04 June 2009

Intermittent Explosive Disorder - Roger Heater's Story

This post is from my guest writers, Tammy Moss and Roger Heater:

"From Institutions to Freedom" tells the story of Roger Heater who has lived with Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) for over three decades

As a child Roger suffered from temper tantrums and rage attacks. What began as tantrums, banging his head on the floor, ended in rage attacks, flipping furniture over, and destroying his bedroom. These attacks lasted thirty minutes to two hours sometimes. At times his parents were forced to sit on him and hold him down so he wouldn’t cause any damage to himself, or them.
By age 12, Roger was made a ward of the court and spent the next four years being shuffled around shelters, group homes, mental institutions, and psychiatric hospitals throughout the State of California, during which time he experienced several different forms of discipline and medications.
In the 70’s, Roger was placed in an institution where they mixed mentally handicap adults with kids. At age 13, he was living with adults as old as 70. Being stripped of his belt, shoes and pockets emptied, he was placed in a 7’ by 4’ room with no outside window or door knob on the inside. He was restrained on beds by being wrapped in sheets from the ankles to his neck. As early as 9 years old he was subjected to several different anti-depressants including Ritalin, Valium and Lithium.

Over the next 15 years Roger self-medicated with marijuana that he began to smoke excessively from as early as age 14. It seemed to control his hyper energy and aggressive behavior. By age 19 his impulsive and addictive personality began to crave the drug cocaine.

Four years later, after almost overdosing one evening, Roger began a self therapy treatment that involved one day at a time of not touching the drug and performing at local amateur comedy clubs throughout the Bay area. Just like marijuana, comedy became an excellent outlet to release his extra aggression. By age 34, with two addictive drug habits and two failed marriages behind him, the comedy stage alone was no longer enough to keep his anger under control. His aggressive and abusive behavior landed him into a psychiatric hospital twice within a 6 month period.

Three decades of Roger's IED incidents:
  • Age 4; Temper tantrums began, Roger would lay flat on his stomach and repeatedly bang his head on the floor, his mother had to hold him until he calmed down.
  • Age 11; He was running head first into walls, destroying his room so bad that everything was removed except his bed and dresser.
  • Age 16; Roger took out 32 car windshields with a baseball bat causing over $5,000.00 worth in damages.
  • In his early 20's after receiving a hamburger with mayo at a Jack in the Box drive-thru, he threw it back at the server and sped off in a screaming road rage into heavy expressway traffic, almost causing a three car pileup.
  • In his early 20's to mid 30's he mentally and physically attacked 3 separate wives. During a rage attack he was known to lift wives up off the floor by their throats.

After struggling for over three decades, Roger was finally given a diagnosis in 1995. He was told he had a mental disorder called Intermittent Explosive Disorder (I-E-D). This disorder was still unknown to the public and researchers at the time, so proper medications and therapy were still in the testing stage. Over the years while learning what he could about the disease he taught himself how to overcome and survive living with it. After more than 14 years of touring and performing comedy all over the United States, he developed a strong ability to keep any size groups attention and his strong stage presence continues to shine even when delivering material on a much darker subject. His sense of humor, passion and understanding for this disorder stands out in every delivery.

Roger is in the process of writing his book- “From Institutions to Freedom” in the hopes that sharing his story with others will motivate and show others that instead of ‘you can’t’ -you can!

Stimulus Pro-bono opportunity~~
During these tough economic times, we are giving a limited amount of pro-bono talks in Las Vegas, California, Utah and Arizona. Don't wait! Email us to schedule. Contact us @ tmoss1026@yahoo.com

Roger is dedicated to speak wherever there is a need. A man who never took “you can’t” as an excuse, Roger fought through each and every obstacle and came out proving everyone wrong.

Roger is sharing his story all around the country. Please email us with where you are from and names of organizations that may benefit in hearing this powerful, motivating story

To learn more about IED and to book a pro-bono talk, visit our website- http://www.heaterproductions.com/

04 May 2009

EFT - Emotional Freedom Techniques. What is It?

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) are based upon the theory that negative emotions are caused by "disturbances" in the body's "energy field." EFT is derived from Thought Field Therapy (TFT) techniques and is based upon acupuncture. Proponents of EFT claim it relieves many psychological and physical conditions, including depression, anxiety, stress, addictions and phobias.

The basic EFT technique involves recalling a negative memory or emotion and simultaneously using one's fingers to tap on specific points on the body. This tapping alters the body's energy field, restoring it to a "balance."


1. A 2003 study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology and financed by the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology, involved 35 patients with a phobia of small animals. Each patient received a single treatment with EFT. The authors stated that their results were "largely consistent" with the hypothesis that EFT can reduce phobias.

2. Another 2003 study, published in The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, was conducted by Waite and Holder on 119 University students who experienced specific fears or phobias. This study divided the students into four groups: Group A received a single round of EFT with tapping on the appropriate points; Group B received the same EFT treatment except that they tapped on points in the arm that are not the standard EFT recommendations; Group C received the same EFT treatment as Group A and tapped on a doll; and Group D was asked to make a toy only.

The students were asked to record their fears before and after treatment on a "SUDS" scale.
Groups A, B and C did better than Group D. There were no significant differences between the Groups A, B and C which implies that the tapping certain areas isn't necessary.

3. A 2005 study, published in Counseling and Clinical Psychology, used a symptom checklist to in 102 participants in an (EFT) workshop before their treatment, after their treatment, and six months later. There was no control group. The results of this study showed a significant decrease in psychological distress over time.

EFT has it's controversies. Some proponents are very conservative about their claims while others have gone beyond the scope of EFT's creator, claiming it can cure just about anything. EFT has it's roots in Eastern medicine so, of course, Western medicine is going to be skeptical.

EFT Video:

15 April 2009

OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorders

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is the label put on the inability to avoid persistent thoughts and stop repeated behaviors that are negatively affecting one's quality of life. About 2.2 million people in the US suffer from OCD which is classified as an anxiety disorder. It is often accompanied by one or more other problems such as other anxiety disorders, eating disorders and especially depression. OCD usually begins in adolescence or early adulthood.

Obsessions are thoughts that one can't get out of their head. No matter how hard one tries, the unwelcome thoughts return. Common subjects are germs/contamination, doubting that something was done, orderliness/organization, fear of impulsive behavior (saying something inappropriate/doing something terrible), fear of having terrible thoughts.

One way to cope with the anxiety caused by obsessive thoughts is to take action. These actions can get out of control and interfere with life in a negative way. The thought and action are not necessarily connected in logic. Now they are called "compulsions." Here are some examples:
  • If someone is afraid of germs, they might start cleaning and sterilizing things constantly (more than the average person would) as well as refuse to touch anything in a public place or shake hands with anyone. They might also start washing/scrubbing their hands many times a day.
  • A person who doubts might start checking things over and over and over. Ten minutes later, the doubt returns and they have to check again. It's as if they don't remember or trust their memory. Did I lock the door? Did I close the garage door? Is the stove turned off? Did I put something away? Did I turn on/turn off something?
  • People who obsess on orderiless and organization can't stand anything out of place. Everything has a place. No paperclip can sit outside of the official paperclip box. The lamp is not allowed to be an inch out of place on the tabletop. Couch cushions have to be just so. These people might also fixate on a certain type of thing that is out of place everywhere they go. Imagine walking to work and having to pick up every piece of trash (no matter how small) found on the street.
  • Some people with OCD are afraid of their own impulses to say something inappropriate (vulgarity, insults, lies, hoaxes) and so they avoid going places and being with people. It's like being afraid of suddenly being overcome with Tourrette's Syndrome when one doesn't even have it in the first place. Some people are afraid of doing something inappropriate, dangerous or worse. Again, these people isolate themselves to protect others.
  • Fixation on words, phrases or repeated actions are another way to deal with the anxiety. Some people will say certain words or phrases over and over until they "feel better."
  • Hoarding is another OCD compulsion. Suffers might keep something for a reason that seems logical to them but it gets out of control and becomes extreme. Imagine keeping an empty jar because it would be good for storage. Compare that to someone who has accumulated hundreds of jars, none of them used, to be saved for a future, possible use. There are also people who hoard animals to the point of their homes becoming filthy and they are unable to afford to feed and provide proper veterinary care for their pets.
  • Some people become obsessed with negative parts of their body. They scrub or wash or pluck to the point of causing damage to their appearance and/or health.
  • Scrupulosity is an religious expression of OCD that goes way back into history. A person focuses on their religion, or a certain aspect of their religion, way too intensely and loses sight of the big picture. Clergy in many faiths have been helping their members with this problem for hundreds of years. This is not to be confused with being religious and devout. This is a situation of extreme religion when even the leader says there is a problem.
Thoughts and behaviors are usually classified as Obsessive Compulsive Disorders when they take up (waste) more than an hour of day of one's time or interfere negatively with one's life. Sometimes it's so severe that sufferers can't hold down a job, take (almost) forever to get tasks done, and isolate themselves from friends and family. Some sufferers turn to alcohol and drugs to "calm down" and control their OCD. Not the best choice.

Psychiatry and psychology have come a long way in the past 50 years. Now there are ways to deal with the anxiety. OCD can't be cured, but it can be managed and it's impact on life lessened . There are many anxiety medications available. There is also Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) to help people react and deal with anxiety.