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Re: And another thing... Ilene

Posted by Pfinstegg on August 12, 2004, at 3:17:02

In reply to And another thing..., posted by Ilene on August 11, 2004, at 18:21:14

This is true. Since I noticed my name, I thought I'd like to chime in. When you do have sufficient childhood abuse so that your cortisol levels are elevated, your brain is going to change- become abnormal- and you are going to be much more susceptible to depression and over-reactivity to stress. It's painful to realize that- that something bad enough was done to you when you were an innocent child looking for love and safety that your brain has literally been damaged. I feel so sad that this happened to me- as everyone does here in varying degrees depending on their own circumstances.

But still, there is a LOT we can do to get our brains back more towards normal. The AD's that we presently have are not all that great (probably we'll have much better ones in ten years which can really restore our brains), The AD's, some more than others, do normalize our neurotransmitter levels to an extent, and do help our brains regrow neurons damaged by cortisol and other chemical present in excess when we have overactive HPA axes. There are definitely studies showing that long term psychotherapy- particularly the kind where the relationship between client and therapist is given the most importance- does help our brains become more normal physiologically. I can't find them right now, but I'll try to soon. Now that functional MRIs and other new imaging studies are coming into use, they show how much a combination of therapy and medication can help- they aren't used routinely, as they are so expensive- and more of a research tool at present, but I think we're going to learn a lot from them in the next few years. My depression was so severe a year and a half ago (and all my cortisol tests so abnormal), that I sought out TMS. That treatment really normalized the cortisol findings for a few months at a time; now, I am enough better that I'm not doing it, but I would if I have a bad relapse. TMS is being studied very intensively right now, with the goal of getting it FDA-approved by 2005. Like everything else, it doesn't work for everyone, but I think it's going to be very valuable for lots of people. I never feel so well as I do in the three or four weeks following TMS. I just KNOW that my cortisol is normal, because I feel so calm and can handle stress so much better. And, even though my endocrinologist doesn't really want to test it, I pressure him into it- and it IS normal- temporarily.

I am trying to learn as much as I can about what is wrong in the brains of people with PTSD, and how to make it better. Sometimes, you just need everything- good therapy, medications, and perhaps something like TMS. I don't think we should underestimate the power of therapy to help make our brains more normal- it may be the most pwerful modality of all, though it's certainly not the quickest! I can't help thinking that there couldn't be a board like PB Psychology if we all didn't instinctively realize what power for healthy change therapy has in our lives. Everyone cares so much, and feels so badly, when there is a rupture in the connection to our therapists- and so relieved and happy when we are able to repair it. It seems to be our most essential topic here, doesn't it?




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