The Resilient Brain

Coping with Concussion and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

Coping With Stress

How do you find the treatment or approach that will work best for you?

Between social media, friends, newspaper, magazines and even your Primary Care Provider (PCP), you often get a wide variety of suggestions for coping with stress. So what is best for you? 

Factors Affecting Stress Levels

In my previous blog, I focused on the numerous types of stressors and their various categories. I also emphasized my 5 Prong Approach of assessing these types of stressors to help figure out the core issue or issues, such as inflammation, trauma, or toxins in your environment. I had one patient who was always anxious and had sleep problems only to find out that she was in an office with no windows and there was mold in the venting ducks. The entire building had to be shut down to clean out the vents that were making her sick. I recall having joint and memory problems that testing revealed that I had heavy metal in my system, specifically silver.

I live in a rural area and have my own well. I mention this because three days after I was diagnosed my well pump stopped, because of excessive silver corrosion.  I had forgotten that I live next door to an abandoned silver mine and it is clear that the silver got through my filtering system and caused me to have the symptoms I was experiencing.

 

Problems with Generalized Stress Relief

As important as it is to figure out what factors are affecting you and causing your symptoms of stress, it is extremely important to understand yourself and what you need to help you based on your individuality. Each person is unique, yet the majority of all methods and approaches to treatment are generalized and rarely take into account a variety of factors, such as gender, weight, and how your body responds. A perfect example can be seen through the use of medication. The adult dosage prescribed for an Over the Counter (OTC) label may work perfectly for a 260 pound 6 foot male, yet the same dosage for a 5 foot female weighing 115 can possibly do harm. Often you see children dosage by age on an OTC. 

On many of the online forums various symptoms of anxiety, sleep problems, and issues with memory are posed. Frequently, numerous well-meaning people provide a long list of suggestions of various types of methods they have found to work for them. All too often the suggestions are focused on treating the symptoms rather than focused on treating you who has this specific symptom. You can’t try all of them, so how do you choose what is best for you?

This is why I decided to write this blog. What I’ve found in my practice over 37 years is that what works for one patient doesn’t mean it will necessarily work for another having the exact same symptoms, because each person is unique.

As part of his Low Energy Neurofeedback System (LENS), Len Ochs’ method focuses on the person, and the individual treatment process is based on the individual rather than a generic treatment protocol. The first step is to assess the heartiness, reactivity and sensitivity of each individual. I totally agree with this approach and endorse it and its philosophy that each person is unique and needs to be evaluated and treated as such.

If you are of the hearty type, you can weather almost anything, and probably any medication or approach for dealing with stress related to sleep, memory or anxiety are going to work for you.    Be grateful for how very fortunately hearty you are. If you are of the reactive type, you might have an adverse reaction or allergic reaction to a given medication, such as hives or some of the many side effects written on a label. Where a physical therapy (PT) session might help the hearty type, you might be sore or have muscle spasms for days later. It is not that the PT doesn’t work, it is that you and your body are more reactive and might need less of the treatment. We joke in my office about reactivity as being like the three bear, for some the same treatment might be to little, too much or just right. Finding the happy medium for each person takes time, and with today’s medical system that requires a PCP to provide only 15 minutes or an hour of PT for the hearty type that might be great.  For someone who is reactive, they might need more or even less time or an increase in the frequency of treatments, which insurance companies will not reimburse.

The sensitive type that I’ve described in several of my other blogs would be two people sitting out in the sun for 15 minutes. The fair-hair or red-head person will quickly burn, while the other person gets a deep tan. Now, the sun is not bad, each person’s body is different. The same is true with various medications. 

I have Lyme Disease and the common treatment for it is antibiotics. I’m severely allergic to antibiotics, so this method would cause me to die. Not a very good choice. What I found works for me is Golden Seal and Olive Leaf, both of which are on my Medical Alert bracelet. One physician said what if you truly needed an antibiotic to live. My answer was if it is life or death and I can die from the disease or the treatment, you can try the antibiotics.

Stress Reduction: What is best for you?

If you are hearty, probably any and all methods are going to work. If you are a female and hearty, you still might need less medication. If you are reactive or sensitive, please take this into consideration when using any medication, methods or approaches, even from some really well-meaning people, who just might be of the hearty type.

In my next post, I will be providing some generic methods for dealing with stress that do affect your sleep, memory and level of anxiety. If you are of the hearty type, they do work.  If you are sensitive or reactive, I will try to provide additional solutions to help you too.

As always, remember... there is Help and Hope of regaining your life. There is a Way!

Diane Roberts Stoler, Ed.D., is a Neuropsychologist, Board Certified Health Psychologist, Board Certified Sports Psychologist, and Trauma Therapist with over 35 years experience.

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