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Memory, Trauma and Emotional Regulation

Memory can be rewritten or partially erased. Research by Karim Nader shows that when we bring a memory to mind, we inadvertently alter the memory. Here is a way to understand why that might be the case. Let's say you buy something from a store, bring it home, and unpack it. After examining it, you decide to return it to the store. But try as you may, you can't get everything back in the box. You return to the store with the box bulging and a couple of pieces outside the box. Memory is like that. Once you take it out from where it is stored, you can't put it back in without removing or changing something. It is interesting, however, that you can also add something.

But there is an important difference between a memory and an item returned to a store. You are aware the item, as returned, is somewhat altered. But when remembering inadvertently alters a memory, there is no awareness of the alteration.

Some memories are traumatic. If remembering them causes great distress, or if a traumatic memory cannot be kept of out mind, we call this condition Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There have been two competing ideas in how to treat a person who is stressed by a traumatic memory. One idea is that it is best to leave sleeping dogs lie. In the article Edna Foa of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School says, "There has always been a group that says we could reignite a trauma by asking people to deal with the memory. In this thinking, keeping the memory suppressed was actually better. That was a strong belief in the early era of psychiatry: Put it behind you. Don't deal with it. Go on with your life. The idea behind counseling was to soothe the patient, to find ways to make him as comfortable as possible." The problem with that approach is that - though the original memory may be inhibited - it is still there. more






Flying After 45 Years

The writer of this email volunteered to correspond with anyone wanting to discuss the problem.

Tom: I just want to send you a BIG THANK YOU for all your support in helping me change my life!!!

It took me 45 years to finally get on an airplane.  With many years of living with Panic Disorder and Claustrophobia, I promised myself that one thing I will never  do in my life time is fly in an airplane.  I am mad that I did not do this earlier in my life.  Flying is Great!


Feel Safe In Your Car?

A new report by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety lists the number of yearly deaths per million vehicles registered. They break it down by models.

Before we get into the numbers, let’s remember the 757, 767, 777, and Airbus 319, 320, 321 (and all higher numbered models) are accident free and fatality free in the U.S. and Canada . . . not just last year, but ever since they have been flying.

The two-door Chevy Blazer had 308 deaths last year per million of them on the road, the most of any vehicle in the study. If you put that another way, it means there for every 3,237 two-door Chevy Blazers, there was one death. If you figure the average life of that SUV is ten years, that means one of every 324 two- door Chevy Blazers is going to die in one...



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