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Things To Do In Later Recovery


Razzle
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I am still too sick to do some of these things in this AD reaction but I found them very useful in later benzo withdrawal.

 

STRETCHING: When the research was being done on benzo development by Sternbach back in the 1950's they were going to be marketed as muscle relaxers. Then new research in neurophysiology found that when the muscles are relaxed they send a "All's Well" signal to the brain that helps shut off the stress response. So Librium - the first benzo was marketed as a tranquilizer to replace less safe barbiturates.

 

During times of high stress ( and what is not high stress if not a drug withdrawal) our muscles can take on a tension set that continues beneath our conscious awareness....sending 'Beware' signals to the brain and provoking the HPA axis. It has also been shown that stretching/Yoga increases GABA in the brain.

 

This tension set can continue years after seeming recovery.

 

HRV TRAINING: There is a biophysiological measurement of the heart beat called Heart Rate Variability that measures the health of the nervous system. While we think of the heart being controlled by the brain this is mostly untrue. The heart will beat outside the body with no CNS connections...and it sends more information to the brain by over 800% than the brain does to the heart.

 

When the heart is in Coherence it sends a message to the brain to relax. Stress, chemicals, foods and more can alter the coherence. 99% of people who are first measured for HRV will see a jagged erratic line instead of the smooth sine wave it should be. Long term meditators, young children and animals have the smooth wave I most cases.

 

Proper breathing at the right moment and relaxation bring the heart into coherence. This is too complex to cover here but you can Google to learn more.

 

The HeartMath corporation were the first people to bring computer software to measure HRV to the consumer. Cardiologists and psychologists had been using if for years.

 

I don’t care for their gimmicky program but one that is wonderful is called ALIVE. Wild Divine tried to do it but it is not accurate and a bit too game oriented.

 

With the 1960's advent of Biofeedback we began to learn that we can change some of our physiology. We are learning more all the time that we can shift more unconscious process in the body. With the discover of neuroplasticity we are learning more about the brains ability to be restored - unfortunately it is mostly on the hippocampus for cellular repair that we see this working but we also know that biochemical alterations can happen in many areas of the brain via thought and volition.

 

I cant do the stretching yet but I do use the Alive HRV program when I am able to sit.

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This is really interesting. I accidentally found out stretching helps when I get my mid-night panic waves, and breathing slowly in and out does as well... it looks like HRV training would be a good practice.

 

I found these articles:

 

Hear Rate Variability as an Index of Regulated Emotional Responding

 

and

 

The Promise of HRV Biofeedback: Some Preliminary Results and Speculations

 

The Alive HRV program you mention... these are the headsets? At 300 dollars I can't really afford one, but I wonder if there's a "free" way of achieving results. For example, I read about the 10 second breathing cycle, and how the Alive program has audio that has a heartbeat sound that starts at 28 heart beats per second and slows to 24 heart beats per second, and that you are supposed to breathe in for two heartbeats and then breathe out for two heartbeats. I'm sure there are a lot more bells and whistles, but I wonder if I could make myself an audio track to listen to that would help me regulate my breathing.

 

This really seems in tune as well with why meditation can be so helpful... and somewhere on this forum someone had mentioned the importance of exhaling (I think it was Healing). In fact, I bet HRV training could be considered a form of meditation.

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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