Post Action Adrenal Dump: Using tribal fighting knowledge to make us better

by Jesse Voluntary Mathewson

“From an evolutionary perspective, it’s exactly the response you want to have when your life is in danger: you want to be vigilant, you want to react to strange noises, you want to sleep lightly and wake easily, you want to have flashbacks that remind you of the danger, and you want to be, by turns, anxious and depressed. Anxiety keeps you ready to fight, and depression keeps you from being too active and putting yourself at greater risk. This is a universal human adaptation to danger that is common to other mammals as well. It may be unpleasant, but it’s preferable to getting eaten.” Sebastian Junger

Mr. Junger went on to show how keeping all of this bottled up is what actually causes PTSD in soldiers today. I agree with his assessment, and disagree greatly with his conclusion at the end, regardless, he makes a solid point.

Research, facts and evidence have guided my life. Decisions made now are the result of intensive training, research, study and a basic understanding of the situation regardless the problems that may crop up from time to time. In a recently published article, History of PTSD and understanding it: Why it matters for survivalists/ preppers and bushcrafters, I took the time to go over the history of ptsd and the reality that is represented when we fail to address it appropriately.

This article is going to be centered more on the need for a Post Action Adrenal Dump or paad. In the life of individuals who choose to forgo modern medicine in extreme cases and do not have access to it in less extreme cases, we must be prepared. I firmly believe that our “uncivilized” ancestors were far more better off than we for many reasons, least among them their approach to natural remedies and approaches to very real issues. One of the largest mistakes modern “civilized” societies have made when engaging in war is that they disallow the young men doing the killing from celebrating this.

Understand, I find all state sponsored warfare and agencies to be extremely distasteful. This does not mean we should not learn from governments mistakes. It is the goal of all city-state government to conform through coercion or force the individuals within its realm to fit whatever it needs at the moment. Interestingly, humans regardless their natures tend to rebel against this conformity even the most subservient of them will at some point intentionally or unintentionally/ subconsciously break the laws of the state they reside under.

By removing the ability of the modern soldier to engage in some form of paad, government in fact creates the rising problem of ptsd within its borders. My suggestion for those of you who are interested in caring for yourself and avoiding or removing the negative affects of combat and or stressful situations is to embrace the approach utilized by the tribal societies that in some places still exist, came before and in many ways still are better than what we see today.

Vikings/ Highlanders and many Northern European tribal societies engaged in all-night orgies of sex, drinking and somewhat violent horseplay among comrades in arms. American Indians had many traditional approaches, from dancing to chewing or smoking any number of great hallucinogenics; through doing dream walks and the infamous plains approach utilizing great bone hooks through ones skin. In South America they chewed the coca leaf, danced, made music and had lots of sex.

In many ancient and some modern African tribal approaches combine or combined the above in many ways. This is not an article about who came up with what first, but rather that these approaches tended to help reduce the after affects of horrendous events.

Even their sorrow was tinged with celebrating, simply put, life was understood to be a circle, and death has always been apart of that. So celebrating ones life after they died allows for a much better release than wallowing in the death alone. Modern cultures have allowed their views to be perverted by religions and governments, not that there is actually a difference any longer.

So here is my solution for the PAAD that ALL of us will and or have felt at some point, cry, laugh, drink BUT do it WITH your compadres. And remember one very important thing, never for a second think that what is taught by modern militaries and governments is foolproof, quite the opposite in fact. Learn from the mistakes of others, embrace life and embrace those closest to you. As always I welcome feedback, and in fact want to see more of it!

There is a reason ALL of my go kits, key chains and more include my flasks, drinking horns and more. Where I go, so does my ability to relieve stress AFTER and or WHEN able.

Free the mind and the body will follow

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. This is one really good article and I think you’re on to something here.

  2. Thomas The Tinker says:

    God Bless “Beer Call” I learned to ‘drink’ with my fellow grunts. Interesting write up Sir. I hope the discussion is more extensive than the three of us.

  3. Adrenalin Dump? I suppose that is the adrenalin surging through my body after a very close call with a vehicle on the highway? Or the scare from a harmless stranger on the way out to my car, a stranger who startles me but just happened to overtake me?

    This adrenaline can make me ill for days. Initially, I shake uncontrollably. If I ignore the adrenaline, I am mentally and physically ill for days. A good primal scream helps to dissipate some of it. Several more primal screams in the car works wonders. An intense or deliberate and prolonged physical workout, whether just stomping around the house or doing physical work brings my body back to somewhat normal. Hitting pillows works.

    I don’t know if this is what you are talking about or not. Of course, I have not had the adrenalin surging through my body during a prolonged situation, so I cannot relate to people in war.

    • Drinking and orgies are not for me. I did have PTSD when I was involved in a situation where people had been killed. My situation lasted only a week and I could go home to my safe house each night. I might take to drink if I were involved in a prolonged situation, although for a week I was in continual fear. I awoke for ten years with nightmares. It was always just a single shot I heard that awoke me to sweating.

      Maybe my comments are just silly.

      • Some who do dream therapy, might suggest that a person go back to sleep after a nightmare, and ask ones Lord of Lords: What is the lesson? Watch for the answer.

        No silly, just a beautiful unfolding.

      • I understand the varying approaches and societal restrictions currently on us. The premise remains the same, always allow for an emotional adrenal dump post any potentially dangerous/exciting action

    • Leonard says:

      I’ve always found a workout on a heavy punching bag helps alleviate stress of that day-to-day type–so it doesn’t build up. Don’t know about combat-related PTSD stress. Never been in combat–I expect it might take a bit more than a heavy bag to help that…

      • Heavy bag is a great approach and helps it comes down to allowing your body to naturally dump the adrenaline it has built up, without the dump you will always have ptsd following regardless type.

  4. You have to bleed off the adrenaline. I have used music and free form dance. Sounds wrong… but jumping around and moving everything that moves. Singing loud. Holding hand weights.
    Probably close to tribal stuff.

  5. OKIEinCO says:

    You could be on to something but unless you have been there it is really hard to say. Tinker you are on the right track with talking (and drinking) with friends or your best friend. MY wife is and has been my best friend since 1974. First time I have talked about it here. I did 2 tours in viet nam and came home and mostly drank for 6 months,and then got a job. For the next 25 years I loved to walk into burning buildings and save lives in OKC. I was a FireFighter(Major) and invincible. never drank much after we got married. I had coped with the place where bad things happened..At the ripe old age of 46 in 1995 my world turned upside down. the Alfred P Murrah building was blown up. For the next few weeks I was in and under the rubble looking and finding unrecognizable boddies. Then my mind never stopped working and would not turn off and sleep would not come for about 6 weeks . Luckly I had a friend who was a psychetrist who had worked at the VA for years and saved me with a sleep pill and Luvox which I still take 20 years later. Even with the meds I would not have made it without my Faith and wife who went through it with me. I still dont understand what happened or why with all I had seen for the previous 30 years but have finally coped with it with the grace of God, and my wife. Trust in Jesus and your friends to get through it. Joe

    • Okieinco
      I am glad you had support for that. Sometimes it is just too much. We are lucky we have people like yourself who “handle” the worst situations for all of us. It is like you take on the sins of the world and I hope you can hand them over to Jesus Christ, daily if necessary. I think nightmares are hard because they disrupt healing sleep. Again, I am glad you receive support for that.

    • Curley Bull says:

      First off, thank you for your service brother. My situation was similar. The love of a good woman and my Lord kept me straight and comforted. I had a couple of nightmares at first, but got over them once I understood them and what the message was. However, it wasn’t until about 10 years ago that I got over “survivor’s guilt. I didn’t realize I had it until a lady at Bible study one night put her hand on my head and told me; “It’s time to let go. You saved more than you lost”. It had to be from God because I had never told anyone much of anything prior to that. I truly wish every couple could have the kind of marriage Mary and I had.

    • Well said, tribal support, eg., familial etc is everything

  6. Well, I think in today’s world, at least here in the U.S.A., over the last 30 years we have led a very sheltered life. Too sheltered. What do I mean? Take a look at our public schools, today’s young parents, and how it appears to me…..the way some, well, most live their lives. Now, don’t get me wrong. There is nothing at all wrong with parental love and care. What is wrong is this “thing” called “it’s for the children”. In many ways we are over protective. Some kid wanders a block or two from home and his parents get all kind of flack from some gov’t. agency calling it child abuse. You smack your kid and sheesh…. In short we have litterally become a nation of wusses. Our schools condem individualisim and reward “fitting in”. This thing about giving a losing team a trophy when they lost a game just so they don’t feel bad. And on and on…..bunch of grade A unadulterated bullshit. So….what I am getting at, today people are coddled, spoon fed, shielded from life as it was meant to be lived….and then we wonder why society has so many mental problems. It has been a long time since I was in the military, from what I hear in today’s boot camps is nothing like it was when I went through it back in 1956. I put in 16 years, yes, a lot of it was reserve time but there was active duty also. I have been in six different countries while on active duty. One of those countries was Lebanon…Beirut. I will say this, the way those people there treated their women ……sickening. Life over in that country was cheap…5 dollars american was all it took. Well, enough of that. Something else I have noticed over the years….maybe it is just my imagination….but, it seems people no longer take their kids to funerals. I think you see my point in this rant of mine……

    • When my daughter was five-years-old, she wanted to go to a funeral where her father was officiating. I asked her why she wanted to go since neither she nor I knew the person. “I want to see a dead person because I have never seen one.” I thought that was a very reasonable answer, so I got her ready and she went. I thought it was better she see a dead person before the dead person was someone she knew and maybe had a strong affection for the person. Friends thought I should not have allowed it because it might cause trauma.

      • JP in MT says:


        And that is exactly why I didn’t let others decide what my children should learn about or not. Many parents would expose their children to dangerous situations for the “thrill” of it, but would object to what you are describing because it ‘might” harm the child with some sort of trauma.

      • Curley Bull says:

        I think I was about 4 when I went to my first funeral. It was my great, great, uncle Johnny Brooks. He was Native American and apparently quite tall. I remember him laid out on a table just as he would be in a casket because they didn’t have a casket long enough for him. I remember my grandmother and great-grandmother pitching a hissy fit because the undertaker offered to break his legs and fit him into a normal casket.

        It seems I’ve been around death my whole life and I think it was that first funeral that set me up to be able to deal with it.

        • My mom did not allow us to go to funerals as children. I was sitting with my dad giving him a foot massage when he died. It was very peaceful and in the hospital, he was relaxed and smiling because of the foot massage. I realized he died but kept on a little longer before the nurse came in. I told her he died and she checked.
          I was holding mom’s hand in the hospital when she died… much harder because she was in terrible pain. When the nurse came in, she ran me out. I threw up and cried because my mom suffered so bad even though I was glad she passed away.
          I think it depends on the circumstances and it is kind of silly to hide death away as we do. We all do die.

      • Sounds like you are raising an independent individual! Good !

  7. Curt S
    I have to agree, endless coddling creates mental health problems… adults who keel over when they have to face an upset. Because there are upsets. For everyone. It creates adults who punish the world because they got their peelings hurt. The opposite is nonexistent parents. They do damage too. I hope I did fine with my son… he seems resilient. I hope he does okay with the grandkids.

  8. Alcohol opens the door to a world of woe. It’s easy to see all the terrible things that have happened while a person was intoxicated. Booze will cover the problem, and drive it deeper, nothing more. Drinking does not heal, it harms. There are plenty of ways to heal the pains of life. May you find one that works for you.

    • Just got off the website. Each day 22 service members commit suicide. I wonder how many of these veterans tried “self medication” (sex, drugs,rock and roll)? I know, some hurts can go on for a very long time; fortunately healing is possible. When people take their own life, the pain does not go away. If I am hurting in this room and go into another room the pain does not vanish.

      • My suggestion is try somatic experiencing. It does work! Make new positive pathways in the brain! If they be religion, family or otherwise, look for the positive!

    • Curley Bull says:

      There are two things I absolutely can not stand; Drunk man when I’m sober and a sober man when I’m drunk!!

      • Curley Bull says:

        Jesse, I guess I’m strange/different/odd or something. I have never fit into a slot/box that people try to put everyone in. I’ve had a gift (my Mother called it a curse) my whole life. When my back is to the wall and I feel truly threatened, it’s like a little switch in my brain flips and I go into defensive mode. I get a rush of adrenaline and become twice as strong, twice as fast, and mean as hell. Each time this has happened, I would be the only one standing when it was all over and do not remember what exactly happened in between. I suffer no withdrawal other than tired. There is no drug that can give the kind of high that adrenaline can and some suffer serious withdrawal when coming down from it. I don’t!! I’m confident even now that when needed, that gift will still be there.

    • Truth for sure, however, the trubal approach-eg., familial approach is everything – support! Most important. Stress relief comes in many forms and all can be abused.

  9. Thank you all for the amazing feedback- if you want more articles like this. Based in lifr experiences and medical/historical/scientific research…Id be glad to continue writing specifically for my friend and fellow bushcrafting compadre, M.D. Creekmore-

    It is extremely important to me that others who desire freedom and solid knowledge, get it.

    I write/review and test (live the life daily) as a means of overcoming my own demons.

    Thank you all

  10. As a retired RN, I have felt the adrenalin rush while working. Very often several times a shift. This is common in the medical field. When your trying to save a life it is a part of your life you get use too. I once had a very busy night for of a child, MVA of a family of four, a sixteen yr old that was bleeding internally, a older person who stopped breathing at home now fighting to survive. Then while sitting atop a gang member performing CPR a rival gang member runs into the ER firing a gun. After that night I didn’t sleep for 24 hours. Small adrenaline rush are manageable big ones take a while. Men and woman have used different methods to adapt for century’s .

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