Monday, March 28, 2016

A Wee Bit More on Addiction

It is all over the news lately.  Many states are trying to control the sale of serious pain-killers and slow down the spread of addiction.   OK fine. Does anyone care what addiction is or why it is there?  What makes addiction and why is the most effective pain-killer also the most effective, and the most addictive?  Does it mean that those who need it are actually in pain?  Yes, but no one sees it; and the deepest level of imprinted pain where the hurt is almost ineffable tells us two things.  That the deepest levels of brain function also harbor the deepest levels of pain, and that the earlier the trauma the more one needs pain killers that no one can see or is aware of.   Thus pain is installed from gestation on and is devastating.   Because the need is at its asymptote and must be fulfilled; or else there is untold suffering.  And one needs to kill the pain without ever knowing it is there.

And then there are the medical pundits who stay awake at night trying to take their medicine away.  Do they know what lies there deep in the antipodes of the brain?  How could they; what they see is the need for drugs and never say to anyone, “Why the drugs?”  It is as if diabetics need medicine to control their blood levels while an army of specialists are trying to stop them from having it.   The pain is lodged in the brain and the need to stop it is biologic. All this is a direct legacy from the Behaviorists who see only behavior and want to change it; the YMCA approach.   They stay on the surface and do not go deeper in their understanding because they do not go deep into themselves. They do not recognize a deeper self, and that misunderstanding and superficiality seeps into all of the Addiction Centers who practice non-scientific,  booga booga medicine; lots of good food, exercise, no work and conseling and emotional support. Wonderful for amelioration but never approaches causes.

Yes these powerful drugs are addicting because the cause remains untouched.  And so the response of using remains untouched.  Yes of course there are dangers, but ask any addict if he is willing to take the risk to be bereft of pain he does not know exists?  But it is importuning and takes precedence above all else. If someone is jabbing you with a needle could you concentrate and function?

I have seen this embedded pain for 50 years in my Primal work. It qualifies as ineffable. I have measured it, filmed it and studied it with addicts, enough to know that serious addiction must be in-patient because when the pain comes up, even in small titrated doses, it is devastating.  The good part  is that once the pain is relived it is gone from the system, one small piece at a time.   But if it is not relived exactly as it was laid down, it will remain for a lifetime and become “ADDICTING.”  I have seen this over and over in those who come to me from addiction centers who have not relived as neurobiology dictates and go on suffering.  They are recidivists because the pain has never left, even they have gone through the motions of screaming and crying.   It is not that therapy does not help; it has to be the right help.  It has to rely on science.   There are no shortcuts or easy answers, no quick-fix.  It took a long time to be seeded into the system and will take time to undo it. The level of this seeding/imprinting is marked by methyl traces what tell us where the pain is lodged and how agonizing it is.  And we will soon measure the traces to show how and when the pain  leaves the system and how strong it was.  This undoing of history is called demethylation; it is the new brain science that marks the level of imprinted pain.   Primal pain is neurobiologic, not like a pin prick that comes and goes.  Primal pain lingers because the pain lingers.  That pain is the in and out of addiction. If never recognized addiction will not leave no matter our best intentions despite all those delicious and expensive chef-concocted gourmet meals. Hey, I would love that that despite not being addicted; let’s see, no work,  lying around, exercising and being paid attention to and helped with counseling. Sign me up.  How much did you say?   Several thousand a month to be pampered? Wait a minute, let me think about it.

This is an email from a former patient I received recently:
Thanks for writing this….

I was one of the addicts that you cured with primal therapy, real primal therapy, at the primal institute.  I thank my lucky stars…. that I went through primal therapy so long ago … every thing you say is true… drug treatment is a racket…. it makes the corporate health care system billions… and doesn’t offer real hope for anyone… My own father was a drug addict, and i watched him die from cirrhosis. The same thing would have happened to me if it wasn’t for you…  thank you."

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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.