By Sarah A LoBisco, ND
I discussed on my homepage blog this week the effects of chronic fear on our mental, emotional, and societal health. Specifically, media, medicine, and marketing techniques aiming to increase sales by scare tactics are creating a pervasive new dis-ease of the brain causing our population to operate in a survival vs. thriving mode.
This chronic stress response inactivates access to the executive functioning of the prefrontal cortex and creates the release of biochemical mediators running amuck in their organs and mental functioning systems. Left unenlightened or empowered by how to re-mediate it, we are at risk for more and more diseases and societal violence, as evidenced by recent events.
One cannot ignore how this fear is trickling down into the mental health of our young generations. There is good news though; parents have the ability to stop this dis-ease process even before their child is born! My goal is to provide you all with information and healthy tactics to trump the dis-empowering ones.
I spoke in previous blogs about the health consequences of various prenatal environmental exposures and mom’s dietary choices on baby’s immune system and overall disease risk. These physical aspects are important in promoting children’s health after they are born, but perhaps more powerful is the effect of nurturing and exposure to trauma and violence in early life.
These physical predispositions set up at birth are intermingling with heightened fear responses that, in my opinion, are perpetuating the mental and emotional disease outbreak in our youth.
As mentioned, anxious response means rash decisions and unbalanced brains in very early developing brains. The result is a sicker and sicker society.
According to the article, Abnormal Is the New Normal: Why will half of the U.S. population have a diagnosable mental disorder?:
Second, we really are getting “sicker.” The high prevalence of mental illness in the United States isn’t only because we’ve gotten better at detecting mental illness. More of us are mentally ill than in previous generations, and our mental illness is manifesting at earlier points in our lives. One study supporting this explanation took the scores on a measure of anxiety of children with psychological problems in 1957 and compared them with the scores of today’s average child. Today’s children–not specifically those identified as having psychological problems, as were the 1957 children–are more anxious than those in previous generations.
Dr. Northrup frequently discusses the environmental effect of children born to moms who are bathing their newborns nervous system with stress hormones from their own inability to modulate fear. She notes that when mom is calm, a surge in oxytocin and dopamine results and the baby will feel safe and protected. However, if it is exposed to constant surges of cortisol and other biochemical toxic stress chemicals, the nervous tone of that child is a predisposition to be over-responsive, nervous, and addicted.
Therefore, as moms and dad are being cognizant of diet, exercise, and sleep, stress response and parenting styles need to be considered as just as important. Dr. Gabor discussed this connection of childhood trauma and addiction patterns. In his recent article in the Journal of Restorative Medicine, he explains:
Early trauma has consequences for how human beings respond to stress. Trauma in children, such as sexual, physical or emotional abuse or abandonment alter the child’s physical stress mechanisms and, as a result, the child is more reactive to stress throughout their adult life. Studies of drug addicts find high percentages patients have experienced childhood trauma of various sorts, including physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
The three dominant brain systems in all addictions–the opioid attachment-reward system, the dopamine-based incentive-motivation apparatus and the self-regulation areas of the prefrontal cortex–are all exquisitely fine-tuned by the environment. To various degrees, in all addicted persons these systems are not functioning properly
Accordingly, this article explores the relationship between childhood emotional loss or trauma and addiction, demonstrating a fourth brain-body system implicated in addiction: the stress-response mechanism.
In my upcoming blogs, on this site and my homepage, I will be discussing in more detail the changes in brain patterns that result from this fearful and traumatized society in our children. Finally, I will give tools and techniques in mind-body medicine to calm our bodies and brains down and allow us to make choices from a mammalian brain perspective vs. a reptilian survival instinct.
Can you imagine the implications this would have on our children?
What are your thoughts on this topic?
I’d like to hear from you.
Stay tuned for the next installments and be sure not to miss this important topic by subscribing to my blog.
April 29, 2013 Life’s Operating Manual with Tom Shadyac. I Can Do It Hour. hayhouseradio.com April 29, 2013.
Robin S. Rosenberg. Abnormal Is the New Normal: Why will half of the U.S. population have a diagnosable mental disorder? Slate: Medical Examiner. April 12, 2013.
Dr. Northrup. Yikes! I’m Becoming My Mother. Flourish. hayhouseradio.com. (Streaming Radio) May 1, 2013.
Mate’, Gabor. Addiction: Childhood Trauma, Stress and the Biology of Addiction. Apr 29, 2013. Journal of Restorative Medicine.
Amen, D. Amen Clinic’s. The Science: Violence Research. Amen Clinics. 2013 copyrighted. http://www.amenclinics.com/amen-home/ 25-the-science/research-tables/57-violence-research
Hyman, M. Why Friendship Can Save Your Life. Drhyman.com. May 2, 2013. http://drhyman.com/blog/2013/05/03/why-friendship-can-save-your-life/#close