Drawing on work by neuro-scientist Dr Joe Dispenza, PTSD comes into focus today.
In Dr Joe’s works, he details how he describes the brains response to external events in life. In brief, he writes that when an event occurs externally, our brains respond to this event and a chemical state is generated in the brain and that chemical state in the brain correlates to a chemical state which is generated in the body. Thus creating a neurological and bodily state which when stored as a memory, represents a record of the event linked to an emotional response that event created.
This goes a ways to explaining how, when we think back on traumatic events, the event is somehow re-lived in our minds and felt in our bodies. In fact, Dr Joe advocates that the brain, at least chemically, doesn’t know the difference, and hence triggers the emotional state originally associated with the event.
In cases of trauma or other extreme emotional imprints of past events this can be considerable resulting in the reliving and reliving of past traumatic events along with all the emotional chemical states and feelings that go with the record of the event in the brain. Dr Joe goes on to explain that in his opinion, this begins to create habitual thinking not in our best interest. He presents methods such as meditation to help break this cycle. Those interested can read more in his book “Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself”. He regards destructive habitual thinking along the same lines as emotional addiction.
For the purposes of this discussion however, it’s the initial brain response to an event that is of interest. It is well established that a myriad chemical reactions are occurring in the brain on a constant basis. Re-actions to external actions. The intensity of these chemical reactions to external stimuli instigate various levels of reactions in the body including but not limited to, cortisol release, adrenalin release and so on. Events interpreted as a threat to survival trigger a fight or flight response. Events which shock or incite horror result in similar recoil responses.
It is fast becoming a popular topic of research, and links between this chemical state induced at the time of an event are being increasingly scrutinised as the potential cause of physical damage to brain cells brought about by a hostile chemical environment in the various brain centers.
If the chemical response in the brain is severe enough during an extreme enough event, it is reasonable to hypothesise that such chemical state can physically damage the brain at the microscopic level resulting in presentations such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, rage, guilt and so on. Essentially amounting to a chemical over reaction to an abnormally stressful or horrific event. Not entirely dissimilar to a mild traumatic brain injury on a cellular level, just on a more microscopic scale.
Current imaging technology is unable to identify this level of injury, however MRI will show bright spots and changes in circulation in the brain and studies show positive changes in this blood flow and brain activity following HBOT. Single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) is particularly useful in highlighting these changes and activity in the brain as demonstrated by Professor Shai Efrati and others on brain research after administration of HBOT.
For police, military, front line medical staff, child protection officers or indeed anyone facing unusually traumatic imagery and events on a daily basis, this could well go some way to explaining the onset of post traumatic stress and the conditions thought to be associated with it.
Instead of being regarded solely a psychological or psychiatric condition of the mind, it is reasonable to consider PTSD a state of mind brought about by chemical states in the brain which have caused intra- cellular damage. After all, science tells us mind is a product of brain.
As we have covered previously, HBOT is a good therapy for wound healing and accelerated healing in a variety of conditions. At the cellular level, injury is injury. There is little difference between a brain cell injury or any other type of cell in as far as the injury is concerned. It all comes back to cellular respiration, oxidative metabolism and the use of energy together with new cells to repair the damage. The link below directs to further links to articles and studies conducted on a variety of brain injury conditions. If the hypothesis holds true that PTSD is a microscopic brain injury, it follows that the treatment should be similar. http://www.assafh.org/sites/en/clinic/Hifrbaric/Pages/Brain.aspx
As Prof Shai puts it, (paraphrased):
Three things are required to repair or replace a damaged cell. A trigger, IE the hypoxia response which we discussed in the article ALTITUDE, THE HYPEROXIC HYPOXIA PARADOX, AND THE COMMON SENSE PARADOX, and it is certainly up-regulated following HBOT.
We need new cells which we also discussed in STEM CELL MOBILISATION AND HBOT: CASE STUDY It is established by peer review that HBOT up-regulates the release of stem cells.
Then we also need new blood supply. Also known as neovascularisation which we discussed in the article on altitude cited above when we discussed the hypoxia inducible factor one alpha master gene.
All three of these requirements are stimulated and up-regulated by hyperbaric oxygenation. Cells are able to repair themselves or be replaced by new cells and blood supply is restored to those cells that need it. It follows then that any condition consequential to the original cellular damage would resolve, if not entirely, then certainly to a measurable degree.
In the U.S.A. HBOT is now routinely used for veterans suffering from PTSD. It is recognised by insurance companies as well as state health care to be beneficial and instrumental in recovery. In the video embed below, veteran Dave Rogers discusses his experiences with PTSD and HBOT.
References on this topic are available at the end of the overview document which can be downloaded from the download and resources page. There is also further information on the links between fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, PTSD and fatigue from page 72. https://cumbria-hyperbaric.org/files-and-resources-download/