to activities/courses that allow them to explore their creativity. You won’t find an ADHD’er behind the desk doing accounting or talking business on the phone. These special people are the performers, actors, musicians, writers, teachers, photographers and designers of our world. They have unique visual perceptions and often see energies others don’t usually see. They are tuned into something that most of us only get glimpses of—they are tuned into a higher spiritual vibration.

“The ADD/ADHD patient compensates for the increased theta production with hyperactivity. For example, have you ever driven down a road late at night and found yourself becoming sleepy? What do you do? Open the window, turn up the volume on the radio [and sing loudly], or tap the dashboard? You make yourself hyperactive to stay awake! The ADD/ADHD patient that is producing too many slow waves is in a perpetual state of fogginess and is constantly trying to stay awake—hence the hyperactivity” (Brain and Body Solutions n.d.). This is what student with ADHD do in school—they fidget, wiggle, shift body position, and tap their pencils in an attempt to stay focused and awake, which are observations I make on a daily basis at the therapeutic day school where I work. Toddlers & ADHD ~ Donna Mac, LCPC

ADD/ADHD And The BRAIN

“A variety of factors mold your brain and determine how you ultimately pay attention. If your mother was stressed when pregnant with you, especially in the first trimester, her elevated androgen levels would have altered how your right and left brain perceive the world. In addition to an increased risk of dyslexia, you’re less likely to develop the traditional focused attention. You atypical attention style is likely to give you exaggerated empathetic and intuitive gifts and possibily creative and artistic skills. If a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, however, all attention pathways in the fetal brain become disordered. Alcohol not only damages the developing corpus callosum, the connection between the right and left brain, but also injures developing white-matter nerve pathways involved in every aspect of attention. Children and adults with fetal alcohol syndrome suffer the most severe forms of attention deficit disorder, with profound hyperactivity so disabling that they have trouble functioning in the world.” The New Feminine Brain ~ Mona Lisa Schulz

The brain is what helps us to make sense of the world, taking in information from your environment and sending messages throughout your body. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch are not only an essential part of our memories, they help to understand the changes happening around us. But any change in the brain, even the most subtlest change, can have a major impact on our feelings, thoughts and action.

The right brain, left brain look very similar and share much of the work in thinking. However, each side has special tasks. The left side of the brain enables us to figure out problems logically, to speak and write, to understand science and numbers. The right side is your creative side—this is where your vivid imagination and artistic ability comes from and your love for music.

“In the last decade, neurobiologists have reported structural differences in at least two regions of the human brain.   One is the corpus callosum, the mind’s big “telephone” cable, connecting as it does hundreds of millions of neurons between the two hemispheres. The other is the hypothalamus, the master controller for the integration of many basic behavioral patterns from temperature regulation and appetite to sex drives—involving brain and endocrine functions, Neuroendocrine research also strongly indicates that nervous system differences begin as sex hormones bathe the developing fetus in the womb. Hormonal differences continuing through childhood—and perhaps even through adult life—affect brain activity and guide performance. Other studies suggest that men and women may process the same information differently and yet come to the same of similar conclusion.” Kathryn Phillips

Neurotransmitters

A neurotransmitter is a brain chemical specifically for communication to happen between brain cells. It’s incredible that these neurotransmitters can zigzag and flash through the mass of brain neurons at speeds of up to 150 mph carrying your every thought and feelings. Of the 100 identified, the one’s best known are: acetylcholine, dopamine, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) and serotonin.

Acetycholine controls the brain’s speed, creativity, self-esteem, criticism, short-term memory, language, sensory impressions and interpretations, speech, reading and thought. It also controls all muscle contractions. Both stress and poor diet can cause acetycholine to decline.

Dopamine is the brains revitalizer. It controls energy release, energy consumption, drive and excitement about new ideas. It also keeps us alert and vigilant, controlling the release of the hormones norepinephrine (adrenaline) and cortisol for the fight/flight response. When dopamine levels are low, these control circuits are sluggish, slow to respond, and less effective. (Many ADHD kids are low in iron and iron is needed to make dopamine.)

Dopamine levels are affected by serotonin, norepinephine and GABA. For example higher levels of serotonin have been known to decrease the level of dopamine. If there isn’t enough dopamine, it’s more difficult for people to feel creative, happy, calm and objective.

GABA works to stop excess nerve signals and keeps the brain from getting out of control. It controls the brain’s rhythm of thinking, talking and hearing and calms and quiets the brain. With ADD/ADHD children and adults GABA levels are low causing them to feel hyper, anxious, and lethargic.

Serotonin is the brains’ mood rejuvenator but too much can cause depression and too little causes us to be impulsive, aggressive, anxious, restless, and compulsive.

Everyday our neuropeptides try to work hard to keep us functioning at a peak performance but chemicals, food coloring, sugar, trans-fats, food preservatives, traffic fumes, second hand smoke, stress, anxiety and lack of sleep slows them down. One of the best ways to boost your dopamine is exercise, swimming, biking walking and running. Playing board games and computer games help to replenish dopamine too. Walking in nature enhances GABA, and creative writing (poems, songs) help to restore acetylcholine. Violent movies and loud ‘hard’ music or angry words decrease the production of acetylcholine.

“Due to the nature of this disorder, what a child with ADHD actually needs is more stimulation within his brain, so he doesn’t need to gain that stimulation from the environment around him. Have you ever noticed a child with ADHD jumping on a coffee table when he is at an age where he is well aware this is not acceptable behavior? He is trying to self-stimulate through this type of inappropriate movement, to get his brain to a baseline level of arousal. Another common misconception of ADHD is “this child just has to learn he isn’t supposed to jump on tables.” However ADHD is not a disorder of inability to learn; it’s a disorder of an inability to self-regulate. Therefore, he has learned he isn’t supposed to do this. All toddlers obviously crave movement, and movement is crucial for proper brain development. However, there is a normal range and an excessive range for movement in toddlerhood.” Toddlers & ADHD ~ Donna Mac, LCPC

The Left and Right Hemisphere of the Brain

Seen from above, the human brain is divided in two parts and looks similar to two halves of a walnut—these two halves are called the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere. The left hemisphere controls the right side of the body and the right hemisphere controls the left. Signals from your sense organs cross over before they enter your brain, going to the opposite hemispheres.

“Those who have suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, commonly called a ‘stroke’, provide clear examples of how this kind of cross-over operates. A stroke in the right hemisphere of the brain will affect victims on the left side of the body. Thus, they can lose control over the muscles in the left hand, left leg, and the left side of the face (including that side of the tongue and mouth). A stroke to the left part of the brain will similarly affect the right side of the body.” Psycholinguistics: Language, Mind and World ~ By Danny D. Steinbert, Hiroshi Nagata, David P. Aline

For the last two hundred years or so, scientists discovered that language and language related capabilities are mainly located in the left hemisphere of most people—approximately 98 percent of right-handers and about two-thirds of left-handers. Because speaking and talking are vitally important in our world, scientists called the left hemisphere dominant and the right side ‘less evolved’ or ‘minor’ and ‘less advanced’ than the left.

It’s only been recently that neuroscience began to understand we have a double brain with two ways of knowing. These two hemispheres (right brain, left brain), perceive reality in their own way and though separate, are joined by a ‘boomerang-shaped band of fibers’ or bridge called the corpus callosum which allows the left brain and right brain to process and relay information between each other.

Children and adults with attention deficit disorder (ADD) and autism have a smaller corpus callosum, which means that they have more difficulty processing outside stimuli. They are easily distracted and alarmed with constant new stimuli bombarding them. This is why most children and adults with ADD function better in classes with fewer children.

THE MEDULLA OBLONGATA AND THE SENSES

At the base of your brain stem is what’s called the Medulla Oblongata. This area at the back of the neck feeds nerve energy to our five senses. When our nerve energy becomes depleted, it’s unable to reach our ears, eyes, throat or mouth. We need our senses to function in the world…every move we make, every bite we eat, every object we touch produces a sensation.

Our senses also tell us when something in our environment doesn’t feel right; the hypothalamus in the brain is what turns the stress switch on and we immediately prepare ourselves for the fight or flight response. When our senses let us know all is well, we relax, feel safe and look for much of the same…if we’re bored we look for something that stimulates us higher.

To do their job well, all the senses have to work together. Together they nourish the brain with many sensations urging us to develop more to improve physically, mentally and emotionally.

But many adults and children who suffer from learning disabilities or some kind of mental illness struggle with the basic ordinary sensations; for some reason their sensitive systems become overloaded and overwhelmed very quickly. It’s difficult for them to know what they feel inside—when this happens, they can become disoriented, confused and lose touch with themselves—this affects their behavior, the way they react, move, learn and relate to others. It also affects how they feel about themselves. Because their central nervous systems have trouble processing through the five senses, they have a hard time functioning in daily life. They look ok on the outside and have a superior intelligence but may be awkward, fearful and withdrawn, or hostile and aggressive. Many adults and children with attention deficit disorder, asperger’s, autism, bi-polar, tourette’s syndrome, and schizophrenia often suffer from low self-esteem and self worth because of their unique condition. Unaware teachers, peers and/or parents may even ridicule them.

“According to the Louise Hay affirmation theory, the health of the sixth emotional center—the brain, eyes, and ears—involves a capacity to be receptive to information and a flexibility to think and reason your way out of situations.

The brain is like a computer, receiving information, processing it, and then carrying out the proper function. Information travels from every part of our body to the brain and from the brain to the body’ however, the brain can be sidetracked in its job by its emotional components such as fear, anger, and inflexibility. All is Well: Heal your Body with Medicine, Affirmations, and Intuition ~ Louise L. Hay, Mona Lisa Schulz

TOXIC BRAIN SYNDROME

“Of all the body’s systems and processes, the endocrine system is the most susceptible to daily stresses such as thoughts, emotions, environmental factors, nutrition and pollutants. An imbalance in this system can interfere with our ability to sustain health and some of the symptoms can manifest as depression, mood swings, weight or sleep issues, lethargy, low self-esteem, fuzzy brain, loss of libido, headaches, allergies, fatigue, and general aches and pains.” YOUR PERSONAL TUNING FORK: The Endocrine System ~ Deborah Bates

For many children where there seems to be no specific learning disability, there is a condition called toxic brain syndrome which is caused by environmental and dietary toxins, food additives, processed foods, and drugs, and poor nutrition. Food colorings and a preservative called ‘sodium benzoate is know to affect the nervous, immune and hormonal systems, causing hyperactivity in adults and children.

ALLERGIES AND CANDIDA CAN CAUSE LEARNING PROBLEMS

If you suspect you or your child suffer from allergies, talk to your health professional about natural healing alternative. More information about allergies and candida can be found here and here.

When you have an allergic reaction, your body releases histamine into your system, which is the cause of most of your symptoms. Allergies are a symptom of an overloading of toxins in the body, expressed through the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and throat as well as the skin.

Allergies and chemical sensitivities may be responsible for some learning problems, as they allow cytokines to enter the bloodstream and affect normal brain function. Cytokines play a key role in cellular messaging, talking to cells how they should act or react to certain situations. Cytokines, are produced by the cells of the nervous system, and the cells of the immune system, binding to sites in the brain, causing changing in areas such as sleep, attention and mood. Recently there has been speculation that immune system problems may trigger the development ADD/ADHD symptoms.

“Inside the brain, histamine plays an important role in all sorts of reactions [including allergies]. In the hypothalamus, histamine stimulates the release of the important neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Another role of brain histamine is to counterbalance dopamine in that area of the brain that filters incoming sensory information. With too little histamine, dopamine levels can be elevated. The result of having too little histamine can be thought disorders like paranoia, or hallucinations that feel as if your mind is playing tricks on you. You may see or hear things abnormally, and your ears may ring. You will probably make grandiose plans but never have the energy to carry them out….

When histamine levels are abnormally high, there is a tendency to hyperactivity, depression, aggressiveness, compulsive behavior and a racing brain. You may grow obsessive about sex, cry easily, have abnormal fears and contemplate suicide.” 7 Weeks to Emotional Healing ~ Joan Mathews Larson, Ph.D

Your intestinal tract naturally contains small amounts of Candida yeast. But in some cases because of anti-biotics, birth control pills or a high carbohydrate diet, this can cause an overgrowth of the candida yeast, causing candidiasis.   Candidiasis and allergies are so closely linked, they are most often paired together.

Candida becomes a problem when food in the intestines ferments instead of digesting. This overgrowth can penetrate the intestinal lining and find its way into the circulatory/blood system. Some people refer to this as “leaky gut”. What happens with ‘leaky gut’, is undigested food particles (partially digested proteins, fats and bacteria) pass through the intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream.   The body/immune system in an attempt to protect itself attacks these foreign substances and therefore launches an allergic response. Sometimes the immune system can’t determine the foreign substance and in its confusion to obliterate it, starts attacking the body—this is called an autoimmune disease—the self attacking self.

One of the most common mental complaints of candida is brain fog or difficulty concentrating. Psychological symptoms can cause a variety of symptoms such as: depression, angry outbursts, mood swings, obsessive compulsive behavior (OCB), panic attacks, paranoia, personality changes and even schizophrenic behavior. When candida is treated successfully, the psychological symptoms dissipate as well.

IMMUNIZATIONS/VACCINATIONS

This is such a controversial subject that I honestly don’t have enough knowledge about. I’ve suggested some sites for you to read and increase your awareness about it.

http://www.mercola.com/article/vaccines/neurological_damage.htm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpPW0lV0WbU

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/75333.php

http://gizmodo.com/5885757/vaccines-dont-cause-autism-please-vaccinate-your-children

ADHD And HYPOTHYROIDISM

In the section on Indigo Children, we touched on the fact that too much of the color, indigo (6th chakra) depresses the performance of the thyroid. The third eye also known as the pineal gland lies deep in the brain and has no direct access to light. Instead it ‘sees’ through our eyes and the amount of light registered on the pineal through the eyes determines the production of melatonin. Melatonin helps to regulates the breakdown of T4 (thyroxine) into the more energetic form, T3 for the thyroid.

“Thyroxine (T4), the main thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid is a small molecule that contains four iodine atoms. In the cells of many organs (including the brain), a well-regulated process causes thyroxine to lose iodine, generating the much more potent thyroid hormone T3. In the brain, probably more so than in any other organ, T3 rather than T4 appears to be the critical form of the hormone that regulates cell functions. Because the amount of T3 present in the brain must remain in an optimal range to keep the mind functioning properly, fluctuations in the crucial process of converting T4 to T3 will inevitably affect the mind.” The Thyroid Solution: A Revolutionary Mind-Body Program for Regaining your ~ Ridha Arem

Melatonin affects our mood, menstrual cycles, estrogen levels, sperm levels and ovulation. When too much of this hormone is in our system, especially during daylight hours, we can suffer mental confusion and depression, skin problems and many other health complications.   People suffering from depression also tend to have large amounts of cortisol, a hormone produced from the adrenal glands, in their bloodstream. Too much cortisol suppresses the thyroid and immune system, resulting in lethargy, irritability, overeating, low self-esteem and mood changes.

Stress, illness and poor diet can easily affect the thyroid gland. The thyroid uses foods such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats and minerals as fuel. This gland coverts food into energy, not only controlling the body’s growth and temperature, it also controls every cell in the body as well. Your skin, complexion and even your outward appearance is affected by the thyroid. It’s the engine of your body and when it goes into low gear, the whole body is affected.

“The thyroid system is one of the body’s most rightly and precisely regulated systems, Minute changes in the way thyroid hormone is delivered to or dispersed in the brain can have drastic effects on mood, emotions, attention and thinking. A problem with the delivery of T3 can cause disorders ranging from depression to attention deficit in people with normally functioning thyroids. Neuroscientists are teaching us the wide range of ways in which T3 regulates brain function and the brain chemistry syndromes that are likely to result from the alteration of the thyroid hormone levels in the brains of people with normally functioning thyroid glands…..

In patients suffering from generalized resistance to thyroid hormone, thyroid hormone levels could affect other chemical transmitters such as noradrenaline, which is considered to be one of the culprits in ADHD. In such patients, the behavioral symptoms, such as distractibility and restlessness, may improve the T3 treatment. Thyroid hormone treatment could be used alone or in conjunction with other medications to regulate the noradrenaline levels in the brain. The Thyroid Solution: A Revolutionary Mind-Body Program for Regaining your ~ Ridha Arem

Sometimes a genetic defect can cause the thyroid hormone to work less efficiently in the brain, pituitary, and other organs.   Although tests show thyroid levels normal, the brain may actually be deficient in the hormone causing attention deficit disorders. Talk to your doctor about this and he or she will be able to do further tests to determine this.

“To address the thought patterns underlying ADHD, Louise suggests the affirmation “Life loves me. I love myself just the way I am. I am free to create a joyous life that works for me. All is well in my world.” But she also recommends you use other affirmations that address some of the common traits of the disorder. For example, the hyperactivity associated with ADHD is often accompanied by thought patterns that include feeing pressured and frantic. So if you tend to be hyperactive or unfocused, you may need a calming affirmation so you can let go of the anxiousness and worry. A good general affirmation is “I am safe. All pressure dissolves. I AM good enough.” Stuttering, a behavior that can be associated with dyslexia, may develop from insecurity and a lack of self-expression. If you stutter, slow down and remind yourself that you have the strength and confidence to articulate your needs with the affirmation “I am free to speak up for myself. I am now secure in my own expression. I communicate only with love.” Asperger’s is often associated with depression, so if you suffer from this, you can use the affirmation “I now go Beyond other people’s fears and limitations. I create my life.” All is Well: Heal your Body with Medicine, Affirmations, and Intuition ~ Louise L. Hay, Mona Lisa Schulz

TESTOSTERONE

 “Testosterone levels influence attention and definitely are associated with impulsivity. Men traditionally have higher testosterone levels and are more impulsive. Women traditionally have lower testosterone levels and are less impulsive. This difference in testosterone and impulsivity may explain why men and boys are more likely to have ADHD (attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity and impulsivity) whereas girls and women are likely to have a more “dreamlike” or “spacey” type of ADD.

 At menopause, however, the brain’s attention circuits change. With a decrease in estrogen and an increase in testosterone, women are more impulsive, more hyperactive, and less attentive. These changes make some women feel as if their brain is turning into a “fuzzbull.”   Menopausal women with ADD may become even more inattentive, impulsive, and hyperactive. Many women also become more emotionally porous—they hear their intuitions more than ever and may be distracted by the pain in others’ lives at this time. Men, who go through a “testepause”, have decreasing testosterone levels and a relative increase in estrogen, so their attention may actually become more acute.” The New Feminine Brain: How Women Can Develop their Inner Strengths, Genius ~ by Mona Lisa Schulz

HEALING ADD/ADHD NATURALLY

The best thing I can advise you is to do everything you can to learn about ADD/ADHD and work together with your health professional. Doctors only have so much time to work with each patient; we have to become our own advocate in the art of healing.

What follows are guidelines only. Healing can happen by applying a do-it-yourself approach—you’ll have to research and experiment with a variety of herbs, supplements and energy work to find what works for you.

Reiki, Quantum Healing, Therapeutic Touch, EFT, are all wonderful healing therapies to explore.  They help to relax and ground the body in present time. My son soaked up Reiki energy like a sponge and enjoyed Therapeutic Touch.

“If your child has some of the outward symptoms of essential fat deficiency – rough dry patches on the skin, cracked lips, dull or dry hair, soft or brittle nails, and excessive thirst – it is fair to say that this could be an underlying factor in learning difficulties they might be experiencing, such as concentration or visual problems, mood swings, disturbed sleep patterns and in some cases behavioural problems. This is because dyslexia, dyspraxia, learning difficulties and ADHD all involve poor nerve cell communications in the brain, and essential fats are crucial in keeping neurons talking to each other.” http://www.easyreadsystem.com/news/nutrition-dyslexia-what-works/

I looked at giving Jason a serotonin supplement Tryptophan (5-HTP) which improves both mood and sleep or even SAMe but wasn’t sure at his young age, the amount to give him. Reading up on serotonin, I learnt that when our bodies crave it, we have an insatiable desire for foods that are sweet or starchy (chips, cookies, cake, pastries, cereal). Also, that serotonin hunger can only be satisfied by eating high-carbohydrates.   I found out that eating too many protein foods without carbohydrates inhibit serotonin from entering the brain.   In fact too much fat in the diet competes with serotonin too! Needless to say, we began changing our food consumption to include carbohydrate-rich snacks and carbohydrate-rich dinners; these include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, rice and legumes.

Factory produced foods (refined carbohydrates) are not carbohydrate-rich and lack essential nutrients the body needs to survive.   When we eat too many of these foods the body will crave for its nutritional requirements which often leads to excess eating and hyperactivity.

When my son was diagnosed with ADHD, I looked into the pros and cons of medication and decided not to put him on *Ritalin or Adderall. Many of the parents I’ve come to know with special needs children, recommended Efamol, Omega 3, vitamin B6 and magnesium. B6 and magnesium help to increase GABA as well as prevent the loss of dopamine from the brain.   I noticed a slight change in his nature after several weeks and by three months a tremendous improvement.

 “I know a lot of people don’t agree with medicating their children, but if my kids didn’t their meds they literally wouldn’t have an education because of there behavior and lack of concentration. We have had all the food allergy tests done; we’ve tried the reward system and the star charts that were recommended but they didn’t help a bit. Using Ritalin helped our children immensely and if all efforts fail, we’d highly recommend it.” (Sue K., mother of two)

Ritalin is a form of “speed”, acting similarly to cocaine or amphetamines—though Ritalin is supposed to “work” for several hours in 60-75% of children.   Side effects include a loss of several inches in height, poor appetite, insomnia, tics and personality changes. In spite of using Ritalin, two thirds of children with ADHD carry it into their adulthood.

Simple breathing exercises, focusing on the breath can be helpful for the anxiety that sometimes accompanies ADHD. It will also help to let go of any tension and create more relaxed body language. My son and I would make a game of this at bedtime, counting as we breathed in 1-2-3-4-5 and breathing out 1-2-3-4-5. It was hard at first but if you stick with it for at least 10 minutes, you’ll noticed your breathing will become more rhythmic and helps to release the tensions through the body.

There is also an exercise called cross-crawling (when you raise an arm and the opposing leg together and then repeat the other side – a bit like marching) which stimulates connections in the brain.

Another good idea is to try the mind gym type games, these encourage stimulating parts of the brain that lay latent and increase the brain’s capacity.

A meditation class might be something to try,and a Tai Chi class would be particularly helpful If you have difficulties with spatial awareness and balance.

The other thing Jason needed was exercise, which as indicated above, helps to boost the neurotransmitters in the brain. Walking outdoors strengthens and tones the muscles and also reinforces our feelings of being part of the oneness of creation. The patterns of nature also speak very deeply to our souls.

All children love music; playing a musical instrument is another good way to stimulate the brain. Jason took to the piano like bees take to honey. In high school, the teachers worked with him and he now creates his own music and has his Grade 10 in piano.

There is hope for everyone with ADD/ADHD. My son graduated with honors from high school and is now in University. If he can do it, you can do it too.

BBC ~ ADHD drugs have no benefit http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2007/11_november/12//adhd.shtml

Indigo, Crystal and Rainbow Children http://www.angeltherapy.com/article1.php

ADHD Gifted and Creative  http://innerself.com/Parenting/hartmann_2135.htm

Each child requires an individualized approach. Indigos want very much to be seen for the unique individuals theyare—cookie-cuter solutions don’t work with them.

The sound learning centre for developmental problems http://www.thesoundlearningcentre.co.uk/treatment/development-programme/

Fascinating video with Dr. Daniel G. Aman, who has written many books on ADD ~ he believes brain imaging important – treatment should be individual ~ One treatment does not fit everybody! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXFyUNEXJp0&app=desktop

And his website ‘Healing the 7 types of ADD

http://www.elevatedexistence.com/blog/2014/01/04/dr-daniel-amen-healing-the-7-types-of-add/

“If you have food allergies, the immune cells that line your gastrointestinal tract are hypersensitive. You may have low stomach acid, a pancreas that isn’t working optimally, and, possibly, a congested liver and gallbladder. You may also have an imbalance in your gut flora. The balance of gut bacteria can influence behavior and even cause depression.

According to scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, your gut bacteria communicate with your brain and have a profound impact on making you feel happy or sad. When you are stressed, your body releases lots of stress hormones. When stressed mice were fed a broth containing some Lactobacillus rhamnosus bacteria (a bacteria found in yogurt), they became significantly less anxious and had lower levels of stress hormones in their blood. The researchers determined that the bacteria were somehow communicating via the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is a very important neural two-way highway that connects your brain with all of the organs of your body. The bacteria are able to influence the GABA receptors in the brain that allow you to relax”.

http://www.positivelypositive.com/2013/05/26/reduce-allergies-and-find-happiness/

Essential Oils – Essential Blends (www.essentialblends.com) has a formula especially for ADD/ADHD to help calm some brain areas and stimulate others. The blend is a mixture of tangerine, cardamon, lavender, sweet almond and jojoba.

ADHD Facts and Statistics  http://www.healthline.com/health/adhd/facts-statistics-infographic#3  

Stay tuned for the next topic… Asperger’s Syndrome

ravenstarshealingroom@gmail.com

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