I was looking over a news story (really it was more of an editorial blog posting) that was blasting a drug and technique for treating Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. While the focus of my post today isn’t on PTSS, it does touch on this controversial treatment.
The issue at hand was a technique that combines a pharmaceutical that is considered an amnesiac, similar to what is administered during some surgical procedures such as colonoscopy with psychotherapy, whereby the recipient relives a severely traumatic event.
In the surgical setting, the drug renders the recipient unable to remember the procedure or the unpleasantness of it, which can be rather useful in the appropriate surgical setting.
The controversy arises because of the effect of the drug plus the talk therapy. The result is said to be that the sufferer ends up “forgetting” the traumatic event and thus eliminating all the negative physical and emotional stress that comes with the bad memories. Instead of healthy ways of working through the memories, the sufferer is aided in blocking them out.
Blocking out traumatic events is something the brain does as a defence mechanism in many cases. Sometimes, the block is permanent.
Sometimes, it isn’t. When it isn’t, and the horrible events come rushing back in, it can be quite problematic for the victim.
That is why psychiatrists and other doctors have been looking into techniques to simulate the process of eliminating bad memories.
But at what cost?
On the one hand, eliminating bad memories that serve no purpose other than to torment the victim, and offer no possibility of valuable life lessons to be learned may be worthwhile. On the other, this process adds the possibility of negative side effects from not only the drug, but also the problem of the sufferer remembering everything eventually.
But the really interesting controversy is where the limits of this treatment are pushed. Some contend it may be abused, as in the case where someone with a guilty conscience wants the treatment done so they can sleep at night.
Not being able to sleep when your conscience is heave with guilt is actually a good thing…it shows that you are not a sociopath. It is a normal, healthy reaction to understanding consequences and being able to empathize with whomever it was you may have slighted.
However, punishing oneself by suffering endless sleepless nights does no one any good. You have to be able to move on from the bad memories of whatever it was you did in effective, healthy, and natural ways so you can sleep and so your body can function optimally, without drugs and without controversial psychotherapeutic therapies.
Depending upon what the infraction is that is causing the crisis of conscience, you have a variety of means to overcoming the guilt reaction in a responsible and healthy way. Using drugs to forget about the act that is causing your guilt is not one of them. This is the problem at the heart of the controversy.
Proper treatment should not only reflect the severity of the moral gaffe, but also your own reaction to it.
Sometimes, it is simply a matter of writing yourself a letter, whereby you actually state to yourself, “I forgive you.” Be able to forgive yourself first, and then move on with reparation elsewhere. This is really effective when your problem is a simple flub, such as “why did I say that? That was so mean,” or, “I can’t believe I danced like a crazy person after drinking too much.”
For bigger moral dilemmas, you may want to join a support group or seek counselling in being able to find the best course of reparation that is healthy for everyone involved.
This also may involve making the tough choices about coming clean to someone who doesn’t know you have caused them harm in some way. This would be between you and your minister, counsellor, or lawyer.
Seeking to free yourself from guilt isn’t selfish. It is normal and healthy. It shows that you feel remorse. Being able to take the next step in making amends for it is the best way to naturally lift the weight that keeps you awake at night.
Don’t let something you did in the recent or even distant past stand in the way of good sleep. Chances are that whatever you did may be keeping someone else up at night as well and a simple “I’m sorry” would do you both good.
Tossing and turning at night may have less to do with stress and more to do with a deficiency of the essential minerals magnesium and calcium, according to a study conducted by the Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota.
These researchers tied low magnesium and calcium levels with inability to fall asleep and poor sleep quality. In particular, low levels of these minerals tended to cause the research subjects to wake during the night.
The idea that a single mineral can cure insomnia may be appealing to the millions of Americans that struggle with insomnia. However, the study authors note that studies investigating the effects of these two minerals as a treatment of insomnia are still on the way.
That doesn’t mean supplementing won’t work –the North Dakota based scientists report that people suffering from insomnia can benefit from taking magnesium and calcium together.
With the weather finally starting to make a change for the warmer and longer days of spring, many readers write in this time of year because they notice that with the longer days they have better sleep habits.
One gentleman asked a while back why it is that he feels so much better and can sleep better at night if he starts his day spending just 15 minutes outside on his porch swing just sitting in the bright morning sun.
What he noticed is something that scientists and sleep doctors have known for a long time…that pronounced periods of time spent exposed to bright light (real or artificial) contributes to better, more restorative sleep.
As the reader mentioned above asked, why is this do you suppose?
The main reason is that in order to experience the proper sleep cycles and for the optimum amount of time, several things must fall into place such as opportunity, environment, and body chemistry.
We have a good deal of control over much of these elements, such as minimizing stress, having a peaceful environment in which to sleep, and regulating our pre-sleep behaviour to optimize the success of getting to sleep and staying asleep.
However, other than eating right and eliminating the anti-sleep toxins such as caffeine and alcohol, it can be tricky trying to control the inner-workings of the glands in the brain that are the gatekeepers to restful sleep.
Melatonin is a hormone that is critical in regulating the body’s sleep and wake cycles. The production of this hormone by the pineal gland is affected by light, which is why its levels peak during the night.
It’s kind of a collection of chain links in the production of melatonin, and it starts in the eyes. Light reaching the retina is passed along the nerves to the hypothalamus, then on to the pineal gland. This impulse is what causes the production of serotonin.
This is why the sunlight on our reader’s face seemed to have so many benefits. It naturally stimulates the production of a very critical chemical that the body needs for peaceful function.
Serotonin, as many people familiar with depression disorders are acutely familiar with now, is responsible for mood, muscle recovery, sleep patterns, and other processes. This hormone is then converted to melatonin in the body.
The dance between these two chemicals is seen as a day/night partnership.
As serotonin is used during the day, melatonin is created slowly until evening time, and the melatonin starts its work. Melatonin works by making you feel drowsy and it gently sooths your body into a natural sleep cycle.
When there is an imbalance or a problem with one or both hormones, you see the problems with sleep disorders such as insomnia.
Problems can be as a result of something we do or don’t do, which is a controllable environmental issue. Examples of this would be like I mentioned above…consuming too much caffeine, drinking alcohol before bed, and even smoking. All these behaviours introduce chemicals into the body that compete with melatonin.
Problems can be also attributed to what we can’t control, such as the aging process. Even the healthiest living people will see a reduction in the amount of melatonin their bodies will produce. This is a natural deficiency that occurs with many seniors.
Likewise, not getting proper sleep can affect how well glands in the body function, such as with the pineal gland not producing enough serotonin. Thus the cycle begins to turn in a different direction and the dance of hormones becomes more of a mosh pit.
Phototherapy, as it is also called, has been used for many years to treat a variety of conditions, and has a tremendous body of evidence to support its use in treating the insomnia and depression that occurs as a result of these deficiencies.
It is administered first thing in the natural waking cycle, which, for most is first thing in the morning. However, as with those who do shift work or are stuck on a submarine for months at a time, it can be administered at any time as long as it’s the same time each 24-hour cycle to simulate the normal wake/sleep patterns of most people.
This stimulates the natural production of serotonin, which leads to a natural use and conversion to melatonin. Once the body has been treated in this way for even just a few days, it has shown to be very effective at improving the restful nature of a disrupted sleep pattern.
Therapy can range from a few minutes in a tanning bed (not recommended due to UV dangers) to portable lights that sit on the desktop to just a simple break in the morning on a porch swing.
Desk top lights range in the $150-$300 range but are widely available on the Internet and are safer than UV-A and UV-B-packed tanning beds and sunshine. They can also be used any time of year and the weather doesn’t matter…just plug it in and sit for a few minutes.
However, sunlight is a little more on the “free” side and while it depends largely upon the season and also whether or not you are having clouds and rain, it can be tremendously beneficial in stimulating the serotonin and also valuable vitamin D.
This post is from The Cure Insomnia and Stop Snoring Program offers a revolutionary new approach to help people stop snoring. Snoring is not only disruptive to our partners, but it poses health risks as well, especially for those folks who suffer from sleep apnea.
Christian Goodman, the creator of the program, has discovered that a selection of specific exercises can actually correct the issues that lead to excessive snoring, and help snorers and their bed mates get a better night’s sleep.
The program will allow you to shake your pesky and unhealthy snoring habit using only easy to perform natural exercises. No drugs, surgery, funky contraptions to sleep with, hypnosis or any other invasive techniques. If you can spend 7 minutes per day performing these exercises you can say goodbye to snoring for good.
To find out more about this program, click on Relieving Insomnia Naturally Without Drugs
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