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Daniel L. TMS and alcoholism

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by Guest, Aug 6, 2015.

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    Question
    How does alcoholism tie in with TMS? I have an alcohol problem and have been experiencing stomach chest pains knee pains could I have TMS? What should I do next?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2015
  2. Daniel G Lyman LCSW

    Daniel G Lyman LCSW TMS Therapist

    Answer
    Let me start by saying that I’ve worked with many people who are in recovery from alcoholism, and the similarities with TMS are numerous.

    Alcoholism and TMS intersect in a couple of different ways. The easiest way to understand TMS from an alcoholism perspective is to find the common thread: addiction.

    Alcoholics, obviously, are addicted to alcohol. This stems from both a psychological and learned physical dependency.

    TMS people, perhaps not as obviously, are addicted to fear. This also stems from both a psychological a physical dependency.

    In both cases, the addict craves (both consciously and unconsciously) more of what they should not be having. When an alcoholic has a drink, they are encouraging a pattern of avoiding their feelings and continuing the physical dependency. When a TMS person allows themselves to become afraid, the body responds the same way.

    TMS people are addicted to fear. Not just the fear of pain, but fear in all aspects of our lives. When you become afraid your brain releases stress hormones (cortisol, etc.), which help to extinguish your emotional reaction to whatever is happening around you. Having an emotional reaction when you are afraid is not evolutionarily useful, so there is good reason for the brain to do this. This is why TMS people say that your pain is just a distraction. Inevitably your pain causes fear and in turn trains your brain not to pay attention to your emotions, but instead continue to release stress hormones.

    The only way to break the cycle, in both cases, is to first become aware of the addiction. Next, work to be aware of your feelings and to train your brain that in the face of the addictive substance (whether it be alcohol or fear), you can talk yourself through indulging in the temptation.

    To answer your second and third questions specifically, it’s important that you go to a doctor to make sure that these pains aren’t anything structural. I don’t know what’s going on with you without any further information. A good place to start getting that information is your primary care physician. Once you’ve ruled out anything structural, then you’ll have a better idea of whether or not this is TMS.


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    The general advice and information provided in this format is for informational purposes only and cannot serve as a way to screen for, identify, or diagnose depression, anxiety, or other psychological conditions. If you feel you may be suffering from any of these conditions please contact a licensed mental health practitioner for an in-person consultation.

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