Monthly Archives: May 2014

025 – Bitter (Not So) Sweet Sugar & PTSD


how-much-sugarWeEatIn this episode we discuss the role of sugar, our brain and recovery… Last week we learn about how running can be a tool for helping us deal with difficult memories.  One of the ways running helps is by increasing a key brain protein, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

The sweet white powder we call sugar is in most processed food products.  It has a powerful effect on our brain in producing a short lived pleasure response.  But it can come at great expense.  Sugar has been linked to obesity, diabetes, cancer and other health problems.  But what does that mean for those dealing with Post-traumatic stress?  It is estimated that Americans consume 22-32 tsp. of sugar each day!  An estimate for the U.S. Department of Agriculture says that we consume an amount equal to 31 five pound bags each year!

It has been shown to influence brain function.  In particular BDNF, a key brain protein involved in memories, is negatively impacted by sugar.  In recovering from PTSD we need all the proper neurotransmitter working as designed. Getting sugar out of your diet is not likely to cure PTSD.  But in combination with all the other tools at our disposal it could help further our progress toward victory.



Some resources for further investigation: A CBS News/60 Minutes Report (See how “addicting” sugar can be)

What Eating Too Much Sugar Does to Your Brain

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor:

What Sugar Does to Your Brain:

The Effects of Energy-Rich Diets on Discrimination Reversal Learning and on BDNF in the Hippocampus and Prefrontal Cortex of the Rat

Sugar: The Bitter Truth (The SHORT Version)

Sugar: The Bitter Truth – Dr Robert Lustig, MD, University of California

Secrets of Sugar – CBC News

chicklet_itunesrss subscribe Are you drawn to sweets (or other carbs) when you are stress?  I am.

024 – Running Through, Not Away From, Memories

RunningTowardTarget by Master isolated images FDP

by Master isolated image on

Hay, I found an instant, quick fix to post-traumatic stress… Not really.  But there are many tools we can use to grow and work toward—and achieve—success over PTSD.

One of the coping mechanisms in PTS is to avoid memories.  At times this may be necessary.  But at some point we will need to deal with our past.  We can equip ourselves with tools to help with this process.

This week we take a look at the role running can play in the recovery process. 

We will discuss:

  • The brain and body in stress (and post-traumatic stress): hormones, steroids and the body/brain connection (see Episode 001 – Post Traumatic Stress: It’s not just in your head).
  • The brain and body while running
  • How much running?  According to Dr. Otto, blood levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), increase after about 30-40 min of running.  But this is not the only benefit!
  • Prolonged Exposure Therapy
  • Other benefits – besides the physical and psychological: goal achievement, causes, comradery.
  • What about those that cannot run?  Perhaps it is best if we not focus on what we can do and consider whatever we can do right now.  I share my own struggle with not being able to run or do other intense physical activity because of my lungs.


Article, “Running Back From Hell”,

Team Red, White, and Blue – helps service members transition

STRONG STAR (South Texas Research Organizational Network Guiding Studies on Trauma and Resilience)

Question:  Have you found exercise to be beneficial?  Please join the discussion.  Your experience can help or encourage others.

chicklet_itunesrss subscribe

023 – Can our perspective impact our progress?


Meditation and Persective owenfelthamDoes how we see and perceive the world impact our ability to move forward in our recovery?  Our mind is a powerful tool.  We can convince ourselves of a lot of things.  In this episode we explore the possibilities of how our perspective might impact our present and future actions.

“To change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions.” ― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.  – Marcus Aurelius 

“The fear of appearances is the first symptom of impotence.” 
― Fyodor DostoyevskyCrime and Punishment

Psalm 23:4-5a  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me;  your rod and your staff— they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me  in the presence of my enemies; (NRSV)


Will we focus on the enemy that is present or the provisions?  We will focus on the dark valley or the reality of God’s presence with in in the valley?

Change our focus!  How?

Some advice form St. Paul

Changing our perspective is not denying the difficult realities.

rss subscribechicklet_itunes

022 – Should we drop the “D” from PTSD?


rss subscribechicklet_itunes

Does the “Disorder” word/idea get in the way of service members seeking help?  How do potential employers see service members when they are labeled with a disorder?  Does the stigma of being labeled with a “disorder” really impacted those dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress?

 In today’s episode we will discuss:

  •                David’s health update
  •                Dropping the D from PTSD

 Why the delay since the last show?

The last few weeks, with the heart attack in mind, I have been diligently working on my health.  Listen to learn how diabetes is being defeated!

Change to the to:

  •                Post-Traumatic Stress
  •                Post-Traumatic Stress Injury

Why consider the name change?

  • Unlike other mental health conditions it requires on outside force to create the problem
  • “Disorder” carries a stigma
  • “Disorder” implies life long programs
  • Soldiers, especially young Soldiers, believed reluctant to seek help for a mental “disorder”.
  • Consider Dr. Dave Grossman and his view on PTS/D from his gook “On Combat”.
  • Concern over employers not hieing veterans with a mental health disorder.

Some concerns of why NOT to drop the D:

  • Compensation concerns
  • Insurance coverage concerns

Articles for further exploration of the topic:

 Your thoughts!  What to you think about the possibility of droping the “D” from PTSD?