Stress Tolerance: Patterns
Most people can handle
the stresses of modern life, stresses considered normal in our society, without
developing any problems. But about ten percent of our population
cannot handle these stresses.
ONE IN TEN PERSONS IS FUNCTIONING IN OVERSTRESS
RIGHT NOW-AT STRESS LEVELS THE OTHER NINE HANDLE WITHOUT ANY PROBLEM.
The reason these people
are more susceptible to stress is that they have inherited a Low
Stress Tolerance. These
persons develop Happy Messenger failure at levels of stress that
others handle with ease. For a person with this inherited problem,
150 on the stress scale is enough to affect Happy Messenger function,
and cause OVERSTRESS. For most people, OVERSTRESS may be a
temporary condition, but for these ten percent of persons, OVERSTRESS
is a life-long problem. In our society, if you cannot handle
a 150 stress level, you will be in OVERSTRESS forever.
Such persons typically
show signs of OVERSTRESS when they approach their teen years. As we have seen, the teen
years are one of the most stressful times in a persons life. When
a child who inherits a Low Stress Tolerance enters the teen years,
fatigue, sleep problems, depression, crying spells, and anxiety may
The teenager will begin
to rely on Pick-Me-Ups
as medicines to make him or her feel better. Patterns
of bingeing or maintenance with Pick-Me-Ups will be established. And
the person will often by stuck for the rest of his or her life on
the wild roller coaster.
.A host of
stressors on the other hand, balanced by alcohol, sugar, caffeine,
and an army
of Pick-Me-Ups on the other. It is a constant juggling
act which serves to partially normalize brain function for a few
hours, followed by a crash, and then more Pick-Me-Up medicine
This low Stress Tolerance
is an inherited characteristic, and runs very strongly in families. If you keep in mind the
broad range of Pick-Me-Ups that people use, it is very easy
to spot families where Pick-Me-Up use is rampant. Since the
inherited problem is Low Stress Tolerance, you will see numerous
family members with signs of OVERSTRESS: sleep problems, fatigue,
depression, anxiety, all occurring at stress levels that appear normal in
our society. Most of the members of the family will have learned
to treat themselves with some type of Pick-Me-Up. They
will use their Pick-Me-Up in either a binge or maintenance style.
Thus, the person you
are talking to may be complaining of fatigue, crying, being overwhelmed
by life, or anxiety attacks. One
or both parents may have been an alcoholic (more often the part of
the same sex), a brother may be a workaholic. Someone else
in the family may have stopped drinking alcohol but smokes three
packs per day, eats ice cream, sweets, and coffee all day long. The
variations are endless, but the findings are the same. Pick-Me-Up
use runs rampant in many families, practically non-existent in others.
But, you may ask, how
do we know that this is an inherited problem? How do we know that
the extensive use of Pick-Me-Ups
in the family is not caused by the family environment? Wouldn't
it be plausible that an alcoholic father would have an alcoholic
son because the son would have learned to drink alcohol? wouldn't
it be plausible that families that use Pick-Me-Ups teach their
children to use Pick-Me-Ups also?
A very interesting study
has been done looking at children who were given up for adoption
at birth. Thousands
of children were involved. These children were placed in new
homes right after they were born. They never knew their biological
parents. The topic of the study was the pattern of the use
of the Pick-Me-Up, alcohol.
The study produced several
surprising findings. The
first was that children who did not have an alcoholic biologic parent
were not likely to become alcoholics, even if they were raised by
alcoholic adoptive parents. Thus, merely being raised by an
alcoholic in no way caused children to become alcoholics.
On the other hand, sons
whose biological fathers were alcoholics, were nine times more
likely to be alcoholics. And
daughters whose biological mothers were alcoholic were three times
more likely to become alcoholicseven though the children knew
nothing about their biological parents.
This study on adopted
children has been interpreted to show that alcoholism is an inherited
disease. What it actually
shows, however, is that Low Stress Tolerance is an inherited condition. Alcoholism is
not the disease, it is merely the major Pick-Me-Up that the person
is using to try to medicate himself.
In previous years, it
was not recognized that the various Pick-Me-Ups work in a similar fashion. These
Pick-Me-Ups serve as medicines that a person uses
to try to make himself/herself feel more normal again. All
the Pick-Me-Ups work by temporarily boosting the function of
Happy Messengers. Since this common mechanism of action is
still not widely recognized, it is common to hear people speak of
the use of a specific Pick-Me-Up as a disease in-and-of
For instance, people
talk about alcoholics,
and the disease of alcoholism. They speak of workaholics, compulsive
gamblers, compulsive eaters, and cocaine
addicts, as if the use of each specific Pick-Me-Up is a separate
disease. In reality, most of these persons have the same underlying
problem: an OVERSTRESS which makes them feel ill, and for which they
are attempting to treat themselves with some form of Pick-Me-Up. These
persons are merely trying to cope, as best they can, with OVERSTRESS.
SOURCE: (This landmark study
can be found in the literature under Bohman, Inheritance
of Alcoholism: cross fostering analysis of adopted men, Arch
of Gen Psychiatry 1981, vol. 38 pp. 861-868; See also volume pp.
968-969 for cross fostering analysis of adopted