When I went to paramedic school one of our instructors told us about how the physiology of stress works on are minds & bodies. During a stressful encounter our bodies release adrenaline, but it also releases another hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that moves up to the front part of the brain & shuts off the frontal cortex preventing higher reasoning, this was done so that a million years ago our “monkey uncles” would run from the T-rex instead of standing there wondering which course of action would be best to take. So we were taught that cortisol is apart of the whole A.dump, but is the part that shuts down the ability to think. BUT, there is a way around it.
The brain & most parts of the body have receptor sites that pick up these hormones that are floating around in the body & turn them into electrical signals that tell the body or brain to do things. When cortisol is floating around the brain the receptor sites pick them up & shut down the thinking; the way to avoid this from happening is by exposing the brain to as much of this hormone as possible.
When we have an over abundance of cortisol in the brain all the time the receptor sites start to do what is call “down regulate”, which is to get rid of some of these receptor sites that turn off the thinking. My instructor told us that we would experience this on calls where we knew what needed to be done but we just couldn’t think, we might even repeat the same question over & over again. Like asking, “So what is your name?” “So what is your name?”…(Oops sorry brain shut down there:) He said we just needed to do a lot of ride-a-longs to get exposure & run a lot of calls so that the cortisol would not affect us.
He also said that they had a class of SEALS come through their paramedic program & you could not phase these guys at all; he said they were the type that if a bullet went whizzing by that you wouldn’t even get arise out of them, because they had been through so much stress that this things just did not phase them.
Then you have the experienced vet, he stop on the beach and opens his pack and gets a can and fills it with sand, he has no experiences like the rest, he is calm and intent on what he is doing, he fills the can and places it in his pack where you see the cans from all the other conflicts he has been in, he is controlled because the experience is a known, the environment and all going on are not new and not scary to him.
This would go along with what my instructor taught, because the experienced vet’s brain has long ago “down regulated” the receptor sites in his brain giving him the ability to think through what he needs to do in that situation.
I remember a time when I got into my 1st car accident & time slowed down; I could see everything that was happening & even remembering telling myself to steer out of the way, but my body did not respond. Then everything sped back up after we hit. The same thing happened in my 1st fight, everything slowed down & I could see the punch coming, but could not get out of the way. What if you could train your self to see things in slow motion, but still move to get out of the way? Someone once told me that the Sub-conscious mind moves or thinks faster then the conscious mind, so when we tap into it at certain time in our lives things appear to slow down.
Of course I do not know if this is true, but it sounded cool.
Just a follow up to the STRESS RESPONSE.
Friday, December 23, 2005
A question was posed on Hock's forum:
-In combat will most people lose fine motor skills in the adrenal dump?
-Can they maintain looseness in the adrenal dump? For example like techniques from systema that require looseness?
-Arent we hardwired for the adrenal dump?
Adrenaline Dumps (A.D.) (or the release of adrenaline into the body) is a physical reaction, which is an unconscious response to an unknown, a fear, and is associated with increased heart rate, either from anticipation and or by heightened physical demand in response to threat; this physical response can be controlled to an extent by exposure to the scenario or stimuli.
We experience A.D. in various levels all the time, but some are so common we do not notice, such as events while driving a car, being asked to give a speech, meeting a girl/guy we are interested in. These all cause A.D. until we experience them enough that we do not get as worked up or fearful of the outcome. This exposure is key to adaptability and suppression or control of adrenaline dumps.
If you saw the movie "Saving Private Ryan" you see the men hit the beach and you see the war through their eyes, fear, anxiety, anticipation, slow motion, hearing loss, freezing in place or going fetal. Then you have the experienced vet, he stop on the beach and opens his pack and gets a can and fills it with sand, he has no experiences like the rest, he is calm and intent on what he is doing, he fills the can and places it in his pack where you see the cans from all the other conflicts he has been in, he is controlled because the experience is a known, the environment and all going on are not new and not scary to him.
If we apply exposure and scenarios (in a realistic encounter) and we make it a true encounter or as close to reality as possible the better prepared the person is when they see this for real. (If we could get real experiences that would be a better level but exposure to life and death is hard to anticipate, no less recreate safely.)
The military and some police training make it possible for people to be in a certain place at a certain time so they can surprise and attack and make training more realistic than can be done in a training environment. (This is what we need to strive for, surprise and aggression to the student when they do not expect it and get them to act then, at that time.)
If I am teaching a student something, I may suddenly and unexpectedly, just rush them, grab them and pin them to the wall and scream and yell and threaten to kill them, push and shove them around and along the wall. The first few times they are shocked and lost, then you ask them well what would you do if it were real, everyone has a response, then when you say well why didn't you do something they have no response just excuses, after a short time they catch on that reaction at the time of event is critical, not analysis after the fact.
People will say that cardio conditioning will help control A.D., this is true to an extent, but if I take a marathon runner and grab him/her and start yelling at them, dragging them, fighting with them, if they respond and give it their all they will be spent in a few seconds, same as an out of shape person. It is exposure to the events and the level of conflict that makes them better able to stay in the fight.
Adrenaline and heart rate seem to go hand in hand, if we can experience the event and learn to work at maximum level within that event and that will do more for control of adrenaline than anything else, the more we experience the lower our heart rate and the lower the heart rate the more we can work in the various motor skills levels, from fine to compound to gross. (Bruce Siddle has some good materials on this subject)
Time is a factor as we cannot fight all out for a long period, so we must learn to fight in any and all levels of Motor skills and in the various levels of adrenaline dump and end the fight or encounter as quickly as possible.
There is so much on this subject; I hope I have given a basic understanding to the questions asked.
Jim H: from Hockscombatforum.com