Our brain cells ‘talk’ to each other via important chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters. We call them ‘brain-fuels’.
Adequate levels of brain-fuels are vital for both the brain, and body, to operate well. If they become excessively depleted there is widespread dysfunction.
Normal depletion and repletion of brain-fuels
We deplete our brain fuels every day, then replete them by night with quality therapeutic sleep, and relaxation.
(See Fig right).
Stress and the depletion of brain-fuels
Excessive stress, accentuates our depletion of brain-fuels; and inhibits their replenishment by upsetting our sleep/relaxation pattern. Our brain-fuel levels are depleted in two ways: excessive depletion and insufficient repletion.
(See Fig left)
The result, if the stress is significant and/or long-term, is a change from brain cells with healthy levels of brain-fuels (1st Fig below) to brain cells with much depleted levels (2nd Fig below). These brain cells are dysfunctional.
‘High Achievers’ – people who are ‘Doers’, ‘Perfectionists’, ‘Carers’, very creative or Elite Performers are predisposed to depleting their brain-fuels. We call these people ‘Big Brain-Fuel Users’.
When neurotransmission (the transfer of messages from one brain cell to the next) is impaired like this, the messages are much less coherent, and so the function of the whole neuronal network is compromised.
The Brain-Fuel Depletion model is based on two pillars (see Fig below); evidence that affected people have:
- Low levels of neurotransmitters – This deficiency affects our thinking, and important brain centres that need lots of brain-fuel, and
- High levels of adrenaline – Resulting in an ever-alert, ‘adrenalised’ brain and body. Energy is sapped, and anxiety and insomnia result, along with other ill-effects.
Adrenaline is our ‘fight or flight’ hormone. It’s responsible for most of the distressing symptoms of this condition including:
- Inappropriate anxiety and panic attacks,
- Insomnia, and
- Anger/frustration /irritability (‘fight’); and being remote or withdrawn (‘flight’).