Really? Do I need this information? YOU DO! This is great news! READ ON!
The company I work for sent me (as their brand new “Assistant Clinical Director”, i.e., Nurse Educator) to a seminar on the Pathophysiology and Psycho-pharmacology of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As I suspected, there is a direct correlation between alcoholism and PTSD. Let me jump right into the deep end.
According to scientific research using PET Scan and MRI, they have proven that the Hippocampus (located in our brain) shrinks as much as 20% with repeated and / or untreated trauma. This part of the brain #1. regulates emotion, #2. is primarily involved with judgement, and #3. plays an important part in long-term memory. (Does this ring a bell with regard to symptoms associated with addiction?) These symptoms describe my disease… my history of addiction specific to ‘binge eating disorder’. The AA Big Book describes it like this: “The Mental Twist” (poor judgement, Pg. 92), the problems with memory, (mental blank spots, Pg. 42), and the poor regulation of our emotions (“We often found ourselves handicapped by obstinacy, sensitiveness, and unreasoning prejudice. Pg. 48). By the way, Websters dictionary equates being “reasonable” with sanity. Thus, unreasoning would indicate a level of insanity. Just saying! These are symptoms that accompany any one with a serious eating disorder when they are in their “cups”.
The good news is that when the patient is treated properly (first with therapeutic treatment and if necessary, medications), the hippocampus grows back in as little as two months. This struck me because in various places in the AA Big Book, we learn that many recovered in as little as two months. One such example was Bill’s drinking buddy and friend, Ebby, the man who brought the step (6 steps for the original Oxford Group Pg. 263) program to Bill. At the bottom of Pg. 9, we are told that, “They had told of a simple religious idea and a practical program of action. That was two months ago and the result was self-evident. It worked!” Ebby was healed in 2 months (the time it takes for the hippocampus to begin to grow back). I sat listening to the information on PTSD and thought, this sure does remind me of the information we know about Alcoholism. Then, the PhD in Pharmacology, delivering the lecture ,suddenly brought up Alcoholism and that all that refers to PTSD also applies to Alcoholism.