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FEAR! The Root Cause

Discussion in 'General' started by John_R, Oct 17, 2007.

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  1. John_R

    John_R Member

    I wanted to write about my thoughts concerning my PTSD, it’s effects and what I feel might be helpful to other suffers and their families. I’m not a Doctor, or scientist. In fact, what I share here might be completely unscientific.


    While doing some research about my PTSD I’ve run across lists of symptoms that I suffer from. I’ve done a great deal of soul searching in an attempt to get to the root emotions. For example, anger is a major symptom for me, but I started to wonder if anger was the root emotion, or is it a secondary emotion. As I continued down the list of symptoms I started to notice a common root factor behind every symptom listed. Fear appears to be the root emotion behind every symptom that I have.

    When a person experiences fear, that fear can turn into anger, depression, avoidance, emotional numbness and so on. A person doesn’t have to suffer from PTSD in order to experience any of these secondary emotions when they experience fear. However, for non-sufferers they seem able to process each experience as a unique experience rather then a combined experience resulting from the original traumatic event.

    I then began to think about how emotions and the brain work. My limited knowledge of this subject is crude to say the least, but it makes sense to me. If our brain releases adrenaline that then produces an emotion then it makes sense that it is a possibility that people who suffered trauma significant to cause PTSD have a dysfunction in the brain that releases either to much, or not enough of the adrenaline that produces the fear emotion.

    Perhaps the initial trauma somehow produced this adrenaline in such large quantities that the part of the brain that produces that adrenaline became damaged that it loses the ability to release the proper levels of adrenaline thus causing the extreme root emotion, to cause extreme secondary emotion just like when the original trauma occurred which then produces the flashback, or extreme memory of the original traumatic event that causes the PTSD sufferer to relieve the trauma all over again.

    Clearly, even the sufferer knows later that they didn’t actually suffer the trauma again, but rather they relived the bio-chemical response that the original trauma produced during the initial traumatic event.

    An analogy of this could be like how normal household plumbing works (I’m not a plumber either). If a pipe becomes impeded (blocked) it causes to much pressure, and that pipe can then burst, and or if a pipe is to wide for the flow of water going through it then it reduces the pressure needed to work properly. The same would apply if a pipe is to narrow it would produce higher pressure even if the water flow was exactly the same.

    Sexual activity begins in the brain. The brain releases chemical in the body that produces the sexual stimulation needed. This includes blood flow through the blood vessels in the body. My point for bringing this up is that there are drugs on the market for people who suffer from ED that help stimulate the brains ability to produce the correct amount of chemical to produce both the physical stimulation and the mental stimulation required to produce the end result.

    Is it possible that if in my case fear is the root emotion that causes all of my symptoms that just maybe there is a pharmaceutical, vitamin and or herbal treatment for it? If my brain produces too much or too little of the adrenaline that produces fear it seems to me that it could be regulated. If that is possible then all of my symptoms would be greatly reduced to where I might live a normal productive life.

    In conjunction with the possible treatments such as vitamins, and herbs I think then that behavioral modification would be necessary also as how I respond to things around me would need to be relearned if that is the appropriate wording.
    Maybe the answer isn’t trying to regulate the fear, but rather increase courage. What I mean by this is that for me I fear confronting others as it represents loss to me, until the secondary emotion of anger quickly follows and I then attack or have outbursts which by then I don’t care if there is loss associated with it or not.

    I often find myself having to use techniques to express myself when I need to confront someone about something, even the little things because I experience fear of losing a friendship or them becoming angry with me. As I write this I can hear old voices in my head from family and friends saying to me why do you let others take up so much space in your head? FEAR! I’m afraid to lose people I care about.

    I can give this same example to every symptom that I have. Why do I get so angry? FEAR! I get angry because someone caused me to feel fear. I’m afraid they will betray or abandon me, I’m afraid that they think less of me etc.

    If when this happens I was talking to a therapist and they ask me “if they were to leave you how does this make you feel” I might respond “It makes me angry, because, they hurt me”. But, if given time to contemplate this question, and when I’m honest with myself what would make me angry is my fear of losing them, not the losing them as a friend in and of itself. Losing a friend is sad, it would cause me sadness, but not until my anger subsided.

    In conclusion, I feel now that I’ve spent a great deal of time and energy trying to treat symptoms rather then find a cure for the cause of the symptoms. It’s like the common cold. I treat the runny nose, sneezing and congestion, but the cold virus is still there.

    My triggers are irrational reactions/responses that are possibly caused by an adrenaline imbalance that the brain produces. If this is true then regulating the adrenaline responsible for the root emotions would only make sense that it would also reduce and remove the symptoms which is what causes the problems in my life years after the trauma that I experienced.

    There is a good web page on FEAR at http://al.turtlecounseling.com/blog/_archives/2005/4/13/578458.html.

    Any suggestions, input or known vitamens and hurbal treatments?

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  3. resurrection

    resurrection Member


    I know exactly what you mean regarding the adrenaline rush induced by FEAR .I think its due to the FIGHT or FLIGHT instinct. During the traumatic event , you are overwhelmed ,and instead of reacting as you normally would(with all the normal emotional responses) you flee in your mind and the emotional response is not what it should be ( dont know if Im making any sense here).This leaves you with an excess of adrenaline which because you have been traumatised has nowhere (coz you are now fleeing instead of fighting) to go which results in negative reactions to stress and FEAR (loss of concentration and composure , hypervigilance, jumpiness, etc etc).I think this is one of the worst things about PTSD as it impacts negatively to the extreme in your ability to socialise(which leads to feelings of ,helplessness and hopelessness and feeling anti social):mad: I have tried to deal with this by building up my self esteem( exercising , being kind to others and just generally trying to keep my mind occupied) which seems to be helping :thumbs-up. I also try to be more composed when interacting with others by keeping an emotional distance with them until some kind of rapport has been established, I used to be always too quick to seek approval of others . I aso try to keep reminding myself that I know I am a good person and dont need someone else to confirm this. Hope that made some sense . ALL THE BEST :eek:ccasion:
  4. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member

    I feel that one of the main causes of fear is a betrayal of some trust. Lots of different types of trust to betray. But for me it comes back to somebody taking a trust we've given them and destroying it. We then deal with the fall out of that betrayed trust. Sometimes it's never restored.

    Jacquie likes this.
  5. Seeking_Nirvana

    Seeking_Nirvana I'm a VIP

    I think just about everything in life is based on fear, and not just for people with PTSD. The ability to realize what category of fear is appropriate for a specific situation is the key. Fear for one's safety and life is an important fear to have. Most fears associated to emotion seem to be useless and problematic.
  6. Damiea

    Damiea Well-Known Member

    this is interesting to me in a sort of off shoot way.. the adrenalin caused by fear. I have asthma and it is triggered by the adrenalin in my body.. but more spacific the adrenalin that is caused by activity such as running ext... but i do know the adrenalin rush you speek of brought on by fear and stuff. never have I heard of there being different types of adrenalin in your body.. so why does only physical induced adrenalin rushes cause asthma attacks and not emotional adrenalin rushes? I don't have PTSD so I don't know if the adrenalin rushes when having PTSD are different then when you don't but I can spacifically remember times when fear or anger where affecting me but did not cause asthma attacks. Kind of odd.. guess its something to think about anyway!
  7. goingonhope

    goingonhope Member Premium Member

    What you've written, is interesting and I don't want to miss reponding to it, and yet it's about time I must shut off the computer and get busy with something else.

    So I'm just briefly saying here that Fear too exists at the root of so much for me and the only prescription for it that works as more than a band-aid approach is courage. Making a conscious choose to choose to respond courageously works well. And, when that courage simply doesn't seem to exist within me, and if I remember, asking for and praying for courage has always been met with an affirmative, Yes.

    My serious problem sometimes is though, that I don't believe sometimes, or I'll refuse to accept my belief, and/or I believe and yet still forget to, or don't want to pray for that courage that always comes.

    Ya' even this little thing here, my thoughts, is going to take some courage to post, bc it's a bit too revealing of me, which happens to be one of those branches to the root of my fear.

  8. John_R

    John_R Member

    Thanks everyone for posting your experience, strength and hope with me.

    I wanted to add that I tend to be very assertive, and when fear kicks in I end up with intrusive thoughts that cause me to want to always be extreme. Even if it's the small stuff, I tend to take it as major, and then have outbursts of anger, or sink into depression, but always extreme.

    From what I know about the the brain and adrenalin is that the emotional adrenalin comes from the primitive part of the brain which is instinctual and removes any kind of conscious choice. I think that if there were some vitamins, and herbal supplements that might help reduce that adrenalin it very well could significantly reduce the symptoms of my PTSD.

    I just can't help but think that it's the adrenalin that invokes the memories and flashbacks, not the memories invoking the adrenalin in the case of my PTSD.

  9. Wade Rich

    Wade Rich New Member

    John, Hi my name is Wade Rich. I've struggled with depression most of my life. I was very interested in what you wrote. I'm currently in that last stages of writing a book I call Faith vs. Fear, the power to create / the power to destroy. I've found very much the same that the source of my depression was fear and I've spent many years now studing this to find answers. I believe that depression is an emotional state based on beliefs and experience that I have actually found can be cured by the correct understanding of these. I'm really anxious to speak to you if possible. I'd love to quote your statement that you found PTSD to be at the root fear. I'd also like learn alittle more about you that might help me with answers. I'd also love to share what I've found in the case it might be validating to you.
  10. critters

    critters New Member

    I just wanted to add that the "root" chakra is where survival is forming after birth until age 6. If trauma is done to a child at this age it will cause problems where they will be in in hypervigilance mode. This is when the "fight or flight" response takes over. I seen a baby around the age of 4 months old roll off a couch once, and it's eyes showed fear.

    The baby couldn't have factored any emotions, or feelings that relate to a trigger or release of adrenaline at that age unless it fell off the couch all the time (which it didn't).

    I think when adrenaline is released it should only be under fight or flight mode. I don't recognize running or playing sports causing adrenaline to be released, so I wonder if what I'm feeling is even adrenaline?

    I have random releases of adrenaline without a thought, emotion, trigger or fear. I don't understand why my body would randomly release adrenaline like it does, and no one seems to understand what I'm talking about.

    My heart feels a warm sensation and then I feel the release, which is followed by a panic attack. Sometimes I can relate it to a specific feeling or thought, but other times I seen no evidence of a trigger, bad feeling, or any fear. In addition to this I can be sleeping and wake up in a state of panic where it feels that adrenaline has been released, and there are no dreams associated to the panic.

    I wondered if my body was in the habit of releasing adrenaline from when I was a child and abused? and now that my life is fairly stable my body still randomly releases it as a habit or as a dysfunction?

    Anyway, I went through the same issue John. I couldn't understand why I was so angry all of the time and it took me two years to figure out that the anger was a defense mechanism to help deal with the fear, and all underlying negative emotions stem from fear. I think "feeling" angry is a much better choice than being stuck in feeling fear. Once I moved through many of my issues of fear, the anger automatically subsided along with it.

    I just wanted to share and if anyone understands what I'm talking about please let me know if it's actually adrenaline that is being released and not some other chemical.

  11. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    John, I believe you are absolutely on the right track. Anger is not an emotion, it is an emotional response. If you look at anger, anger is never formed by itself, it is always a response to another emotion. This is where the [DLMURL="http://www.ptsdforum.org/thread12.html"]Iceberg of Emotions[/DLMURL] was born within the therapy industry. There are emotions and emotional responses; differenciating them can sometimes be difficult, but achievable. Anger is at the peak, whilst another emotion lay underneath. We react with anger because it is an emotional response. If we look deeper to the emotion causing the response, that is the cause, as such. You cannot cure it, but you can treat it. These are emotions after all.

    You are right on the money mate and doing exactly what should be done in order to help yourself. Please keep going in that very commonsense direction. Well done to working this out for yourself.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  12. colegrl08

    colegrl08 New Member


    The one thing that bothers me the most about PTSD is the feeling of fear all the time. I fear going to sleep because of vivid nightmares, I fear going to certain towns becuase the person who hurt me might be there. Sometimes I just have the feeling of dread that its going to start again, even though there is no possible way that it could. I'm always looking over my shoulder. A lot of the times, especially after having a nightmare, I have to remind myself that its 2009 and that I am safe.

    I just am tired of living in fear :(

    I'm sure people can relate, how do you deal with it?
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