Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Trivial Way to Hack and Reprogram Your Unconscious

By           Expert Author William T Batten      

Your unconscious is outside your awareness, but it's not outside your control. It's a strange quirk of psychology that most of our minds are invisible to us. Even stranger is how easy it is to influence our inner black boxes.
But it's not as simple as thinking thoughts and hoping they'll stick. We've all had moments when we've consciously decided to do something - hit the gym, eat a vegetable, be more present - only for it to not happen.
In other words, not all conscious thoughts influence your unconscious.
If you want to lead a different life, the art of unconscious reprogramming is worth knowing. Change comes quickly and easily when it reaches your unconscious mind.
In fact, think about how you were ten or 20 years ago. Most of the problems that plagued you are nothing to you now.
You've grown, changed and become stronger since then.
And most of those changes happened outside your awareness. You simply woke up one day and realised you'd been free of the problem for a while.
Or maybe you're just realising it now...
Some of those changes, though, you were consciously aware of. You wanted them, so you thought about them. Maybe you took steps to fix things and, to your delight, these steps worked.
You have already reprogrammed your unconscious. It's simply a question of how.
Focus on your hands. Now focus on the sounds around you.
One of the things that you can consciously control is where you place your attention. Where you place it (and the quality of your attention) becomes a simple way to create change deep within you.
It's no surprise that it all comes down to focus.
But don't worry - even if you're distractible, there's something simple and powerful you can do.
It only takes a few minutes a day. And you can even do it while driving, cooking or doing other tasks.
Each morning, think about your day and what you want to happen. Take a moment to imagine what it would be like if everything went perfectly.
Then, right before bed, reflect on what went well, what you learned and what you could do better.
Time spent: about three minutes.
Difficulty level: super-duper easy.
Power level: extreme.
Most people won't bother doing this. They'll read it and decide it's too simple to work. You should know that the simplicity is a feature. It's easy to get this right, so you have no excuses.
And what does it do? Like a good hypnotic induction, it trains your attention towards things that you want. Early and late each day, you can't be bothered consciously interfering. You focus on what you want and your mind acts as if it's a self-hypnosis suggestion.
Because it is.
Not everything has to be fancy. This only works with discipline, though. Each day adds a little bit, creating massive changes over time. Sticking with it is what's going to separate your amazing results from everyone else's.
You can no longer say that you don't know self-hypnosis. Sorry about that. Many people like to assume you can't hypnotise yourself or that it's too hard. I've ruined that for you, forever.
So you might as well take the plunge. The updated version of Unlock the Vault has other self-hypnosis techniques just as easy as this one. Why stop now? Instead, keep ruining things by leapfrogging your self-hypnosis skills:

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Thursday, March 5, 2020

Treatment Resistant Depression: What It Is And How To Master It

By                Expert Author Charles Meusburger

My space is dark; my darkness is all over. What's next? What's now? Why all this? Did I deserve this somehow? Why doesn't anything or anyone help me? I don't want to feel like this anymore. An ashen haze envelops me all day, every day with lengthy periods of blackness interspersed so much so that I even welcome gray anymore. I get so frightened that it will never even return to gray-then what? I'm out of control in my head and in my heart; my emotions are so overwhelming and my thoughts so confused that it's a free fall in an abyss with no limits-just pain and fear; too much indecision, too much distraction without purpose; endless streams of helpless, hopeless banter in an echo-laden head.
I've read and been told to "not go gently into that goodnight." I have fought this-hard, but it hasn't mattered. There is nothing gentle about any of this. It's unrelenting pain with no compassion and no identity--it's invisible. There is no fairness or reason-it just stops and engulfs me-why?! What more can I do? What more can be done? What is this plague?
Depression, especially treatment resistant depression is an insidiously pernicious illness. It can be subtle at first but then it demonstrates that it's like a parasite-a parasite that steals everything and wants to kill the host.
Depression is a treatable disorder. Most of the time, standardized modalities are very effective in the amelioration or even the alleviation of the disorder. Sometimes however, not as readily--this form is called Treatment Resistant or Refractory Depression [TRD]. There are very minor differences in the definition of TRD, but it is generally defined as: an inadequate response to one, [or at least two or more], antidepressant trials of adequate doses and duration. Unfortunately, this is a relatively common occurrence (See Diagnosis and Definition of Treatment Resistant Depression, M. Fava; March 8, 2017).
In clinical practice this is seen up to 50 to 60% of the time. Subsequently, it is recommended that a diagnostic reassessment of these patients be performed in an effort to achieve better outcomes. There are many potential contributing and confusing factors that may be involved and not initially obvious. Examples of medical conditions include Parkinson's disease, thyroid disease, stroke, COPD, cardiac issues, unrevealed substance abuse, and significant personality disorders can be culprits. Other potential contributors include comorbid psychiatric disorders like anxiety, psychosis, early dementia, bipolar depression diagnosed as unipolar, trauma or abuse not determined initially, chronic pain, other medication interactions and/or patient noncompliance. Ascertaining all of these potential variables is both essential and challenging for the clinician as well as the patient. Collaborative historians are very valuable to assist in shedding light on the problem, i.e. family, coworkers, teachers, etc. All of these individuals or groups would, of course, require the patient's permission because of privacy laws. Reliable psychosomatic rating scales can be useful to detect, and in some cases, begin to quantify the severity of the issue. There are varying degrees of resistance. Some readily responsive to minor adjustments in treatment and others are much more tenacious.
Treatment options can include many different modalities. Usually the first level of alternative care is achieved by increasing the dose, changing or adding (augmentation) antidepressants or other non-antidepressant medications such as Lithium, several atypical antipsychotics, stimulants or thyroid hormone for example. Again, adequate doses and duration are required. Patients must first be able to tolerate the medications or combinations due to the potential side effects or adverse reactions that always pose a potential risk.
The risks and benefits for all medications recommended should be discussed with the patients before they are tried. The discussion should also include any alternative therapies, and/or the possible outcomes if a patient choses to forgo the recommended treatment. The patient must understand and then agree, or not, to the treatment plan being suggested before it is begun. This is the process of informed consent.
In addition to other modalities of treatment, Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) can be safely utilized for severe refractory depression or in patients with serious depression who cannot tolerate standard antidepressant medications.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, and other newly emerging methods of direct and select brain stimulation have been shown to produce efficacious results as well. The arsenal of successful treatment also includes Ketamine IV infusion for resistant depression.
Psychotherapies of varying types have been assessed as effective and often necessary methods to assist with medication therapies in the fight against refractory depression; i.e. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Interactive-Interpersonal, Dialectical Behavioral and yes, even Analytical in some cases, have all been proven to be potentially effective. Treatment to remission, meaning no remaining symptoms, needs to be the goal or recurrence is likely.
Outcomes for patients with TRD can be very varied. Relapse rates tend to be greater and swifter in patients with TRD. It is essential that these patients be assessed and treated only by well-trained and experienced behavioral health specialists. This form of depression is certainly treatable. Hope and trust must be inherent in the treatment plan.
Charles E Meusburger, MD is a licensed, board certified diplomat of Psychiatry & Neurology and board certified in Addiction Medicine- specializing in Adult and Adolescent Psychiatry, Addiction Psychiatry, Effective Talking Therapies, and Medication Evaluation Management, practicing for over 25 Years with experience helping people to make their lives better and happier. To schedule an appointment contact us 609-484-0770 so we can help you with life's demands.

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Placebo Healing Effects of DIY Scenarios

By                 Expert Author Erik Sean McGiven

Disclaimer: I base the theories and techniques offered in this article on anecdotal experiences. While I am not a medical practitioner, I have found placebo scenarios act as a counterbalance to my precarious mental state. I grew up in a family where mistakes carry more weight than achievements. And misdeeds of judgment were most detrimental. Thus, from an early age, I had to prop up my self-esteem by making up stories where I triumphed. Little did I know I was using the placebo effect to deflect the negativity and treat my depression.
Another warning: do not operate vehicles or heavy machinery while using this technique as one shuts our reality and the outside world. It is best to apply it in a safe environment devoid of any physical or mental hazards and unwelcome distractions.
Additional warning: if you are under a doctor's care or taking pain or psychotic medications, advise your physician before beginning this program as conflicts in treatment can occur.
What is the placebo effect? It's a phenomenon whereby suffering people get better from treatments that have no discernible reason to work. While strange and misunderstood, it can be almost as effective as drugs that have been on the market for years. Studies also show that symptoms often improve when given fake medication.
Some call it a trick rather than something real. But recent research studies show a connection between brain chemistry and placebo use. Another study, a functional MRI one, detected small blood flow changes triggered by placebo use. Like pharmaceuticals, placebos trigger neurochemicals such as endorphins and dopamine and create a numbing or unawareness of pain.
So, my conjecture is that if people get better by taking a placebo pill, then why wouldn't they get better when self-administering a deflecting and positive scenario. Studies validate this theory showing patient's conditions improve even when they knew they were taking a placebo. I repeat that again; they knew they were getting fake medication and still improved.
What is the reason for this? Maybe it's the survival mechanism in all of us that seeks ways to stay happy and alive. We have this hope and desire to believe our choices will lead to a better life. Believing is the crucial part of these diagnoses, for without that faith it dooms the treatment.
So, what makes the placebo effect work? Maybe our emotions and intentions do not start in the conscious mind but instead, are triggered in the subconscious mind. These could be innate choices, learned or imposed choices from childhood to the present. Whatever is programmed into our brains, both good and bad premises, that's pretty much what leads us through life. However, they can be reprogramed. There's a strange little quirk about the human subconscious mind, it can't tell the difference between something imagined vs something remembered. They both have similar effects on our brain chemistry. Thus, by imagining positive and rehabilitating scenarios, a healing process can begin.
What kinds of scenarios work best? For me, the stories remote from my daily life and problems are the most proficient. If you get too close to your personal life, you'll keep regurgitating old problems instead of deflecting them away. Likewise, you want to create stories that replace your suffering with positive and uplifting thoughts and emotions. This is a rehabilitation process, replacing the bad with the good, and not seeking quick answers. A better analogy is to allow the body to heal so you can return to battle your demons.
Scenarios that center on accomplishments and receiving acknowledgment can be beneficial to one's psyche. They not only displace negative feelings; they start pathways to positive activities. Joyful scenarios can likewise help reduce stress. That is because positive emotions such as feeling grateful or elated reduce the release of the stress hormone cortisol.
Problem-solving scenarios work well even when the results are not productive. Think of them as exercises for the brain. When you think positive thoughts, negative thoughts and feelings have few opportunities to creep in. Likewise, problem-solving demands a much more concentrated focus making the displacement more effective. However, such scenarios should be disconnected and distant from your present-day conflicts.
Become the hero of your story, the rescuer, the innovator, the savior, the loyal sidekick, the enabler, or the good soldier. Whatever takes you away from your troubles, the misery, the pain, that's the placebo scenario you want to imagine and create. Feel good scenarios are like meditation in they allow the body and mind to rest while they generate positive hormones that foster healing.
In structuring your stories, you find that when all goes smoothly without conflicts or problems, the results lack satisfaction. To triumph, you need obstacles that test your strength and courage; people, things, or ideas that stand in your way. The higher the difficulty, the more satisfying will be your winning resolution. So, insert villains, natural disasters, and daunting problems that challenge your skills so when you overcome them, it's a worthwhile achievement.
When using this placebo regiment, one should be cautious about telling others. This is because your scenarios and dreams are not made for public scrutiny. First. your mental state, whether it is depressed or optimistic, your attempts to improve it may face disbelief and opposition, especially when they try to dissect your scenarios and dreams. Only you will know if they are working or if they are not.
If you convey your placebo efforts to others, they are no longer yours should you wish to revisit, extend them, or wallow in their glory. When they become public, they lose their strength and become conversational banter rather than useful therapy.
Another caveat to watch out for is when scenarios become commitments that must be fulfilled, obligations beyond your capabilities. This reality can lead to thoughts of failure and depression. It is best to keep these two worlds separated.
Addiction to placebo scenarios could be a problem where the rush of overcoming dangers and being triumphant creates fantastic highs. Such obsessions, especially when harming your work and social life, should be dealt with by awareness. It's as if the treatment has taken over and become an overdosing problem. In such situations, one must weigh a healthy reality against rejuvenating scenarios and balance them for the best life possible.
There is a side benefit to placebo scenarios. I remember a study that said employees who daydream at work are more innovative than other employees. In the business world, innovations are the most effective way of increasing productivity and profits. By daydreaming, you think outside the box and discover solutions overlooked by linear thinkers.
While I warn against sharing scenarios, the following stories have become depleted from overuse and will give you some idea of how my imagination works. Using similar scenarios can lead to a healthy psyche.
Designed a valueless car engine that won the Indy 500. This was a problem-solving scenario that demanded a lot of structural visualization and sequential conceptualization. It took over a year to resolve and visualize the design.
As an Air Force crewmember was shot down in WWII Germany and met up with the French underground. Helped to uncover turncoat resistance members working with the Nazis plus discovery of a mole operating in the London Ally Command Center. Learned French and some German and remained undercover for the duration of the war.
Helped design a cinema screening system requiring no special glasses that uses ultra-high frequency light waves projected on a crystal embedded screen to produce vivid 3-D images. The embedded crystals were formulated from compounds extracted from large meteorites falling in Russia in 2013. Scientist found these crystals exhibit unique properties that reflect varying perspectives depending on the frequency of the ultra-high light waves hitting them. Computer programs take data from standard 3-D digital cameras and convert them to data which works with this new system. Observers to test screenings said it's like looking out a large open window, so lifelike the images.
Studies have shown that positive thoughts supplanting negative ones increase the subject's outlook. However, thinking happy thoughts aren't enough to take us into another world. Made up scenarios can and have the added feature of being under the subject's control and when intense shut out the real world. They also give the subject choices whether to seek rehabilitation or fester in one's misery. By choosing correctly, the patient becomes the doctor and heals thy self.
Placebo scenario therapy takes time. What got you into this mess took time and getting healthy takes time too. Don't look for instant success; for like physical wounds, they take time to heal.
The placebo effect of reading this article signifies a belief there's something here that could help you feel better. It also signifies an awareness you are searching for answers and solutions; that's a step in the right direction. Welcome to the placebo scenario world.
Erik Sean McGiven is a freelance author living in the Los Angeles area. He writes on several topics, including acting, movies, books, and sports. Having worked as a producer, screenwriter, and director he knows well of problems associated with stress and pressure causing deadlines. His website contains links to his wealth of writings, mostly on the entertainment industry where he works as a producer, writer, and production designer.

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