From Physical Danger to Perceiving it

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”Danger — Why Flirt With It?”


Dear Dr. Gelb:

My brother is a surfer and also has a motorcycle. He surfs the waves even when there is a surf warning, and pushes the speed limit on his motorcycle. He has done some courageous things in his life, but I don’t understand why he flirts with danger?

Loving Sister

A: Dr. Gelb says . . .

Dear Sister:

From my professional experience, I can share with you that one explanation for such dangerous behavior may be the addictive adrenaline rush that experienced. This “rush,” which is typical of addictive habits, tends to affect the nervous system. The feeling could be equated to that experienced by a toddler who goes down a slide for the first time, even though it is scary, and then looks back and proudly announces, “I did it.”

Each time this type of challenge is repeated, the adrenaline rush repeats. I believe that this rush is triggered by natural fear whose purpose is to instill caution and good judgment. However, instead of it being a warning or a signal of danger, for some people the adrenaline rush becomes addictive, and they take undue risks to satisfy the addiction.

This reminds me of the daredevil Evil Kneivel. It has been said that as a result of his stunts many of his bones have been broken several times, at one time or another. Despite these consequences he persisted with the stunts. In my opinion, such persistence is not necessarily to achieve fame, but to satisfy that craving for the adrenaline rush, which accompanies the stunt process.

”Mystery — Can the Inexplicable be Explained?”

Dear Dr. Gelb:

A friend of mine dreamed that her cousin who lives on another continent died in a car crash. The next morning she received a phone call confirming this. How could my friend have known about her cousin’s death, when he was so many miles away, and my friend was not at the scene of the accident?


A: Dr. Gelb says . . .

Dear Phenomenal:

Your interest in psychic phenomena touches on concepts that have puzzled scientists for ions as they try to determine what part of the brain accesses these phenomena. My belief is that we are all intuitive and our intuition is founded in the spiritual aspect of our personality. Many consider intuition to be a function of the brain stem’s medulla oblongata, believing that energy forms such as people’s thoughts and feelings which travel though the ether of the earth, are perceived here. Such perceptions have been equated to a radio signal.

It has also been noted that identical twins often perceive each other’s thoughts and feelings. Even where they may be separated at birth, by adoption for example, it has been said that they tend to have similar mannerisms and behaviors, even similar choice of attire. I have a colleague who is considered to be psychic and his accuracy is phenomenal. There are also many books about this type of phenomenon. Good luck with your research.

Dear Readers:

Today’s answers can be supplemented with excerpts from “Yesterday’s Children” (pp. 30-33) written by psychologists Marti Barham, R.N., Ph.D. and Tom Greene, Ph.D. For more information visit

”’Suzanne J. Gelb, Ph.D., J.D. authors this daily column, Dr. Gelb Says, which answers questions about daily living and behavior issues. Dr. Gelb is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Honolulu. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Human Services. Dr. Gelb is also a published author of a book on Overcoming Addictions and a book on Relationships.”’

”’This column is intended for entertainment use only and is not intended for the purpose of psychological diagnosis, treatment or personalized advice. For more about the column’s purpose, see”’ “An Online Intro to Dr. Gelb Says”

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