Trauma with Dr. Eric Gentry

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Summary

Understanding Trauma and PTSD with Dr. Eric Gentry

  • Trauma is no longer solely defined by specific events such as combat or natural disasters.

  • Only 7-9% of people who experience traumatic events develop PTSD.

  • PTSD is the perception of threat where there is little or no danger.

  • PTSD is caused by the encoding of sensory memories during a traumatic event.

  • The amygdala charges sensory memories with energy, causing future similar situations to trigger the perception of threat.

  • Witnessing a traumatic event can also result in PTSD.

  • Our bodies respond to perceived threat in the same way animals do.

  • Traumatized individuals can become paralyzed in a state of threat response, called paramedic association.

  • Using the energy of a threat response to resolve the threat can prevent trauma.

  • Treatment that assumes someone is traumatized when they are not can cause treatment-induced illness.

  • Trauma-focused debriefings have been found to make people worse.

  • The purpose of energy from a threat response is to safely interact with the environment and resolve the threat.Understanding the Link Between Perceived Threat and Chronic Stress

  • Television shows and movies featuring parking garages as a scene of danger can contribute to our perception of them as threats.

  • Many of us perceive threats in our daily lives, even if there is little or no danger present.

  • All stress is painful past learning intruding into our present perception, causing us to perceive threat and activating our body's energy response.

  • Chronic stress can lead to symptoms, impulsive and compulsive behavior, and acting against our will.

  • The idea of "anxiety" as a mental health issue is outdated and unhelpful.

  • Work, relationships, finances, and other stressors are not inherently stressful, but can trigger painful past learning and activate our threat response.

  • Interrupting the threat response in our body can lead to a state of well-being and comfort, even after just one second.

  • It is possible to restore quality of life and well-being without spending months in therapy.

  • Recognizing that it is not the external stressor, but rather our internal response to it that causes distress, can open up a pathway of healing.

  • Relaxing our muscles intentionally can make it physiologically impossible to experience stress in the body.

  • Understanding the link between perceived threat and chronic stress can provide a new perspective on situations that cause emotional or physical pain or fear.

  • By interrupting the threat response and restoring a state of well-being, we can experience hope and excitement about the possibility of healing.

Healing Trauma by Focusing on the Present

  • The simplest way to know if you're having a threat response is to check if any muscles in your body are involuntarily constricted.

  • The focus should be on resolving trauma in the present instead of delving into past experiences.

  • The autonomic nervous system is crucial in healing trauma.

  • The trauma healing process involves living an intentional life and confronting situations that previously caused fear.

  • Exposure paired with relaxation, also known as reciprocal inhibition, is the evidence-based method for healing trauma.

  • Trauma survivors are not sick but are in the upper 5% of resilient people on the planet.

  • Childhood experiences can affect lifespan, with a difference of up to 20 years between those with an ACE score of 0 and those with six or more.

  • Children have survived inadequate parenting for centuries, and we haven't learned how to raise children without hurting them.

  • Self-defense strategies developed by trauma survivors are constantly being activated because they perceive threat everywhere.

  • Helping trauma survivors to attenuate their autonomic nervous system to the real level of danger encountered in daily life can alleviate symptoms.

  • Attaining a relaxed state is crucial to healing from stress, including traumatic stress.

  • The healing process involves creating a vision, personal mission statement, and code of honor to live an intentional life.Tips for Supporting Individuals with PTSD

  • The focus of supporting individuals with PTSD should be on teaching them new skills, such as relaxation and mindfulness.

  • Being in a relaxed body is the single most important competency for mental health professionals working with trauma survivors.

  • Co-regulation is a phenomenon that occurs in every relationship, where one person's nervous system influences the other's.

  • Individuals who have experienced trauma are constantly in a threat response, so being around someone who is relaxed can help lessen their response.

  • Environmental traumatization can occur in toxic work environments where others are anxious or perceiving threats.

  • Aphrodite Matsakis and Vietnam wives were among the first to articulate the concept of code traumatization in loved ones of combat veterans.

  • Mere neurons, specialized brain cells, produce species-specific empathy and help humans learn by watching others.

  • The polyvagal theory, developed by Steven Porges, emphasizes the importance of staying in a relaxed body to influence others' nervous systems downward.

  • By staying in a relaxed body, mental health professionals can prevent secondary traumatic stress from encoding trauma stories.

  • Learning and practicing being in a relaxed body is the most important thing a loved one of someone with PTSD can do to support them.

  • Interrupting the threat response mechanically and physiologically is necessary to build a relationship with one's body and prevent secondary traumatic stress.

  • Being in a relaxed body helps individuals become part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

Managing PTSD: Techniques for Relaxation and Finding Meaning

  • Neuropeptide and interoception are two techniques that can help manage PTSD.
  • Neuropeptide is the ability to detect safety in the environment.
  • Interoception is body awareness, which is important because most of our threat response happens through physiological responses that we are not aware of.
  • There are two circuits of threat response: the High Road, which goes through the frontal lobe, and the Low Road, which goes immediately from the mid-brain to the body.
  • Most humans experience threat response through the Low Road, which means that they have physiological responses that they are not aware of, making it difficult to interrupt the response.
  • Relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation can help manage PTSD, but they are not the same as the ongoing process of staying in the moment and monitoring and intervening with the body all day long.
  • Widening the space between stimulus and response is key to becoming who you choose to be instead of what your painful past experiences have programmed you to be.
  • Victor Frankel's quote, "Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies both our growth and our freedom," has defined the speaker's life's purpose.
  • Musician Christian Saint Hilaire, who goes by the name Riff Through Time, is a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces who turned to music to escape depression.
  • Riff Through Time's music ranges from soft to heavy rock with influences from the 70s to the 90s.
  • Hilaire's music ended up being a double-edged sword, as he found himself heavily crushed by his own unrealistic expectations after releasing his third album.
  • Hilaire's new album is scheduled for release before the end of 2021, and he presented one of his songs about PTSD, "It Screams at Me," in the podcast.

Description

Test your knowledge on trauma and PTSD with Dr. Eric Gentry or learn about the link between perceived threat and chronic stress with this insightful quiz. From understanding the causes of trauma and PTSD to learning how to interrupt the body's threat response, this quiz will help you gain a deeper understanding of these important topics. Keywords: trauma, PTSD, chronic stress, perceived threat, threat response, well-being, healing.

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