Panic Attack Information

Panic attacks are real and they do account for over 20% of all emergency room visits. If you have never had one yourself it is difficult to describe and from the outside looking in they are hard to believe. But for the person having one, it is all too real.

It was in 1980 when the medical community gave this episode the name “Panic Attack.” Panic attacks are part of the anxiety family and are treated by most physicians with the same pharmaceuticals that they use for anxiety.

Panic Attacks and anxiety in general is like a boiling over effect. The onset of an attack usually starts with a feeling of uneasiness. You just don’t feel normal and you become sensitive to your environment. Your sense of smell, taste, touch, sound, and sight is heightened as your heart begins to race. Your attack is coming on now; you feel it and you can’t do anything about it. As the attack begins you probably have one or more of the following feelings:

• A sense of impending death
• Sweating
• Shortness of Breath
• Tightness in your throat
• Hyperventilation
• Faintness Trembling Chills
• Dizziness
• Hot Flashes
• Nausea
• Headache
• Chest Pain
• Abdominal Cramping

At the end of your attack you are wiped out. You feel fatigue and worn out but most of all you are worried about going through another one at any time. Your behavior at home begins to change as well as work or with your family. You probably think you are going crazy or having a heart attack.

Treatments for panic attacks vary from doctor to doctor. However, most medications used act on the central nervous system to reduce anxiety and related symptoms.

Anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, and cognitive behavioral therapy (working with a therapist) have been successfully used to treat panic disorders. The following medication classes have been useful:

• Benzodiazepines: anti-anxiety medications that include aprolazam (Xanax). These drugs are very easy to become dependent on or addicted to in this class of medications. Usually used only on a temporary basis.
• Antidepressants: known as SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are the most commonly used medications for panic disorder. They include fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), fluvoxamine (Luvox), cetalopram (Celexa), and escitalopram (Lexapro).
• Monoaxmine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI’s): such as phnelzine (Nardil) tranylcypramine (Parnate), and isocarboxazid (Marplan) are only used when none of the other drugs work. MAOI’s are the most effective medications for panic disorder, but they have serious side effects and they can interact with other drugs and foods.

Behavioral treatment appears to have long-lasting benefits.
Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and regularly scheduled meals may help reduce the frequency of the attacks. Reduce or avoid the use of caffeine and other stimulants.

Some doctors may prescribe cognitive-behavioral therapy. Usually this is for those patients that have had some sort of trauma in their life that may be triggering the attacks. This therapy may also include mental imagery and relaxation techniques. Behavioral therapy appears to have long lasting results.

Genetics may play a role in the cause of panic attacks, however the exact cause is unknown. It is known that panic disorders are twice as common in women as in men. The onset of symptoms usually begins after the age of 25 with symptoms being very rare in children.

A full battery of test is run mainly to rule out any other potential illness. If you have had an attack or have come close to one be sure and see your physician as soon as possible. Treatments are available and with the proper diagnosis you should be able to get your life back to normal.

Therapy Homework Ideas For Dissociative Trauma Survivors – Collage As a Way of Communicating

Creating a collage is another way of allowing your internal dissociative system parts to tell more about themselves.

Pictures can be a powerful way of communicating. And a collage – a collection of pictures – can tell a lifetime of stories.

Most dissociative trauma survivors were repeatedly told by their abusers, “Do not tell”. Violence, threats, abuse, and pain often accompanied these rules. How many times did you hear “don’t say anything to anyone” or “don’t talk about this” or “you better stay quiet”? All of those directives involve restrictions on being able to talk. Years later, even in the safety of therapy, the intimidation of the no-talk rules can still feel as powerful and real as ever.

One important aspect of DID/MPD healing and therapy is learning to work around the negative, confining rules and those scary points that keep people stuck. If some of your parts are too scared to tell what happened, maybe they could show what happened instead. Pictures can be a way of communicating when talking is a hindrance.

A picture paints a thousand words!

Sometimes writing is too complicated and can also be “against the rules,” especially in the early days of treatment for Dissociative Disorders. Thinking creatively, you can work around these rules too. Typing, for example, is actually different from writing. Cutting out printed words is also different from writing. Using stencils, stickers, and rubber stamps are also ways to show wording without having to write.

Collage allows the artist to show a mixture of pictures and words to tell stories without officially breaking no-talk and no-write rules. Collages can be made with a specific topic in mind, or they can be another useful format for the system descriptions.

To create your collage, use a variety of magazines, newspapers, advertisements, and telephone books, etc. Look through these printed materials and cut or tear out any picture, word, or phrase that seems relevant.

If you are sufficiently computer savvy, you can also create a collage from computer pictures using a variety of computer programs. The web certainly has a wide variety of images, websites, and programs available for collage purposes. If you can copy-paste and arrange pictures on document pages, you can create an incredible collage without so much as lifting a piece of paper.

Let your internal system help pick out these pictures and words, and pay close attention to their interest in selecting pictures, even if you are not sure why they want that particular one. It is very important to not edit or limit the choices of pictures made by your insiders – let them pick whatever pictures they relate to. Each of your parts will have their own things to say, and everyone inside will relate to pictures in a very different way.

Don’t be alarmed or hesitant if you don’t understand why some of the pictures are selected. Chances are, you won’t understand the meaning of all the items picked. That’s OK – that means your insiders are getting ready to tell more about life from their own perspective. Be open to this new information – getting new communication is a big part of why this exercise is helpful. Besides, as you get to know the insiders that selected those pictures, and as the time is right, they will tell you the relevance and meaning of all their selections. If your insiders are picking pictures they relate to, they are completing the assignment, and that is a good thing. Don’t interfere!

Even though you might want to know why the various collage pictures are being selected, be very careful not to push your insiders to talk about everything at once. Not only will that put the others on the spot, and potentially chase them away from the assignment, but you could also easily overload and overwhelm yourself if you start demanding explanations for every picture or phrase that is selected. Select the pictures from a comfortable emotional distance and save the “talking time” for later. There will be plenty enough time on different days for your system members to explain their choices to you.

If you find that lots of your parts are doing this exercise at once, you can either make different piles for the pictures that belong to different folks, or just cut out everything you see and separate the piles of pictures into themes at a later point. I have known people to be working on dozens of tiny collages all at the same time. I have also known people to assemble gigantic collages on huge poster boards. Use whatever style works for best for you! The important point is that your parts are creatively showing you what has deep meaning for them.

The purpose of the collage is to provide another way to tell without telling. Using groupings of pictures and cut out words or phrases can help to say things that you are not allowed to say directly. Any form of expression is helpful in the therapeutic process, even if some of it stays unclear for a long while.

Another added benefit to this exercise is that you will get to know your DID/MPD system parts better. You might recognize patterns for who leans towards what type of pictures. You might hear a new voice that you don’t recognize insisting on a picture that has absolutely no relevance to you.

Collage work can help with the processing of traumatic memories. You might see entire story-lines displayed right in front of you in the groupings of magazine pictures. You might develop a greater awareness for who in your system dealt with what types of abusive situations.

Tending to everyone, listening, and allowing everyone in your system to have an unedited say in picture selection is important. As with any exercise that includes your whole dissociative system, it can lead to greater trust, system cooperation, and internal connection.

Human Energy Information in the Aura, Chakras, and Acupuncture Meridians

The Main Components of Energy

Oriental Medicine textbooks talk about Qi as the fundamental energy in the universe. It’s also called Ki, Chi, Prana, and Manna in other cultures, and it’s even been popularized in science fiction books and movies. Whatever the name, this building block consists of two main components. The first component is power. Qi became popular in western countries as a result of oriental martial arts… and, after all, martial arts are all about power. Second, and more important, is information. Really, this is the most important component, and the way to understand it is to think of a television signal.

A TV signal may be sent to a TV from a variety of different sources. A broadcast signal, a cable signal, and a DVD player are all examples of different signal sources. On the one hand a broadcast signal has a large amount of power. In some cases it has thousands and thousands of watts. On the other hand a cable signal is very weak, thousandths of a watt. The transmission media determines the strength of the signal, but has nothing to do with the picture and sound that you really want to see. That is the information in the signal, and it’s the same no matter what the power or medium. The information component of Qi is extremely important, because it is that informational part that allows Qi to manifest as rocks, fish, flowers, dogs, cats, and people. You can think of our universe as a giant three dimensional TV set that plays the networks of information in the Qi.

The pictures of the human energy field are remarkably similar from culture to culture… and the idea described here is, for the most part, widely agreed to. As with the name Qi, the different portions of the energy field are called different things, but the notions are the same. At the most subtle level, human beings are connected to the universe by limitless energetic filaments. In yoga these filaments are called the nadis. The nadis are literally our information bond to the galaxies. People are in a state of constant communication back and forth with the universe through the nadis… and actually, each person is fundamentally the same as the universe. They are more like whirlpools in water. The illusion is that they have totally independent existence, but they are actually made of the same stuff as the water. In the same way we are all made from the same stuff as the universe. From a modern physics frame of reference, at this subtle level people are constantly exchanging sub-atomic particles with each other, the world, and the universe.

The mental energy body represents energetic information at a somewhat denser level. The mental body can be detected at the greatest distance from the gross physical body. It’s the reality that arises from the thoughts within your mind. This is not a commonly known theory, but it is best articulated in the Buddhist notion of the mind as being another organ of perception. Your eyes see the photons emitted by an object, but it’s really just a collection of neurological impulses. It’s the mind that puts these impulses together. It says… this is round, three dimensional, and it bounces. It must be a “Ball”. A little self reflection will show you how powerful the mental body really is at shaping our world. In fact, we exist in a world of mental abstractions. Take the notion of “bravery” for example. This is a very influential idea yet it is entirely abstract. There is nothing we can hold and say, “This is a bravery.” the same way that we can grasp a spoon and say “This is a spoon.” Yet consider the human emotion and effort that has been tied to the idea of bravery. People have been killed because they were not brave enough or sacrificed their lives in the name of bravery.

At a little denser level is the emotional body. As the name suggests, this is the region in which the emotions hang out. The emotional body can be detected a little closer to the physical body. That needs some explanation. The nature of computer screens and paper diagrams is that these different components of the human energy field look like layers of an onion. That really isn’t the case. They all go all the way into the body, but the less dense they are, the further they extend out from the body. So, the emotional body doesn’t extend out as far as the mental body, and the mental body doesn’t extend out as far as the nadis. Yet, they all permeate the physical body.

The physical energetic body is energy at a still denser plane of existence. The best way to think of this part of the energy field is as an energetic mold for the actual physical body. You can imagine the actual physical body as being poured into this energetic body like plaster being poured into a mold.

And, finally, at the most dense level is the actual physical body itself. Just like the subtle strings, quarks, and leptons become denser and denser to form matter, the subtlest energy of the nadis descends into grosser and grosser forms to become physical bodies. Now consider for a moment that the western medical point of view is that matter, DNA and the body comes first and any energy like that detected by an EKG or EEG comes from the body. This is really the opposite viewpoint.

Subtle Energy Rules Over Dense Energy

It’s critically important to understand that when it comes to Qi, Subtle Energy Rules. The fact is that strong emotions can have adverse effects on the human body itself and can be an important factor in disease. In the same way, mental distortions like those found in what is called schizophrenia can impact the emotions and the physical body.

What is it that makes quarks and electrons and protons and other multi-dimensional vibrational constituents of the universe figure out how to become boulders, trees, trains, and people? That brings us back to the information component of energy. The thing that makes you manifest the physical body you have manifested is the informational component of the Qi manifesting through the nadis, the mental body, the emotional body, the physical energy body, and the physical body. You tune in to the network of your own universal blueprint. So in a very real sense, the energetic information is the precursor to the genetic code. The human energy field is a unified system for processing that information.

The chakras select specific characteristics of information and act as the central circulation point for that type of information. For example, the heart chakra processes and disseminates information related to emotions and the sixth chakra works with and distributes information relation to the mind. Each chakra functions in all the energy bodies, so, for example, the navel chakra distributes information related to ideas about personal desires, emotions about desired things, and information related to the physical kidneys. Oriental Medicine relates the physical heart and the heart meridian to the emotion of joy. Joy related information is processed and distributed by the heart chakra. At the mental body level, the heart chakra processes information concerning ideas like “playing with a puppy is joyful.” At the emotional level, the heart chakra processes the happiness when you touch or even think of a puppy. On the physical level, the heart chakra moves the right information into the heart meridian and produces physical reactions like increased heart rate when you see a puppy. Each chakra focuses on specific types of information. You can think of that as different channels on a TV set. Even so, the chakras are interconnected into the shushumna channel, which is the main energetic information conduit in the body.

Acupuncture Meridians

The acupressure meridians reside in the physical energy body. The extraordinary meridians are often called vessels. They supply energy to the main meridian rivers of energy as needed. When considered from an information point of view, they are buffers for the energetic information. Specifically, they are a holding area for the information between the shushumna and chakra system and the main acupuncture meridians. Returning to the TV metaphor, the chakras tune in to the right channel for specific physical organs, they route the energy and store it in the extraordinary meridians, and the extraordinary meridians provide it in usable forms to the twelve main meridians as needed. In that way, each part of the physical body gets the specific instructions it needs to do its job correctly.

The accepted viewpoint of Chinese Medicine is that the flow of energy in the meridians can be insufficient, too strong, blocked, or reversed. That is what causes disease and physical ailments. That takes a strictly force point of view about energy. When considering the information that the energy contains, the information can be received, not received, or distorted. Healthy energy would correspond to information received. Too weak and blocked would correspond to information not received. Too strong and reversed energy would refer to information distorted. The information theory of disease is that illness manifests when the correct information is not received. In other words, for an organ to work correctly it must receive the correct instructions.

Viewing human energy from an informational instead of a force point of view may appear to be a subtle difference, but it allows alternative healthcare professionals to recognize ailments in both traditional and new ways. Information that is received or not received fits nicely with both traditional acupuncture and chakra balancing. In those modalities, the problem is seen as the imbalance in the amount of energy and the healing task is to bring everything into a state of balance so that everything is receiving exactly the proper amount of information that it should receive.

Disease Is Distorted Information

The intriguing improved insight in the informational point of view comes from the idea of distorted information. There really is no similar concept in either acupuncture or chakra balancing. The idea is that the flow of energy is correct, but the information that it brings is somehow distorted. That means that an organ may be receiving the proper amount of energy, but the instructions it is receiving are somehow erroneous. That causes the organ to function irregularly. The information distortion notion applies anywhere in the entire energy field and the implication is that it can lead to an effective treatment strategy for problems ranging from mental illness to stress to emotional trauma. For example, consider a young child that has witnessed an extremely traumatic event like the death of a sibling. Oriental Medicine associates grief with the lung meridian. So, you might see bronchitis or another lung illness developing in the child. The Chinese Medicine treatment methodology would most likely be to improve the energy flow in the weakened lung meridian. Yet the child might develop other lung ailments or emotional or mental problems. Somehow the Chinese approach is limited.

Viewing the traumatic event from an informational point of view would result in the observation that such an event might leave a permanently distorting injury anywhere in the child’s human energy field. For example, it might be in the emotional energy body. Energetic information that flows from the mental energy body would be corrupted in the emotional body and the instructions flowing into the physical energy body would be distorted and incorrect. That means the extraordinary and main meridians would transmit distorted instructions to the physical organs including the lungs. The informational point of view might seem like a small difference, but it has significant treatment implications. Instead of treating the amount of energy flowing to the lungs or, worse yet, treating the lungs with medications, the most effective treatment is to remove the effect of the distorting injury, called an impact event, from the emotional energy body. Unless that impact event is effectively negated, the child would continue to experience different physical, emotional, or mental symptoms throughout life.

The human energy field can be thought of as an incredibly sophisticated information processing system and provides a framework for an energetic theory that unifies the human aura, the chakras, and the acupuncture meridians.