8 Things Your Psychologist Doesn't Know That You Can Use To Stop Panic

  • Plastic Memory Cells. The plastic memory cells are quick learners. The first time a trauma happens, they learn to react to every associated with the traumatic experience. But when those things are experienced and no trauma takes place, the plastic memory cells relearn and no longer react.
  • Storage Memory Cells. The storage memory cells are slow learners. The first time a trauma happens, they make no connections. But if the trauma is repeated, then the storage cells connect the things up. Let’s say you were repeatedly assaulted and could not escape. The storage cells will connect being unable to escape and danger. The storage cells will also associate arousal (rapid heart rate, rapid breathing rate, sweatiness, tension, overwhelm) with danger.
  • Dependent Activation Is Inborn
  • Independent Activation Can Be Developed
  • The storage cells learn to react to the inability to escape. Thus bridges, tunnels, high places, airliners, MRIs, etc. are associated with danger and feel unsafe.
  • The storage cells learn to react to feelings of arousal. Thus rapid heart rate, rapid breathing rate, sweatiness, and tension mean danger.
  • When alarm is down-regulated, Executive Function determines whether a threat exists and what, if anything, needs to be done.
  • When alarm is not down-regulated, Executive Function is (a.) unable to recognize an imagined threat isn’t real, (b.) can’t fight imagination off and (c.) can’t get imagination to go away; in other words, can’t escape it.

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Capt Tom Bunn

Capt Tom Bunn

Tom Bunn is a retired airline captain and licensed therapist. He is the originator of the SOAR Fear of Flying Program.