The Childhood Trauma Doctor: Childhood Trauma Causes Parkinson’s! Don’t Ruin Your Kids! Paul Conti

The Childhood Trauma Doctor: Childhood Trauma Causes Parkinson’s! Don’t Ruin Your Kids! Paul Conti

Intro (00:00:00)

  • Trauma is like a virus that can be passed down to children, even if they are not born until years later.
  • Trauma can change the expression of our genes.
  • Over half of the population has experienced some form of trauma.
  • Trauma can cause brain changes, accelerate aging, and lead to depression, addiction, and Parkinson's disease.
  • Modern science acknowledges the role of trauma in these conditions, yet we rely on pills that may have severe side effects.
  • Curiosity is key to understanding and addressing trauma.
  • The show has reached five million subscribers on YouTube, exceeding expectations.
  • A surprise is in store for subscribers in 2024, with improved production, guests, and global stories.

The Invisible Epidemic (00:02:41)

  • Trauma is the root cause of many mental health issues, such as depression, addiction, and panic.
  • Trauma can be acute or chronic, and it changes the brain, leading to various health problems.
  • The epidemic of trauma affects physical and mental health, but it often goes unrecognized.
  • Trauma can cause guilt and shame, leading people to hide their experiences and avoid seeking help.

What Percentage of the Population Has Traumas? (00:04:48)

  • It is estimated that a significant portion of the population, likely more than one in five, has experienced some form of trauma.
  • Trauma can have a negative impact on both mental health and physical health, including increasing the risk of developing various illnesses and accelerating the aging process.
  • The effects of trauma are real and tangible, causing individuals to age faster than their calendar age and increasing their risk of premature death.
  • Modern science, including neurobiology and psychiatry, has confirmed the impact of trauma on individuals.
  • Despite this knowledge, society is not always fully aware of the prevalence and consequences of trauma, making it important to spread awareness about it.

Your Brother's Suicide (00:07:15)

  • The speaker's brother died by suicide at the age of 20, which had a profound impact on the speaker and their family.
  • The speaker felt guilt and shame after their brother's death and started behaving in unhealthy ways, such as drinking too much and engaging in unhealthy friendships and relationships.
  • The speaker realized that they were different after the trauma and felt cursed, believing that bad things would always happen to them.
  • The speaker left their business career, went back to college, and eventually became a psychiatrist to better understand how the brain works and how it affects our thoughts and behavior.
  • At the time of their brother's death, the speaker did not process or deal with the loss in a healthy way due to the lack of open communication and support in their family.
  • It took the speaker a long time to seek professional help, but they eventually found a therapist who helped them normalize their feelings and put their experiences into perspective.
  • Childhood trauma can cause various illnesses in the body, including Parkinson's disease.
  • Trauma can impact the entire family, leading to lasting effects such as depression and isolation.
  • The guilt and shame associated with trauma can be overwhelming and prevent individuals from seeking help.
  • Lack of support resources for individuals who have experienced trauma can exacerbate the negative effects.
  • Trauma can predispose individuals to immune system dysfunction and increase the risk of developing autoimmune diseases, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Early death can be linked to trauma due to its impact on the immune system.
  • Trauma can lead to substance abuse and suicidal tendencies as coping mechanisms.
  • The message conveyed is based on scientific evidence and emphasizes the potential for change and healing.
  • Over 50% of complaints brought to physical medicine doctors are related to mental health, with a significant portion stemming from trauma.

How Trauma Speeds Up Your Ageing (00:13:11)

  • Trauma accelerates the aging process through cellular mechanisms.
  • Biological age differs from calendar age.
  • People who experience trauma may appear older than their chronological age based on cellular aging mechanisms.
  • Trauma changes the brain and leads to post-traumatic stress syndrome.

How Trauma Affects Us at a Cellular Level (00:15:07)

  • Trauma creates an unhealthy internal environment within the person.
  • Inflammatory signaling markers impact cellular function, causing cells to die earlier.
  • Neurotransmission, anxiety, and tension states affect cellular aging.
  • The environment in which the body's aging machinery operates influences the rate of aging.
  • Trauma alters the environment, leading to more rapid deterioration, similar to how a car ages differently in harsh environments.

Trauma Leads to Early Death (00:16:25)

  • A study by the British medical journal found that adults who experience sexual abuse by the age of 16 have 2.6 times the chance of dying in middle age than those who didn't.
  • Trauma can result in physical diseases like autoimmune disorders, arthritis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and Parkinson's disease.
  • Trauma changes gene transcription, making healthier genes less likely to be active and unhealthier genes more likely to be active.
  • This can lead to changes in blood vessel health, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • The immune system becomes more activated and more likely to attack itself, increasing the risk of autoimmune diseases.
  • Trauma also leads to changes in behavior, such as higher risks of depression, addiction, impulsive behaviors, and risk-taking behaviors.
  • All of these factors contribute to the increased risk of death in people who have experienced trauma.

Is There Anything Killing More Than Trauma? (00:18:37)

  • Trauma is a root cause of many deaths, even if it is not always listed as the cause of death on death certificates.
  • People who have experienced trauma are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as driving recklessly or not taking care of their health, which can lead to accidents, heart attacks, and other health problems.
  • Trauma can also lead to chronic stress, which can weaken the immune system and make people more susceptible to disease.
  • The impact of trauma on health and well-being is significant and should be recognized and addressed.

The Different Types of Trauma (00:19:51)

  • Trauma is anything that overwhelms our coping mechanisms and causes changes in the brain.
  • Trauma can be categorized into three types: acute, chronic, and vicarious.
  • Acute trauma is a sudden, intense event, such as a car accident or combat trauma.
  • Chronic trauma is repeated, long-term stress, such as racism, sexism, or bullying.
  • Vicarious trauma is trauma that is experienced indirectly, such as through hearing about or witnessing someone else's trauma.
  • All types of trauma can lead to the same brain changes, but people have different levels of susceptibility to trauma.
  • Factors such as genetics, life experiences, and early childhood experiences can affect a person's susceptibility to trauma.
  • The multiple hit hypothesis suggests that a person may experience multiple traumas, and the final trauma, even if it is mild compared to previous traumas, may be the one that causes brain changes.

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Weaker (00:24:22)

  • The hypothesis that "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger" is incorrect.
  • What doesn't kill us often makes us weaker.
  • We need to be attentive to what hurts us but doesn't kill us to prevent becoming weaker.
  • Experiencing trauma can make us more susceptible to future traumas.
  • The variables of life matter in how individuals are affected by trauma.
  • Economic circumstances can impact how children are affected by trauma.
  • Nature and nurture play a role in how individuals respond to trauma.
  • Some people are more sensitive and attuned to their emotions and surroundings, while others are less aware of these things.
  • People who are more attuned to their emotions may register more negative things, such as subtle expressions of prejudice.

Why Some People Experience Trauma Stronger Than Others (00:27:06)

  • Genetics can play a role in how individuals respond to trauma, especially in cases like alcoholism.
  • Personality structure and coping mechanisms can also influence how a person experiences trauma.
  • Social circumstances and modeling of behavior can impact an individual's response to trauma.
  • Understanding an individual's history, including family history, genetics, and formative life experiences, is crucial for comprehending how trauma affects them.
  • Mental health evaluations should consider an individual's history to determine the impact of trauma and develop appropriate treatments.
  • Studies have shown that stressors can predispose individuals to developing schizophrenia, with higher incidence rates among immigrants who integrated into new communities compared to those living in primarily immigrant communities.
  • The feeling of otherness and the challenges of integrating into a different society may contribute to increased susceptibility to schizophrenia.

The Impact of Being Different (00:30:43)

  • Otherness is a sense of difference that involves being seen as less than or having limited opportunities.
  • Otherness can lead to isolation and tension, making individuals feel unsafe and invalidated.
  • Children of immigrant communities often integrate, but initially, they stay together for validation.
  • First-generation immigrants may feel a strong sense of otherness, which can impact their susceptibility to illnesses.
  • Subtle prejudices and discrimination can harm individuals and make it harder for them to navigate the world.
  • Experiences of otherness and vulnerability contribute to chronic traumatic brain changes.

Developing Trauma Later in Life (00:33:30)

  • Childhood trauma is important because the brain is still developing and can be changed by trauma.
  • Trauma can be experienced at any age, but the earlier in life, the more impactful it is.
  • Childhood trauma can impact a child's sense of self and lead to increased burdens of illness and decreased role performance in adulthood.
  • Trauma can be passed on to subsequent generations through epigenetics, which is the study of how life experiences can change the expression of genes.

How Do We Know If Trauma Is Being Passed On? (00:36:57)

  • Genes are not just passed on as they are, but their expression can be changed by life experiences.
  • A study on mice showed that fear can be passed on to offspring through genetic expression.
  • Children of Holocaust survivors have higher levels of anxiety and anxiety spectrum illnesses due to genetic expression changes caused by the Holocaust experience.
  • It is important to consider a person's life narrative and the experiences of their parents to understand their genetic expression and mental health.
  • Building a narrative of one's life can help in self-understanding and elucidating mental health issues.

Do We Need to Understand Our Parents' Trauma to Understand Ours? (00:40:31)

  • Trauma can be spread vicariously to others and down through the family tree via epigenetics and genes.
  • Trauma is often hidden inside the person and can cause pervasive symptoms that impact their well-being.
  • Trauma can be compared to an abscess in the body, where the infection is walled off but still causes symptoms.
  • Symptoms of trauma can include shorter tempers, anxiety, anger, depression, sleep problems, and impulsivity.
  • Post-trauma syndromes are ways to recognize changes in ourselves caused by trauma, such as changes in mood, sleep, physical health, and comfort in the world.
  • Changes in behavior, such as avoiding places where one could meet a relationship partner, can indicate post-trauma syndrome.

Post-Trauma Syndrome (00:44:58)

  • Panic attacks, alcohol abuse, and depression can be symptoms of post-trauma syndrome.
  • Looking beyond surface-level symptoms is important to understand the root causes of these issues.
  • Depression and behavioral changes may be linked to trauma, especially if they occur around the same time as a traumatic event.

How to Know If We Are Traumatised? (00:45:47)

  • Trauma can cause changes in behavior, which can be passed down to the next generation.
  • Subtle symptoms of trauma include phone addiction and video game addiction.
  • Addictive behaviors are often used as an escape from trauma or to self-soothe.

Trauma Shows Up as Addiction (00:48:54)

  • Trauma can manifest as various addictive behaviors, including phone addiction.
  • Addictive behaviors may stem from a desire to escape underlying issues, such as childhood sexual abuse.
  • Individuals with trauma may engage in negative self-talk and feel disempowered.
  • Trauma can alter brain responses, leading to changes in social interactions and perception of others.
  • Subtle signs of trauma, such as decreased extroversion or social engagement, can be indicative of deeper problems.

What Tests Can Be Done to See If We Have Trauma? (00:51:54)

  • Brain biology and psychological experiments can be used to assess the impact of trauma on an individual's perception and behavior.
  • Trauma can narrow an individual's perspective and cause them to focus on immediate stressors, such as an elephant standing on their foot.
  • Soothing mechanisms, such as drinking alcohol, can be attempts at self-care rather than self-destruction.

Self-Destructive Shooting Methods (00:52:48)

  • People may turn to short-term soothing mechanisms due to desperation and lack of perspective.
  • Unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as excess eating and alcohol abuse, can become ingrained due to their immediate soothing effects.
  • Opiates are powerful psychoactive medicines that rapidly soothe psychic distress but carry a high risk of long-term danger and death.
  • The opiate epidemic began with the prescription of opiates in pill form for chronic pain conditions.
  • Opiates are not effective for chronic pain management as they quickly build tolerance and addiction, suppress breathing drive, and have immense risks.

People Are Dying from Prescribed Meds (00:56:09)

  • Short-term thinking in society leads to the overprescription of pain medication, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths from prescribed opiates.
  • Trauma has physiological consequences that change the brain.

How Does Trauma Change Our Brains? (00:58:14)

  • Brain scans of traumatized individuals show changes in brain connectivity, with pathways involved in trust and safety becoming less prominent, while pathways associated with vigilance and fear become more activated.
  • Mood regulation areas of the brain may also be affected, leading to depression.
  • Cognitive blind spots can occur when individuals internalize lessons from trauma that are not true, leading to changes in how they think about themselves and the world.
  • These cognitive blind spots make it difficult to think accurately about possibilities.

Trauma Creates Cognitive Blind Spots in Our Brain (00:59:53)

  • Childhood trauma can create cognitive blind spots in our brain, affecting our thoughts, behaviors, and life choices.
  • These blind spots are formed early in life and are difficult to unlearn as the brain doesn't revisit and correct them.
  • People who experience childhood trauma may internalize negative beliefs about themselves, such as "I'm not worthy of love" or "I can't succeed," which can lead to self-sabotaging behaviors and avoidance of opportunities.
  • Revisiting and challenging these early lessons can lead to significant positive changes in a person's life.
  • People who experience childhood trauma may be drawn to familiar, even if unhealthy, situations or relationships in adulthood.
  • This is because they are trying to gain a sense of mastery over situations where they previously had no control.
  • Repeating negative patterns can be an attempt to gain control and understanding of past experiences.

We Tend to Seek What Harms Us in Order to Fix It (01:03:50)

  • People tend to seek out what harms them in order to fix it due to a sense of control.
  • Individuals may choose partners who are inattentive or violent, similar to their past experiences, in an attempt to soothe the pain of the past.
  • Trauma can make people feel like victims, leading to a sense of otherness and internalized victimhood.
  • Internalized victimhood can also lead to feelings of guilt and shame, perpetuating the cycle of trauma.

Becoming Addicted to Our Victimhood (01:06:25)

  • The lymbic system, or emotion system, in the brain always rules over logic when the two come face to face.
  • Trauma can drive people to seek out unhealthy relationships in an attempt to gain mastery and solve their past trauma.
  • Repetition of unhealthy relationships occurs because the lymbic system needs to feel different and solve trauma by gaining mastery.

What's the Role of the Limbic System in Our Traumas? (01:08:03)

  • The limbic system is involved in trauma responses.
  • Trauma can cause the limbic system to override logical thinking, leading to repetitive negative patterns.
  • The limbic system is not inherently against us but may not be well-suited for the modern world.
  • Negative experiences have more salience and create stronger lessons for survival.
  • Systems that evolved to keep us safe can work against us in modern contexts, such as causing panic attacks when leaving the front door.
  • Shame is a primary affect that serves a survival purpose.
  • Shame can change behavior because it feels so bad.

Shame Keeps Us Alive (01:11:37)

  • Shame is an adaptive emotion that alters behavior to keep us alive.
  • In the past, shame prevented individuals from engaging in behaviors that put the tribe at risk.
  • Modern problems, such as bullying and sexual assault, can trigger the same shame response as in ancient times, even though the circumstances are different.
  • The brain malfunctions and experiences shame, causing various negative consequences.
  • Shame can make victims of sexual assault feel ashamed of themselves, even though it was not their fault.

You Can Build a Different Story Around Your Shame (01:13:33)

  • Shame is created in us as a behavior-modifying response to a bad event.
  • We make meaning of our shame and build a story around it.
  • We can build a different story around our shame that makes sense and is helpful.
  • Shame can be adaptive and useful in certain situations, such as when it prevents us from repeating dangerous behaviors.
  • The way we treat people who have been through trauma can impact their brain changes and their experience of post-traumatic stress.

How You Are Treated Determines Whether a Situation Becomes Traumatic or Not (01:17:44)

  • A sense of otherness makes a person more susceptible to trauma.
  • A person who experiences combat trauma and does not receive a hero's welcome is at a greater risk for developing post-trauma syndromes.
  • Vulnerability and being open with others about feelings can alleviate shame.

How to Alleviate Our Shame (01:19:22)

  • Trauma leads to guilt and shame, which leads to hiding the trauma and cutting off human contact needed for processing.
  • Shame can prevent people from seeking compassion and support.
  • Shame can cause a cycle of trauma, where people who experience trauma suppress it, which changes their behavior, making them more likely to experience more trauma.

How Bringing Up the Trauma Helps (01:21:07)

  • Trauma work involves acknowledging and understanding the feelings of guilt and shame that arise from traumatic experiences.
  • By addressing the underlying trauma, individuals can prevent repeating unhealthy patterns and behaviors, such as choosing abusive partners.
  • Healing from trauma requires curiosity, self-understanding, and a willingness to change.
  • Understanding trauma can lead to positive outcomes, including improved health and well-being.
  • Sleep is often negatively impacted by trauma.
  • Changes in the brain caused by trauma make it harder for the brain to settle down and achieve restorative sleep.
  • Trauma can lead to fragmented sleep, shallower sleep, and difficulty falling asleep or waking up early.
  • Poor sleep has negative consequences for both physical and mental health.

The Link Between Sleep and Trauma (01:24:23)

  • Sleep patterns are dramatically changed after trauma.
  • People with trauma are in a higher state of arousal and alertness, which prevents the brain from fully restoring during sleep.
  • People with trauma may try to stimulate themselves to avoid ruminative thoughts, leading to further sleep disruption.
  • Sleep deprivation has negative effects on overall health.
  • Repetitive negative thoughts can interfere with sleep.

The Importance of Sitting Alone with Your Thoughts (01:26:04)

  • Some people are aware of their sleep problems, while others are not.
  • Asking about sleep problems can lead to identifying underlying trauma.
  • Avoidance behaviors, such as drinking alcohol to fall asleep, can perpetuate unhealthy sleep patterns.
  • Sleep problems are often not related to the sleep system but rather to vigilance and activation systems affected by trauma.
  • Trauma can cause agitation and a highly aroused state, making it difficult to settle down and fall asleep.

Sleep Problems Need to Be Urgently Addressed (01:28:43)

  • Sleep problems should not be immediately treated with sleeping medication as it can lead to addiction.
  • Instead, the underlying cause of sleep problems should be addressed, which is often trauma.
  • Trauma can disrupt the Sleep System, leading to chronic sleep problems.
  • Treating the trauma can resolve sleep problems without the need for long-term sleep medication.

Why You're Not Sleeping (01:30:09)

  • There is a link between weight and trauma.
  • Trauma makes it harder to take care of oneself, including healthy eating and exercise.
  • Poor self-care due to trauma can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of obesity-related diseases.
  • Trauma also causes inflammation in the body, which can contribute to weight gain and other health problems.

Link Between Weight and Trauma (01:31:26)

  • Trauma can lead to changes in the body that make it harder to lose weight.
  • Higher levels of inflammatory markers in the bloodstream can make it harder to lose weight.
  • The body starts holding on to more calories, and it becomes harder for blood vessels to stay healthy.
  • Knowledge and information can help people understand their trauma and make changes to improve their health.

Advice for People That Think They Can't Change (01:33:21)

  • People can change their lives even after experiencing trauma.
  • A woman in Paul Conti's book experienced a trauma that drastically changed her life for the worse.
  • She was willing to see the starkness of the change and hear Paul's observations and examples.
  • As a result, she was able to change her entire life and looked 10 years younger 10 years later.
  • Changing one's mindset requires retraining the mind, similar to how physical exercise retrains the body.
  • Memory connections are strengthened when a word is repeated multiple times, making it more likely to come to mind.
  • Over time, these connections weaken if the word is not repeated, leading to a decrease in its prominence in the mind.
  • Similarly, negative self-talk can be changed by retraining the mind to think more positively.

Training Your Brain (01:36:16)

  • Negative self-talk can become habitual and seem true, but it's important to recognize and challenge these thoughts.
  • Understanding the source of negative beliefs, such as childhood experiences, can help in reframing and weakening their hold.
  • Trauma can be attenuated over time by recognizing and acknowledging triggers without letting them control responses.
  • It's normal for traumatic memories to resurface, but the goal is to reduce their impact and not reinforce the trauma.

Can You Completely Get Rid of a Trauma? (01:38:40)

  • Even after working through trauma, certain triggers may still cause reactions.
  • It's important to acknowledge and accept these triggers without feeling discouraged or invalidating the progress made.
  • Recognizing the power of trauma imprints can help in understanding why certain thoughts and feelings persist.
  • Despite the persistence of triggers, it's crucial to remember that they don't necessarily reflect the truth and can be managed.

How to Stop Being Triggered by Trauma (01:39:39)

  • Lady Gaga wrote the forward for Dr. Conti's book and expressed gratitude for his help in understanding and overcoming her trauma.
  • Dr. Conti believes that trauma does not have to control us and that we can change our lives by understanding and working through it.

Saving Lady Gaga's Life (01:40:54)

  • Lady Gaga's story is an example of how trauma can be overcome and how people can change their lives.
  • Dr. Conti is grateful that Lady Gaga wrote the forward to his book and believes that her message of hope and change is important for everyone to hear.
  • Dr. Conti has worked with several celebrities who have sought his support in dealing with trauma and the stresses of public life.
  • He finds it rewarding to be able to help people who have a big impact on the world around them.
  • The podcast guest leaves a question for the next guest, which is "Erase one regret from your life."
  • Dr. Conti reflects on his own life and regrets not paying more attention to the world around him when he was younger.
  • He believes that this made it harder for him to find his path and contributed to his brother's suicide.

Last Guest Question (01:44:29)

  • The guest expresses gratitude for being on a path that leads to positive outcomes and generative productivity.
  • They reflect on the potential benefits of paying more attention to the bigger picture when they were younger, such as making better decisions and recognizing pathways that lead away from health and happiness.
  • They acknowledge the presence of good people and positive movements in their upbringing but suggest that looking around themselves more could have led to better outcomes for individuals and the community.
  • They express regret for not being more observant and aware of their surroundings during that time.
  • They praise Dr. Paul's commitment to spreading understanding and knowledge, emphasizing the potential impact of his work in saving and improving countless lives.
  • They highlight the significance of Dr. Paul's work in addressing internalized shame, guilt, and vicarious trauma, which can have generational effects.
  • They express gratitude on behalf of those who have been helped by Dr. Paul's work and acknowledge the pride that others would feel for his accomplishments.
  • They thank Dr. Paul for transforming his trauma into a healing and important force.

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