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Dr. Hanscom's Blog Anxiety-Anger-Adrenaline: Core of the Mind Body Syndrome

Discussion in 'Mindbody Blogs (was Practitioner's Corner)' started by Back In Control Blog, Nov 24, 2014.

  1. Back In Control Blog

    Back In Control Blog Well known member


    I am continually trying to understand the Mind Body Syndrome and find better ways to explain it. Here is another one of my attempts.

    Every human being has anxiety as a necessary survival trait. Every cell in the human body has evolved to survive – not to have a great time. Unfortunately humans become anxious in the face of perceived threats in addition to real ones. The result is that the hormones adrenaline and cortisol are secreted much more often than needed. These are the chemicals that create the “flight or fight response.”

    When the real or perceived threat persists we feel or are trapped. This, of course, leads to frustration and anger, which causes adrenaline levels to really skyrocket. The result is that your blood supply is shifted largely to the skeletal muscles, which enables you to flee danger. Other effects include:

    • Decreased blood flow to your brain – especially to the frontal cortex where most thinking occurs.
    • Your blood pressure goes up as well as your heart rate
    • You might being to feel sweaty to allow your body to cool during flight.

    Adrenaline and cortisol also affect every cell in your body with each organ systems manifesting its own unique response. There are four categories:

    • Smooth muscles – control the digestion, bladder emptying, the diameter of blood vessels and lung airways.
    • Skeletal muscle – muscles used for motor function including heart muscle
    • Central nervous system – is intended to protect you and one starting point is to amplify danger signals from the environment such as pain
    • Conversion reaction – a given organ system will just shut down.

    There are over 30 symptoms that can occur with this “adrenaline bath”. They include:

    Smooth muscle

    • Migraine headaches
    • Irritable bowel
    • Spastic bladder
    • Rapid heart rate
    • Sweating
    • Pounding sensation of your heart

    Skeletal muscle

    • Back pain
    • Neck pain
    • Fibromyalgia
    • Chest pain
    • Tendonitis

    Central nervous system

    • Burning sensations throughout the body
    • Itching
    • Skin rashes
    • Insomnia
    • Extreme anxiety/ depression
    • Obsessive thought patterns
    • Tinnitus or ringing in the ears
    • Eating disorders

    Conversion reactions

    • Paralysis
    • Blindness
    • Weakness

    Dr. Bruce Lipton is a world-renowned cell biologist formerly from Stanford. He has authored several remarkable books including, The Biology of Belief and The Honeymoon Effect. My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting him and his wife. He succinctly pointed out that when he places human cells in a culture medium that contains adrenaline and cortisol that the cells shrivel. When placed in a culture dish that contains oxytocin and growth hormone they flourish. The difference is not subtle. Oxytocin is the hormone secreted at birth and is felt to be significant in a mother bonding with her infant. It is also nicknamed “the love drug.”

    He also points out the human body is essentially one big culture medium contained by skin. BTW, there are about 50 trillion cells in the body. Therefore, as adrenaline is in contact with every cell the effects are profound. The way you think does affect your body chemistry. What chemical environment do you want your cells to be exposed to on a daily basis? You do have a choice.

    Anxiety, anger, adrenaline OR awareness, forgiveness, acceptance.


    mike2014 likes this.
  2. sukie3

    sukie3 Newcomer

    How do you suggest we stop the adrenaline flood? I have had 4 days of near constant low back and sciatica this week and could use some concrete suggestions to stop the pain. Thanks.
  3. mike2014

    mike2014 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks David, a fabulous read as always.

    Best wishes,

  4. nowtimecoach

    nowtimecoach Well known member

    sukie3 - The quickest and most effective way I know to stop the adrenaline flood is to start watching my breath - as if I'm watching a movie. This switches the brain into a more conscious space. As I watch my breath, it automatically starts slowing down and deepening. We can deepen our breath consciously but I found if I get out of the way and just let my body do it naturally by observing the breath, it is more effective in calming myself down immediately.
    I totally get that it is very very difficult to do that when pain is screaming at us...but try it for 30 seconds at a time and build up to a couple of minutes. The more times you do it, the quicker the brain responds in kind. The body ultimately really wants to be relaxed and we have this natural mechanism to do just that... we just have to get our minds out of the way! Good luck!
    Barb M. and Ellen like this.

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