Friday, December 13, 2013

The Mystery Known as Depression, Part 9/12


“Repression” of pain on various levels can begin in the womb at any point during the nine months of gestation, when the neuroinhibitors in the fetal brain work to quell pain. It is mostly established in the last trimester of pregnancy. At that point, the fetus can feel pain and can repress. The deepest most severe repression occurs during fetal life and at birth because it is nearly always a matter of life and death (Anand & Scalzo, 2000). These dangerous situations call for extreme responses from the fetus. Repression during this time then becomes global, or system-wide, and affects every aspect of the fetus’ body and development. It’s easy to sense that kind of early global inhibition in someone because they have a flattened emotionality, having not developed an emotional life before repression set in; and the cause of it happened before they even took their first breath in the world. Incidentally, it can also determine how he functions sexually. He doesn’t have the biochemical equipment to be tenacious, aggressive, assertive, optimistic, or future oriented, or sexually erect. This is because the prototype has a global affect on his entire physiological system and the impotence he felt at birth is an impotence that may assert itself in later years sexually. His whole system veers toward less testosterone, dopamine, glutamate, and noradrenaline, lower serotonin and higher cortisol. This is the material of impotence; it is not just an attitude that we can change in order to be more assertive. We are impotent on the deepest levels of brain function.

Evidence is mounting that those with depression are more likely to develop heart disease. (Freedland & Carney, 2013) Considering that deep depression means deep repression and that means deep pain, the conclusion is not surprising. There are two schools of thought as to why. The first is that the biochemical changes – the release of stress hormones – and autonomic changes occurring during depression affect the heart. The second view is that depression makes people sad and they then neglect their health. I’d opt for the first, only let's go further and say that the very early imprint that makes people depressed also ultimately affects their heart; stress hormones play a role in both conditions. Those who are depressed/repressed may have sporadically higher blood pressure in some cases and if one neglects one's medication a heart attack can ensue. This article notes that one in six adults suffer from depression from time to time. Those who have suffered heart attacks and who were also depressed were four times more likely to die of a heart attack in the following six months. Researchers have found that some depressed patients are in a state of hyper-arousal, and that means more pressure and activation of the heart. Stress hormones speed up the heart. What causes chronic high levels of stress hormones? Largely, it is due to the imprints of trauma.

In this context, researchers have implicated that hormones play a significant role in depression. A 1998 report in Scientific American, titled “The Neurobiology of Depression.” (Nemeroff, 1998) notes that the monoamine norepinephrine (noradrenaline) is low in depression, some thirty percent less than in a normal population. It leads some professionals to think of depression as a “brain disease.” Norepinephrine (a monoamine), by and large, is a stimulating neuronal activator. It is manufactured mainly in circuits that emanate from the locus ceruleus, a brainstem structure. There are projections elsewhere in the brain, particularly, to the limbic system. Because there is not enough of this in depression it may lead to the false conclusion that this deficiency causes depression.


  1. "It is not our idea that affect our feeling ... it is our feeling affecting our thought"!

    What we learn takes not any regard for the consequences... depending on how it is processed forward from the limbic system via the Hippo Campus conveys itself with the neocortex?

    It's not so that we do not want to understand what makes life unbearable! It is like this... sufferings has changed and developed neo cortex in a physiological process of survival... with the consequences... we can not understand our feeling... perceive what life-threatening experiences contain and causes!

    For us to be able to be in the "match" about the human foundation... we must suffer so much while having the good fortune to get to Janovs center... or via janovs books get the ide of how the limbic system via the Hippo campus conveys to the neocortex! It can not be done unless we can perceive the sufferings consequences and thereby "willing" to do something about it!

    If we understand to not perceive the content... a physiological equation containing the science of human foundation... just imagine the result!


  2. Being consciously aware blocked only by our consciousness... just a sentence from being aware... I am in my suffering as being social!?

    When we talk about different levels of memories... I can se it as if they are on the same level... they just floating into each other without us discovering the effect of it... can be of an social aceptans for the phenomen... unconscious through effect of a blocking task... some are socially accepted... as professional is... while other symtoms are not!

    What is the difference between a well-established professor and someone who obviously suffers with all the symptoms... a professor who can not even be so logical that he discovers his own suffering in its role of being a professor?

    What does he know about feelings? Something we suppose he should do... but do not... an effect of suffering which are like any other symptoms... a social acceptance as defense... equal to all other symptoms! I mean being professional is like any other symptoms!

    It seems as if we are not suffering in our role of being professional... depending on the social acceptance... but I think we are suffering even more as professionals dependent on the efforts we must do to hold back suffering... that it requires to hold a professional role... requires to be professional in order to hold back suffering... something that anxiety and depression are not accepted to be. So at what level are we suffering?

    So to be "normal"... with the ability to perform analysis to some extent... is not in difference from other symptoms as anxiety and depression etc!

    If we look at the evolutionary development of the neocortex then are the contents of suffering in the same ring with what we are able to perform here and now ... neocortex is the suffering consistency... we manage to just be in tone with what the material world has to offer... offer as a defense against pain!


  3. Hi Art,
    one of my (rare!!! sensitive) MD: told me several decades ago ,that he had to close his practice
    for several bouts of depression.
    He turned to ECKANKAR after he been practicing T M vor years...

    And the end result(I I do n o t want to be disrespectfull towards him !!) he got a heart attack
    years he died aftter contracting cancer.

    My brothers (I did never ever noticed any such mental state do have heart disease
    (like many grandfathers uncles aunts and the like ... all well adjusted people without
    this mental plague...

    And me... from 4 Years on I suffered and suffered and till now Iam able to train very hard
    at the body gym..

    As always there sems no to be no strict "rule" in matters of Body and Mind disease...?
    Yours emanuel

  4. An email comment: "I wish to thank you for this series on depression from the bottom of my heart and the top of my mind. It explains 'hard to understand' concepts in simple language and what you say resonates with me deeply. Doubtless you will die without being recognized for the discoveries you have made. Though a few, like me, have been enlightened by your revelations.
    I self primalled my way to conscious living with the help of a close friend after a breakdown when pregnant with my second child during 1984. I live in South Africa, and in those days we were newly married paupers. My husband (now ex-husband) is a born again christian. Through primalling I was able to 'see' myself, and others through a real lens not a false one. I am so grateful for the journey this has taken me on. My middle son lived through the pregnancy, and though there were some developmental problems while he was growing up, he is an extremely emotionally coherent person and has a breadth and depth of mind my first son could not have due to my repressed, depressed state.
    I read 'The Feeling Child' after the birth of my first son followed by 'The Primal Scream'. I am a qualified independent midwife (and later studied a degree in psychology) and practice privately as a midwife. Feeling through primal equipped me with enormous insight into the prenatal period. Couples are starting to come to me for preconceptional counselling and I accompany them through the whole journey, sharing the scientific knowledge about the basic needs of babies, the development of their brain structures and listening when parents share their concerns and questions.
    I do not assist them to 'Primal' as I am not qualified, but when parents need a person to reflect, I am there. It is not change on a grand scale, but a ground level one-on-one connection. Perhaps this is all any of us can do. Certainly for me, small is beautiful. The babies are born calmly, gently and treated respectfully. Witnessing births in this way is such a joy, to both myself and the parents. And I accompany many of the parents on their journey onwards with their youngsters. It is heartening to see children being loved in ways I never was.
    I have often thought of becomig a therapist, but am so busy as a midwife where I am able to touch the beginnings of life, that I have not pursued it further.
    I just wished to thank you for the work you have done over the years, the books you have written and for not giving up despite the lack of encouragement from your global peers. Thank you for the part you have played in my enlightenment.

    1. And my answer:
      You are the reason I write; not the academics. If it changes lives and helps one to get better and live a good life, it is all I ask. So you are most welcome. You must read my Life Before Birth. Art


Review of "Beyond Belief"

This thought-provoking and important book shows how people are drawn toward dangerous beliefs.
“Belief can manifest itself in world-changing ways—and did, in some of history’s ugliest moments, from the rise of Adolf Hitler to the Jonestown mass suicide in 1979. Arthur Janov, a renowned psychologist who penned The Primal Scream, fearlessly tackles the subject of why and how strong believers willingly embrace even the most deranged leaders.
Beyond Belief begins with a lucid explanation of belief systems that, writes Janov, “are maps, something to help us navigate through life more effectively.” While belief systems are not presented as inherently bad, the author concentrates not just on why people adopt belief systems, but why “alienated individuals” in particular seek out “belief systems on the fringes.” The result is a book that is both illuminating and sobering. It explores, for example, how a strongly-held belief can lead radical Islamist jihadists to murder others in suicide acts. Janov writes, “I believe if people had more love in this life, they would not be so anxious to end it in favor of some imaginary existence.”
One of the most compelling aspects of Beyond Belief is the author’s liberal use of case studies, most of which are related in the first person by individuals whose lives were dramatically affected by their involvement in cults. These stories offer an exceptional perspective on the manner in which belief systems can take hold and shape one’s experiences. Joan’s tale, for instance, both engaging and disturbing, describes what it was like to join the Hare Krishnas. Even though she left the sect, observing that participants “are stunted in spiritual awareness,” Joan considers returning someday because “there’s a certain protection there.”
Janov’s great insight into cultish leaders is particularly interesting; he believes such people have had childhoods in which they were “rejected and unloved,” because “only unloved people want to become the wise man or woman (although it is usually male) imparting words of wisdom to others.” This is just one reason why Beyond Belief is such a thought-provoking, important book.”
Barry Silverstein, Freelance Writer

Quotes for "Life Before Birth"

“Life Before Birth is a thrilling journey of discovery, a real joy to read. Janov writes like no one else on the human mind—engaging, brilliant, passionate, and honest.
He is the best writer today on what makes us human—he shows us how the mind works, how it goes wrong, and how to put it right . . . He presents a brand-new approach to dealing with depression, emotional pain, anxiety, and addiction.”
Paul Thompson, PhD, Professor of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine

Art Janov, one of the pioneers of fetal and early infant experiences and future mental health issues, offers a robust vision of how the earliest traumas of life can percolate through the brains, minds and lives of individuals. He focuses on both the shifting tides of brain emotional systems and the life-long consequences that can result, as well as the novel interventions, and clinical understanding, that need to be implemented in order to bring about the brain-mind changes that can restore affective equanimity. The transitions from feelings of persistent affective turmoil to psychological wholeness, requires both an understanding of the brain changes and a therapist that can work with the affective mind at primary-process levels. Life Before Birth, is a manifesto that provides a robust argument for increasing attention to the neuro-mental lives of fetuses and infants, and the widespread ramifications on mental health if we do not. Without an accurate developmental history of troubled minds, coordinated with a recognition of the primal emotional powers of the lowest ancestral regions of the human brain, therapists will be lost in their attempt to restore psychological balance.
Jaak Panksepp, Ph.D.
Bailey Endowed Chair of Animal Well Being Science
Washington State University

Dr. Janov’s essential insight—that our earliest experiences strongly influence later well being—is no longer in doubt. Thanks to advances in neuroscience, immunology, and epigenetics, we can now see some of the mechanisms of action at the heart of these developmental processes. His long-held belief that the brain, human development, and psychological well being need to studied in the context of evolution—from the brainstem up—now lies at the heart of the integration of neuroscience and psychotherapy.
Grounded in these two principles, Dr. Janov continues to explore the lifelong impact of prenatal, birth, and early experiences on our brains and minds. Simultaneously “old school” and revolutionary, he synthesizes traditional psychodynamic theories with cutting-edge science while consistently highlighting the limitations of a strict, “top-down” talking cure. Whether or not you agree with his philosophical assumptions, therapeutic practices, or theoretical conclusions, I promise you an interesting and thought-provoking journey.
Lou Cozolino, PsyD, Professor of Psychology, Pepperdine University

In Life Before Birth Dr. Arthur Janov illuminates the sources of much that happens during life after birth. Lucidly, the pioneer of primal therapy provides the scientific rationale for treatments that take us through our original, non-verbal memories—to essential depths of experience that the superficial cognitive-behavioral modalities currently in fashion cannot possibly touch, let alone transform.
Gabor Maté MD, author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction

An expansive analysis! This book attempts to explain the impact of critical developmental windows in the past, implores us to improve the lives of pregnant women in the present, and has implications for understanding our children, ourselves, and our collective future. I’m not sure whether primal therapy works or not, but it certainly deserves systematic testing in well-designed, assessor-blinded, randomized controlled clinical trials.
K.J.S. Anand, MBBS, D. Phil, FAACP, FCCM, FRCPCH, Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Anatomy & Neurobiology, Senior Scholar, Center for Excellence in Faith and Health, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare System

A baby's brain grows more while in the womb than at any time in a child's life. Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script That Rules Our Lives is a valuable guide to creating healthier babies and offers insight into healing our early primal wounds. Dr. Janov integrates the most recent scientific research about prenatal development with the psychobiological reality that these early experiences do cast a long shadow over our entire lifespan. With a wealth of experience and a history of successful psychotherapeutic treatment, Dr. Janov is well positioned to speak with clarity and precision on a topic that remains critically important.
Paula Thomson, PsyD, Associate Professor, California State University, Northridge & Professor Emeritus, York University

"I am enthralled.
Dr. Janov has crafted a compelling and prophetic opus that could rightly dictate
PhD thesis topics for decades to come. Devoid of any "New Age" pseudoscience,
this work never strays from scientific orthodoxy and yet is perfectly accessible and
downright fascinating to any lay person interested in the mysteries of the human psyche."
Dr. Bernard Park, MD, MPH

His new book “Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” shows that primal therapy, the lower-brain therapeutic method popularized in the 1970’s international bestseller “Primal Scream” and his early work with John Lennon, may help alleviate depression and anxiety disorders, normalize blood pressure and serotonin levels, and improve the functioning of the immune system.
One of the book’s most intriguing theories is that fetal imprinting, an evolutionary strategy to prepare children to cope with life, establishes a permanent set-point in a child's physiology. Baby's born to mothers highly anxious during pregnancy, whether from war, natural disasters, failed marriages, or other stressful life conditions, may thus be prone to mental illness and brain dysfunction later in life. Early traumatic events such as low oxygen at birth, painkillers and antidepressants administered to the mother during pregnancy, poor maternal nutrition, and a lack of parental affection in the first years of life may compound the effect.
In making the case for a brand-new, unified field theory of psychotherapy, Dr. Janov weaves together the evolutionary theories of Jean Baptiste Larmarck, the fetal development studies of Vivette Glover and K.J.S. Anand, and fascinating new research by the psychiatrist Elissa Epel suggesting that telomeres—a region of repetitive DNA critical in predicting life expectancy—may be significantly altered during pregnancy.
After explaining how hormonal and neurologic processes in the womb provide a blueprint for later mental illness and disease, Dr. Janov charts a revolutionary new course for psychotherapy. He provides a sharp critique of cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, and other popular “talk therapy” models for treating addiction and mental illness, which he argues do not reach the limbic system and brainstem, where the effects of early trauma are registered in the nervous system.
“Life Before Birth: The Hidden Script that Rules Our Lives” is scheduled to be published by NTI Upstream in October 2011, and has tremendous implications for the future of modern psychology, pediatrics, pregnancy, and women’s health.