The Subconscious Rules the Roost

The Subconscious Rules the Roost

You have come off the phone from a conversation with a friend and your internal voice is raging at you. “You did it again! Why? Why? Why? I thought you said you wouldn’t do that again.” You feel angry with yourself, disappointed maybe, or even ashamed. You had promised yourself you would never EVER behave like that again. But you’ve just done it, yet again.


What is happening to you? Why can’t you react how you would like to in these situations? You have been over and over it again and again and it seems so simple but in the heat of the moment, it’s impossible. You react without thinking and before you know it have acted or said something that you wanted to avoid.


The above scenario is the result of the subconscious trying to protect us. The majority of our behaviour is controlled by the subconscious. It is automatic.


When you first learn to drive, you have to consciously think about all the mechanics of driving -changing gears, steering, controlling the speed. All your attention is focused on driving. But eventually, with repetition, it becomes automatic, and you are able to also focus on other things such as having a conversation whilst driving.


When you get into a different car and the indicator is on the right side of the steering wheel instead of the left, it takes a few goes at getting it wrong, and correcting yourself, to change the “indicator on the left” file to “indicator on the right”.


This scenario is not emotionally charged and so is easy to update. It is the emotionally charged behaviours which are challenging to change.


The subconscious and conscious brains.


The brain is made up of the subconscious and the conscious. The subconscious brain makes up 90%, is on the right side. It is creative and its role is to protect us.


It is the emotional brain. The conscious brain is the remaining 10%. It is on the left side of the brain and is involved in thinking, working things out. It is the logical part of the brain.


brain-315x300 The Subconscious Rules the Roost


When we are born, our subconscious is up and running but it is empty. Until about the age of 7yrs, the subconscious is uploading all our experiences, so that we know how to operate in the big wide world.


So we take on board how our mother deals with spiders, how our father deals with a confrontation with the neighbour, how they react to going to the dentist, how our mother greets a friend in the park. All these files are stored in the subconscious. Some of these will have emotions attached to them.


If a spider is thrown at you in jest as a child aged 5, and your reaction is ridiculed by bystanders, the emotion of embarrassment may be attached to this file. Your subconscious doesn’t like that emotion, so you develop a phobia of spiders because spiders are linked with embarrassment.


The subconscious can be compared to buying a new computer and before you can use it all the relevant files need to be installed on it with each file having a different function.


Pushing Buttons.


We have all heard the expression “push someone’s buttons”. Someone does or says something to another person and it sparks, usually, a negative reaction. So, what is happening here? Let us take the example of the spider.


A friend teases you with pointing out a spider, knowing how you will react. This causes sudden panic because the sight of the spider immediately links it to the initial incident when we were 5 yrs old. We just can’t help it.


push-buttons-400x300 The Subconscious Rules the Roost



The subconscious is protecting us from being embarrassed again, despite our thinking very logically about spiders when we are calm and relaxed.


The above example is a very obvious file in the subconscious. But we have millions of files, controlling many different behaviours and situations, some of them often subtle.


For example, you notice that you always feel uneasy in the company of men with facial hair.


You can’t put your finger on why, and thinking rationally about it, there is no reason to feel like this.


But, maybe, when you were at Primary School the head teacher had facial hair, and as a young child, you were scared of him.


This has been logged in the subconscious as “men with facial hair are scary”. You may not remember that you felt scared, but your subconscious does!


Addicted to Food.


Food is necessary for survival and so makes up an important part of our lives. For this reason, many different emotions may become attached to food when we are children.


A child falls over and just won’t stop crying so the mother gives her chocolate to quieten her. Later in life, if someone has knocked this adult at work, or a friend has let her down at the last minute, she finds yourself reaching for the chocolate.


When life becomes more challenging, she finds herself reaching for the chocolate even more.


The chocolate seems to hit the spot, but she doesn’t know why, and even though she thinks about it logically, things don’t seem to change.


This again is the subconscious at work. As a child, the subconscious attached a feeling of, perhaps, being comforted with chocolate.


Can these files be changed?


Yes, they can. We are always keen to talk about negative events that have happened to us. We do talk about the positive experiences, but negative events have more impact and last longer.


Negative emotions are much more powerful than positive ones. As a result, negative events can wipe out years of positive files in one go – a bit like your computer getting a virus and destroying the files.


Years of enjoying flying can be wiped out with one traumatic flight, which involved going through a thunderstorm, turbulence, thunder, lightning and petrified passengers.


This one incident could, in the right circumstances, be enough to produce a fear of flying. Reversing this file back to feeling safe with flying through actively flying takes very much longer.


What tends to happen is that the fear is so great that the subconscious forces you to avoid any more flights because that is safer.


Dr Andrea Haas

Nick Conn / 28th March 2018/ Posted in: Expert Talk

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    Detoxification (detox) is the medical intervention required for someone who is physically dependent to drugs or alcohol. If required, medical detoxification would be the first step taken in residential rehab. Detox is used to prevent uncomfortable and dangerous (even fatal) withdrawals symptoms resulting in suddenly becoming abstinent from alcohol/certain drugs.

    The goal of a medical detox is to aid in the physical healing required following long term addiction and rid the body of all together of substance whilst providing a cushion for unpleasant symptoms of withdrawals. Detox is not considered the whole treatment for drug/alcohol addiction and it is always recommended that a comprehensive rehabilitation program is used along side to help maintain long term abstinence.

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    • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
    • Lorazepam (Ativan)
    • Diazapam (vailium)

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    There are also a number of drugs recombined by the NHS to help treat alcohol misuse. Some of these include:

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    Once detoxed from heroin the risk of overdose is much higher following relapse due to tolerance following withdrawal.

    The length of treatment in a residential rehab depends on a number of elements. Some substances require longer periods of detox than others.

    Private paying patients will also often choose a length of stay that suites their therapeutic and financial needs. As a rule, a full treatment program in a rehab is considered to be 28 days (often referred to as a month), however, treatment is offered in several different ways and lengths starting at 7 days.

    Treating alcohol addiction will always require a minimum of 7-10 days, this would be considered the detoxification (detox) faze. The length required for treating drug addiction can vary drastically depending on the substance being used. Detox for Heroin addiction is generally around 14 days minimum, with more time required if substances such a methadone are being used. Treating prescription drug addiction can often take the longest. The time required for treating gambling addiction, eating disorders and sex addiction will be based on the individuals needs.

    Rehab programs can be as long as an individual requires but primary treatment is normally caped at 12 weeks, with the offering for further secondary and tertiary treatment thereafter.

    *based on average rehab stays, everyone will vary dependant on needs and medical requirement/history.

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    If your work absence extends over 7 days your employer is likely to require an official statement of fitness to work which would be obtained from your GP. This would need to supply evidence of your illness as well as any adjustments required for returning to work, fazed return or reduced hours, but does not need to specify in detail the reason why you have been absent.

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    How much does rehab cost is a very frequently asked question. The cost of treatment can range from £1,000 per week upwards depending on the place, with luxury rehab being the most expensive.

    There are free options available on the NHS but the waitlist of those looking for free treatment is longer than that for privately paying patients. Some private health insurance policies will cover treatment in some rehabs around the country.

    Choosing the right rehab centre will often be based on priced but it is important to follow guidance on the most suitable treatment centre for an individual’s needs which our expert team of advisers are on hand to offer.

    There are certainly pro’s for both treatment near by and traveling for treatment with one of the most asked question being should I get rehab near me? There are rehabs all over the UK and around the world that all offer expert programs, let’s look at how to choose a rehab.

    Local treatment

    Being close to home gives certainly has benefits. Visitors are normally permitted in rehab following the first 7 days stay, therefore if an individual is in treatment for a length of time longer than that being local will make it easier for loved ones to visit.

    Most rehab centres will also provide a full aftercare plan for someone following treatment, this will include ongoing aftercare in the specific treatment centre. Living close by can make it easy to take full advantage of ongoing aftercare. There can also often be the option for ongoing care with an individual therapist, again being close by will allow that treatment to be carried out face to face.

    Some individuals wish to be local but are willing to look broader, for instance the greater city of residence (London, Manchester, Liverpool, etc)

    Treatment Away

    Getting treatment away from home can be very appealing to some. Being out of the local area makes it a lot harder to just walk out of treatment as resources locally are unknown. Some also take comfort in knowing that they are not near home and focus more on treatment.

    As the price for treatment can vary so much from one residential treatment centre to another, private paying patients often would rather travel to keep the cost down. Those using private health insurance may also have to travel to find a treatment centre covered in their policy.

    When opting for treatment away from home this can be anywhere in the UK and also abroad. Aftercare can still be carried out and very successful using tools such as The Online Rehab.

    There is no right or wrong when choosing where to go to residential rehab, but our expert advisors are always on hand to help provide information on all possible options.

    Whilst millions of people in the UK have taken recreational drugs (amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, crack, crystal meth, GHB, heron, ketamine, methadone, and prescription drugs) and drank alcohol not all become ‘addicted’. Most recent reports show that 279,793 individuals were in contact with drug and alcohol misuse services in the last year with over half of that being from opiate addiction and a quarter for alcohol.

    There are several risk factors invoiced in addiction and those using drugs and alcohol socially, simply take the risk. These risks are as follows;

    Tolerance – basically, if a substance is used repeatedly an individual’s tolerance to it will build. This will result in more of the same substance being required to get the same effect. In the long run this can easily lead to addiction and physical dependencies.

    Environmental risks – these can include influences such a peer pressure and stress as well as physical or mental abuse of an individual (particularly as a child). Overall, those who live with frequent pressures and stress are more likely to reach for a substance to cope and are therefore at higher risk of becoming addicted.

    Drug type – it is very well known that certain drugs are simply more addictive than others. Using substances such as heroin increases the risk of becoming addicted for need to ‘chase’ a high as well as physical dependency.

    Drug administration – how a drug is administered can affect its addictive qualities. A drug injected rather than smoked or snorted will release a quicker and more intense high thus making it psychologically (and in many cases physically) more addictive.

    Biological factors – it is now widely reported that being an addict is not only psychological but also biological. This includes your genetic makeup, mental health, sex and age. It is also reported to be 8 times more likely for the child of an addict to become an addict themselves.

    Its believed that addiction is approximately half genetics and therefore some are 50% more likely to become addicted than others.

    How do you help a loved one trapped in addiction?

    The first step is to help and encourage the individual to become willing to accept help. They do not need to be shouting this off the rooftops, but they do need to be willing to go into treatment. There are ways to help someone become willing to get treatment for alcohol or treatment for drugs.

    Set boundaries – set boundaries and stick to them. Once you have laid them out follow through with whatever consequences you have set however hard it is.

    Stop finances – if you are financially supporting someone stopping these finances can be the quickest way for the addict needing to ask for help. With no money to acquire a substance an addict’s options become very limited.

    Intervention – getting together with other family members/friends/colleagues and staging an intervention is often very successful in the fist stage of acceptance and gaining an admission to residential rehab.

    You can’t make them quit, this can lead to dangerous withdrawal. Boundaries are very important in helping someone become willing to get help. Unfortunately you cannot do someone’s recovery for them and without self-motivation it is very hard to make it work.

    The next step is to call our highly trained advisers 0203 955 7700.

    There is a huge range of rehab options available and where to start can be completely over whelming so let us help.