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What is the Connection Between Childhood Trauma and Autoimmune Disease?

I made the connection in my mind between unresolved, childhood trauma, and these, autoimmune, problems.  What I mean by unresolved is that the, trauma, is continuing to loop.  The people are continuing to experience it as when the, trauma, was active, that creates, inflammation, in the body. The, inflammation, then compromises your, immune system, and your, neurotransmitters. If your, immune system, is compromised like it was with my daughter, the, inflammation, stays active. Inflammation, is basically a temporary pause in the system to protect the system against a threat.

Listen to the Full Interview Here 

Introduction to Childhood Trauma and Autoimmune Disease

Bio

  • Dr. Don Wood, PhD developed the TIPP method after spending years researching how atmospheric conditions™ affect our minds and impact our lives.  He went back to school later in life to get his PhD in clinical counseling and psychology, to learn how to heal his daughter’s Crohn’s disease and his wife’s autoimmune disease. Dr Wood says Both my wife and daughter experienced childhood trauma and I saw how it affected their life, including their health. They both had developed autoimmune disorders.” The TIPP program developed by Dr. Wood has benefited individuals all over the world. “ Dr. Wood is the author two books “You Must be out of your Mind” and “Emotional Concussions”, are focused on how we can all make the desired changes by allowing our mind to reset and reboot.
Dr Don Wood Childhood Trauma and Autoimmune Disease
Dr Don Wood Childhood Trauma and Autoimmune Disease

Myrna: I just finished reading the book “What Happened to You” by Dr Perry and Oprah Winfrey.   It is a profound book on, childhood trauma, which is where we're going to be spending some time on today. That book focused on the results of, childhood trauma, on, mental health, and relationships.  I don't think I've ever read a book that so clearly links what happened to us as children to how we live life as adults. I've had a lot of guests on the Transform Your Mind talk show, talk about, trauma, and it's link to substance abuse and drug use etc., but this is the first time I am hearing a connection of, childhood trauma, to, autoimmune disorders and, Crohn's disease.

So, I want to start off by putting a pin on something you said in your bio. You said that you went back to school later in life to get your PhD in Clinical Counseling and Psychology, to learn how to heal your daughter's, Crohn's disease, and your wife's, autoimmune disease. You also said that, childhood trauma, were the causes for both, inflammation. Can you share what you found is the connection between, childhood trauma, and, autoimmune disease?

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Childhood Trauma lead to Crohn's disease

Dr Wood: Absolutely! It was really because of my daughter. My wife, when I met her, I realized she was living in a very different household than I grew up in. She had a very traumatic childhood with a very disruptive father, and so she developed Hashimoto’s (which is a thyroid disorder). She was in a constant state of, fight or flight, and it wasn't until my daughter was diagnosed with, Crohn’s disease, at age 14 that we then started to look for answers for her.

She was just basically told to get rid of gluten and dairy and change her diet, they really had no answer. When she was 16, she disclosed to us some, childhood trauma, that she'd experienced between the ages of six and eight that we were unaware of. I usually sometimes don't talk about this, but she actually had a second, autoimmune disorder, called Idiopathic Pulmonary Hemosiderosis; which is just a long form. It's a long name. Basically, it's another, autoimmune disease, that affects the lungs and the iron in the lungs. It causes the lungs to bleed out and basically that could be a death sentence.  One out of 1.2 million people get it and a fair percentage of them die from it within five years.

That is really what started me looking for answers. I made the connection in my mind between unresolved, childhood trauma and these, autoimmune, problems.  What I mean by unresolved is that the, childhood trauma, is continuing to loop.  The people are continuing to experience it as when the, trauma, was active, that creates, inflammation, in the body. The, inflammation, then compromises your, immune system, and your, neurotransmitters. If your, immune system, is compromised like it was with my daughters, the, inflammation, stays active. Inflammation, is basically a temporary pause in the system to protect the system against a threat.

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If Childhood Trauma is not addressed it becomes inflammation

The problem for my daughter was that the threat continued because the memory of her, childhood trauma, was looping and continued to stay active. What I believe is the connection between these, autoimmune, issues is if you don't resolve that, trauma, it just continues.  The, inflammation,  for my daughter showed up in her intestinal area. There are a lot of people who have ended up with,  Crohn’s disease, colitis,  and, IBD, because of, inflammation, from, trauma.  The cells go into a cell danger response, so they basically become hardened, enlarged and inflamed to protect the system temporarily until the danger passes.  Then the, immune system, comes in, cleans up and takes over.

For my daughter, it didn't fix because she constantly was feeling the experiences from the result of her, childhood trauma. It stayed in this active cell danger response, but after we got the, trauma, resolved for my daughter, she hasn't had a, Crohn’s,  flare-up. There's no other explanation in my mind that why her, Crohn’s, would stop and her idiopathic pulmonary issues also stopped. There was where I made the connection between the two.

Myrna: The connection between the, Crohn’s disease, I understand, because a lot of times when we're in, fight or flight, or when we're nervous or anything, we feel it in our gut, so that's definitely understandable.

Dr Wood: Crohn’s disease, can be sometimes called Creatural Bowel Syndrome, you feel it in your gut.  I understand that part because you're always tense, and you’re always nervous.

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Autoimmune Disease and the Fight or Flight Response

Myrna: That's definitely a, fight or flight, response. Now, did you understand why your wife's, autoimmune disorder, showed up in her lungs which a a weird place to get it? What does the breath, the lungs and the iron in the lungs has to do with your, autoimmune? Tell us what's going on there again.

Dr Wood: I just believe it's coming down to, inflammation, so it shows up genetically different in different people. For my daughter, it ended up in her lower intestinal area. She also ended up with, inflammation, in her lungs as well. My wife ended up with a, thyroid disorder. I think it just shows up depending on where your weakest link is in your system. That's why it shows up in different places for different people.

Myrna: Now, you mentioned specifically that your daughter's, childhood trauma, happened between the ages of six and eight. Did you adopt her or something?

Dr Wood: No, she is our biological child. There was another young girl in the neighborhood that was a little older that had been abusing her.  We were unaware. We thought she was just like a big sister and so she had been abusing her and we didn't know about it, and then we moved. The abuse stopped obviously because we moved, and then when she was 16, my daughter disclosed it to us and then by now she's got,  Crohn’s disease. Again, we hadn't quite made that connection yet, because we were told by the doctors that, she's just have to learn to live with, Crohn’s disease. She'd eventually have to have four surgeries done where they had to literally go in and cut out pieces.

She really suffered and they said eventually she'll just end up with a colostomy bag. That's why my wife did all kinds of research and everything that she was learning was teaching people to live, manage and cope with, Crohn's, but not fix it, because they say there's no cure for, Crohn’s.

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What does Regulate Mean?

Myrna: If you're having, autoimmune disorders, then you might want to look at the fact that you might have unresolved, childhood trauma.  There is a host of people that has unresolved, childhood trauma.

Dr Wood: My wife didn't have a safe place and there was no safe landing place. So, she constantly stayed in this state of fear so she couldn't, regulate.

Myrna: Regulate,  that's Dr. Perry's favorite word. Regulate, is new word for me.

Dr Wood: Yes, we all need to, regulate.  We need to find a way to cope either by listening to music or something else.

Myrna: Yes. I mean, I didn't understand what that meant, but now it's one of my new words in my vocabulary. I understand what, regulate, means, but maybe you might want to explain it to our listeners and readers.

Dr Wood: Sure. I know you had mentioned the, Vagus nerve. The, Vagus nerve, is either going to activate your, sympathetic nervous system, or, parasympathetic nervous system. Your, sympathetic nervous system, is your, fight or flight, and your, parasympathetic nervous system, is your rest and digest. The idea behind it is, if there's a constant threat going on your mind (like feeling unsafe), your, sympathetic nervous system, is going to be constantly activated.  Eighty percent of the messaging from the, Vagus nerve, comes from the stomach, where all that, inflammation, starts coming in.  They say your, gut, is your second brain and is sending information to the brain that there's something wrong and we're in stress all day long. Then the, inflammation, comes in and the rest and digest goes out the door. The, parasympathetic nervous system, is now turned off and is responding from the, sympathetic nervous system.

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The Parasympathetic Nervous System and Childhood Trauma

The idea behind it is when you're in, regulation, that, sympathetic, responds to a threat that is current and, parasympathetic,  is what you're supposed to be in most of the time. The problem coming is that, childhood trauma, continues to activate that, Vagus nerve, sympathetic nervous system, because the mind glitches. Actually, I call it an error message. Your mind thinks the memory is still real, because it sees it in real time and so it's activating that system to try to protect you even though there's nothing happening. It's just information about something that happened in your past.

Myrna: That's why we develop, autoimmune disorder, because we are constantly in, fight or flight, mode.

Dr Wood: One of the things that was difficult for my wife, I couldn't understand why. Even though, she was living in my world now, we were doing well, we had a beautiful home with three beautiful children; yet she wasn't enjoying it. She couldn't relax and enjoy it, she was constantly preparing for the trouble to come.  As a child her father would always cause her pain.

She learned that good times end and they end really quickly. She never wanted to get into that position of getting her hopes up that things were going to be okay, because her experiences which I call her ‘atmospheric conditions’ had been very dark and stormy. So, she's expecting the storm and don't want to start feeling safe. It was the loops our program can fix. We don't need to live and manage with it, we can actually fix it.

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Childhood Trauma is like Rust

Myrna: You said that people that experience symptoms from unresolved, childhood  trauma, such as, addiction, PTSD, anxiety, achieving peak performance of the sport, business center, relationships.  You say to think of those unresolved, childhood trauma, as rust and you said that most programs and therapies solution is to paint a cover over the rust whereas your program; the, TIPP program, removes the rust altogether. Now, this is your opportunity to tell us. What does, Tipp, stand for and what does it do?

Dr Wood: Tipp, stands for The, Inspired Performance Program. The reason we called it performance and not ‘trauma therapy’ was because I start off with the premise that there's nothing wrong with anybody. There's nothing wrong with anybody's mind. Your mind is filtering through your unique set of experiences to respond to your current present situation and so when you talked about the rust, what I say is, if you just paint over the rust, the rust will bubble up through the paint.

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What is the TIPP Program to cure Childhood Trauma

Eventually, the key is to sit it down, prime it and then paint it and then the rust is gone. That's what we do. What we do with, TIPP.  I take you through a process. It's a four hour process that we basically reboot and refresh that old traumatic memory. The best way to explain it to you and people who are listening to this is that you can do this along with this, is I'll say can you remember what you ate for dinner last night? So, I ask you Myrna, can you remember what you ate for dinner last night?

Myrna: Yes. I had rice and beans with something that we call tripe.

Dr Wood: Okay. When you're looking at this, you'll notice that you looked up and when you looked up you saw pictures of what you ate, right? That's how you stored the information about dinner last night. No other animal does that, only humans store that kind of explicit detail about events and experiences. Now your survival brain is operating about 95 of everything for you. Your survival brain is fully present and in the moment now, when we have a traumatic event all your senses are heightened, sight, smell and hearing.

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PTSD and Childhood Trauma

How's it going to record that very bright and very intense with a tremendous amount of data brought in? Can you see where this glitch is going to come in now? If for some reason your mind accesses that memory that was traumatic and it sees all that intensity and high definition to it, what does it think it's happening? Right now. If you're in a threatening situation, doesn't it make sense that all of a sudden your, sympathetic nervous system, would engage your heart, your heart would start racing and you would go into that kind of a response. Even though there's no threat, it's just information about a threat that's, post traumatic stress. The person is constantly reliving through that memory and experiencing, PTSD.

What we do in our program is we're going to take that high definition traumatic memory and get your mind to reprocess that into the same format as to what you ate for dinner last night and takes a lot of that intensity out of it. Now, when you recall it, your mind doesn't call for the action, because when you have an emotion, the purpose of an emotion is a call for an action. The purpose of fear is to escape a threat and the purpose of anger is to attack a threat.

Myrna: Your, Tipp program, also helps people by rebooting, panic attacks, and anxiety.

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The Vegas Nerve and Panic Attacks

Dr Wood: It works the same way. If I can think, it will be the panic attack and anxiety, is the, fight-or-flight, response to this memory, right? So, panic attacks, are actually a combination of the emotional and physical. The mind is feeling threatened for some reason, but it can't find the danger and then what happens is it starts to activate your nervous system.

Now, your brain starts getting messages from the, Vagus nerve, from the system saying we're running low on oxygen, the brain is like there's going to be a lion around here, but I can't see the lion. Then the body starts sending messages like our Co2 has changed, our oxygen level has changed and so all of those signals come into the brain when the brain is already feeling a stress response; it then goes into a, panic attack.

So, I wrote a patent for a band that you can wear on your wrist to detect a, panic attack, coming up to an hour before the, panic attack, start. The mind is doing this constant search looking for a problem that it can't find, starts to activate the nervous system which then starts sending messages to the brain and it's happening up to an hour before the, panic attack, happens.

But, people think the, panic attack, can come on suddenly, but it is starting an hour before. The idea behind this band is that, the band will detect when the mind is starting to do that thing and then what I teach you in our, TIPP program, is how to shut it down.

Myrna: I love our conversation. I now see why you're a podcast favorite, because this is good Stuff.

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What are Emotional Concussions?

Dr Wood: The second book I wrote was called “Emotional Concussions”. Exactly those kinds of things that are not the big “T” traumas.

  • They're like that coach that told you you're never going to be good enough.
  • The teacher that told you you're not smart enough,
  • the parent that said you'll never make it give that whole plan up, you're not going to make it.
  • Those are, emotional concussions, that can keep looping for 40 years.

Myrna: Your new book is called “You must be out of your mind, we all need a Reboot”, so tell us about your book. Why you wrote the book and what's basically the message that you're sending out?

Dr Wood: The first book was written really about the, Tipp program, and how it was developed. I talked about how my daughter and my wife were living this life. The only solution had been medical, give them prescriptions and medications and that led me on the search to try to find what I discovered – that this, childhood trauma, is what was continually activating their nervous system which was then creating their issues. So, that's why I said we all need to reboot, we got to get you out of that mind, we've got to reboot that mind and reset it to its original manufacture settings.

Everybody can benefit from this reboot, because like I said, the highest performing people when we have this unresolved, trauma, not only does it affect the mind, it affects the body and it actually affects our energy.

Myrna: Tell our listeners how they can connect with you and pick up copies your books.

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Conclusion to Childhood Trauma and Autoimmune Disease

Dr Wood: They can either do it two different ways: go to get the,  Tipp program, at gettipp.com . You'll get the information on the program. You can either do it digitally online or in person. I take you through the whole four hour program online or you can come and personally see me for a one-on-one experience.

Head over to https://www.gettipp.com/transform for a discount.

Myrna: Everybody has been talking about mindfulness and meditation and I'm not sure how that relates to, trauma.

I know that's how I find my peace, but whatever, trauma, I had, if I had any it's been long removed, but I do practice my self-care meditation. I, regulate, myself, I didn't even know that's what I was doing, but I, regulate, myself by walking 5k every day. You know what I mean, that's all part of, regulation, so absolutely yes a lot of those things that you can do to sort of help as well.

Thank you guys for tuning in to the Transform Your Mind to Transform Real Life Radio podcast and television show. If you have not done so and you're listening to this on iTunes, please subscribe and leave a review. I bring you great quality guests like Dr. Wood every week as we try to transform your mind so that you can transform your life.

Until next time, blessings.

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