Tuesday, November 22, 2016

On Why we Take Drugs and What Kind?

We are doing staff meeting today where three different beginning patients were each taking a different pain killer. And each takes a pill according to the level of consciousness he was on and  of the amount of pain  he suffered. It actually is a diagnostic tool indicating  the level of access the patient has to each level of consciousness; that is, the kind of pain that can access certain levels of consciousness. Predominantly, first line pain often calls for a first line blocker,  the benzodiazepines such as
Xanax or Atavan.  Or when the pain is based higher up and less severe, second line, we may use Zoloft or medication aimed at the limbic system. Here we use the kind of medication that was used up originally in the initial trauma in the battle against a lesser trauma.   It needs replenishing and that is the function of feeling level drugs such as Zoloft.

So who gets addicted?  Those first liners who are loaded with very early preverbal and often during womb life. These first liner may well be compounded by later traumas, neglect and indifference from parents.  Thus, first line pain may not be addicting but when it is combined with infancy and childhood pain may well be addicting. That is why having a therapy of feeling may lessen limbic pain enough to wipe away addiction but still leave the tendency in place. I liken this to homosexuality where the person is becoming less addicted to male love (for men) as he relives first line pain and also some of childhood emotional deprivation embedded in his nervous system. Inside that obsession with male love  is terrible need, and that need, unfulfilled,  turns into the need for surcease,…. a temporary drug fix; i.e, a homosexual affair and/or  a shot of whiskey or tranquilizer pills for the druggies.  We can see from this that nearly every obsession has some kind of need behind it.  That obsession, masking the real need,  And it has to go on for a very long time so long as the basic need has not been felt and relived.

How do I know all this? Because luckily for the past two decades there is research on all this. Long before the laboratory neurobiologic research, we made the discovery of deeply imprinted pain in our clinical work but it took years to quantify the pain.  We  found biologic equivalents that pointed to when the pain lessened.  And years later a new field of methylation came along to inform us of how pain got imprinted, and above all, thanks to measuring demethylation, how pain got removed from the neurobiologic system.  Thus we knew how much pain was in the system and where, and then we found out how the pain was extirpated, and where.  We came onto this because when patients reliving early pain, their drug addiction lessened;  and after a time it disappeared. We saw that there were different levels of primal pain and different nervous systems that imprinted them. And then we saw symptoms begin to disappear but not always; which  led to another discovery; that feeling was healing and that the more the patient felt deeper levels, the more severe symptoms left. We learned how the connections on deeper levels of brain function were essential  to cure.  And that there is no cure without a complete reliving of the basic need for love. And that love has different meaning according to the level were are operating on. The need for calm and proper nutrition, the need for a good and drug-free birth; the need to be touched and caressed,  the need to be safe and understood.   There are many, many more needs and any lack will be marked as pain; I mean marked, literally, as pain leaves a mark of methyl that says “there  is pain” and how much.  As pain is relived there is less pain, indicated by demethylation.  So we now have a marker for less pain and the resolution of neurosis. If the doctor  asks you, “Were you loved as a child?” and you shrug and say, “I do not know”, now you will know exactly.  Because to be loved means to experience basic need and the body knows even when we were not loved.  It cries maladies and makes us miserable because something is missing. In some cases we are sure it is a man’s love or another fix of a powerful painkiller. It tells us, “Watch out! Neurosis has set in”. Thereafter the habit still won’t go away until the need is felt completely.   Until it is experienced we can only be partially well and healthy.  The lack will trail us for a lifetime.  Since every unfelt need prevents full healing we know that feeling equals healing. There are no shortcuts. Biology is not constructed like that.  It never takes the easy way and neither should we.


  1. Arthur Janov!

    You've reached the qualifications to receive the Nobel Prize! How it is with those who think they know who should get it, I know that they do not know nothing at all about your work, or understands nothing about it at all. They might not even dare to see what it's about.

    The Nobel Prize should be awarded to whom do what for the context concerns survival of mankind! That is what you do Art. It must become the goal for the Nobel Prize Committee otherwise await a human destruction.

    If we do not do more than we have done to this day... it to inaugurate primal therapy in the human community... which until now can be likened as when a dragonfly fall into the water and can do nothing else than await to be eaten!

    Frank Larsson


  2. Stockholm 2016-11-22

    My drug was alcohol, I loved to drink it because I got a behavioral change in me. I did everything I dared not to do when I was sober.

    I was social and I dared so much then. But I always woke to shame. My goal was to become unconscious. I loved that rush. But one day I saw my behavior as I had, it was so strong to cope with it. I saw that I did not dare to live my life and the alcohol helped me with it.

    All at once I understood, I had to stop it. I got my reclusive life to be visible to me, and I ended up right with what I knew and wanted.

    After that I do not get any personality changes. The buzz from it fails, and I also got very fat of drinking. Alcohol does not give me any kicks anymore.

    The alcohol takes me straight to my childhood now. My memory of my adolescence is so disgusting to come back to.

    I travel straight to the mother's womb? Alcohol reminds me of an experience I had there. I get the same buzz here. Then I also get abstinence of alcohol. But not otherwise. It is only then I feel that I need it the buzz, that already exists in my body.

    Aida Castañeda

  3. Art!

    I hope your answer is not an apathy!

    An utopia just to talk, if humans could survive themselves long enough so primal therapy will be high on the agenda in order to be awarded a Nobel Prize... but to late!

    What one could hope (you know about hopes:) it is that you even after your death could experience the feat you have accomplished, but I understand that you already obtained the price for what the Nobel Committee not been able to live up to, the scientific context as you accomplished.

    The silence from the committee has only proven their ignorance, from they you do not need any confirmation as unaware of their true task. In other words, your science has proven what the future will confirm. So Art...
    I give you all my love as you so richly deserve. Sometimes I lose my breath over what you you've accomplished!

    Your Frank

  4. What good is the drug doing? The prescription drug, one builds up a tolerance to it, and finds that then they need a stronger dosage; vicious cycle. Yes, I would think people should really take note of Primal Therapy, and it's benefits, so people can live without taking the drugs. I would think the "authorities" in this country would want less people taking prescription drugs; seriously. They take the drugs , why? Because of the the birth trauma , the pain they feel? Do they think that they and other people are easier to get along with and that they can "function" easier when taking painkillers. I just don't think so. O.k., sure older people who have medical problems, yes, they almost have to take the painkillers or the prescription drug that their doctor orders; I know that is sad, and the older people know it, but they know they have to take it, and many do because they feel they are elderly (helpless), rely so much on their doctors' advice. But for the person who is does not rely so much on their doctor's advice, and experienced maybe a birth trauma, or just feel mental anguish, they don't have to just "settle" for the painkillers as an answer to their mental problems, trauma, phobias, etc....Possibly it isn't any one reason for one person as to why they continue to take the pain killer. People on the prescription drugs, pain killers...really, do they find it doing them any good or do people just think possibly "yes, go on taking them...I like you better when you take pills" and, possibly, one says to themselves: "I like myself better when I am taking them"; not even giving the system a chance for something real to even consider like Primal Therapy. How can people, people with knowledgeable brains, researchers, people who have clout and authority in the medical world, men and women whose job it is to "silence" all the violence in the states, how can they just "schluff off" (put aside) Primal Therapy; seriously. Prescription drugs and other drugs, can cloud and distort one's minds into a state that is not positive (just not good); many times. It is sad that people don't take note of Primal Therapy as an answer.

    1. Hi beachcost7,
      -"how can they just "schluff off" (put aside) Primal Therapy"-?

      Many reasons, here are three that seem to fit together to form the 'perfect coup' of denial.

      Firstly, the general and widespread confusion between 'feelings' & 'passions'. To elaborate on that, feelings are what they are (when and if one has 'access') but passions are like the 'deadly sins', they are act outs but people confuse the two. People are too ready to pin the label of 'passions' to Primal as if people were 'acting out' from free will the choice to 'express'. As if by 'choosing' to scream and shout and punch pillows one can somehow get better. As we all know this is faux Primal. Even the behaviourists don't believe in it, they simply deny repression:

      Then there's repression; which is it's own self fulfilling prophesy. So unless one has some personal experience of 'breaking down' and really feeling, one can never guess 'what lies beneath'. To a repressed person who doesn't know they are repressed, other people's feelings look like passions or 'act outs' and so to the ignorant person Primal Therapy looks like a charade. . . Sadly the charlatans who have plagiarised Art & Frances work have increased the sum total of delusion in this respect.

      Thirdly, the illusion of 'choice'. It has become popular recently to analyse your performance in terms of 'choices'. This is a figment of the imagination around the philosophy of 'free will'. Yes we can have 'free will' and we can make good (or not so good) choices, we can have the freedom & choice NOT to remain repressed for example. However, in place of genuine bonafide 'free will' and real choice most people bimble along on rails in a very predictable way (I am no exception). Primal Theory and therapy challenges the assumptions of free will and so called 'choices'. Are we as free as we wish to believe? Some intellectuals just will not consider the possibility that there is a 'Hidden Script That Rules Our Lives'. That is scary for people who's whole lives are based on a behavioural/philosophical model of mind over matter, reason over feelings, the assumption of personal free will and the alleged good choices that must necessarily come out of it.(Not to mention the moral high ground of keeping feelings under wraps - a kind of 'sitting on the fence' and looking down on other more passionate people).

      This is what we are up against if we try to use the Legacy to change people's perceptions. I believe if we really accept these obstacles (defences?) in ourselves first (they are three universal human obstacles), we stand a chance of being able to change other people's minds.

      Paul G.

    2. Paul, I think also that people in general mistrust all therapy. I know I did and my relatives did too because we felt a therapist would be opening up feelings that were a powerhouse and wouldn't know how to protect us when they came up. I know a lot of people think that way. I instinctively knew I had better leave them repressed until something safe came along. All that I've read and felt is that primal therapy takes feelings seriously and recognizes the impact of their valence.

      As far as choices goes, and mind over matter, we can choose not to be jealous but like you infer we can repress it but it will come out some other way maybe in passive aggressive or depression. How frustrating it must be for behaviorists and their patients by not getting to the root of behavior to not make any real change and relief.

    3. Sheri,
      How frustrating indeed. Doing the same thing over and over again and waiting hopelessly for a new outcome. art

  5. An email comment:
    "Thanks for writing.

    I would have to disagree with this article. Usually I don't disagree.

    First of all the so called medications that your using do not work as you described. First of all in the case of SSRI's no one really knows what they do. Studies have shown that they have only minor affects compared with a placebo. I would suggest in this regard reading Dr. Joanna Moncrief's MD, book The myth of a chemical cure. SSRI's have been found to have no direct effect on depression. Instead what they do is damage the cognitive centers of the brain, making it difficult for those under the influence to have a cognitive awareness of their disease. The depression is still there they just can't have insight into it, or themselves.. Others have shown that long term cognitive damage can result from even short use of those drugs. They also are notorious for inducing mania, and manic like actions in their patients, including violent assaults, suicides and homicides. They carry a black box warning to that effect. Unfortunately few people read it.

    Benzodiazepines, especial Xanax, are highly addictive drugs in and of themselves. Xanax in particular is one of the most dangerous drugs ever created. It was the first drug to ever be associated with inter dose dependence, in which someone on the drug can go into acute withdrawal after taking it once and missing a second dose. Xanax is also dangerous because it induces seizures at very small doses. This drug is responsible for more overdoses and deaths than Heroin. Its about 20 times stronger than Valium. Its interesting that insurers won't typically pay for Heroin detox, but mention Xanax, and the are no problems getting them admitted. Xanax, and all the other benzodiazepines, also make it difficult for patients to have a cognitive awareness of what they are feeling or doing. This often results in highly impulsive actions, like sleeping walking and driving a car while the patient thinks they are at home in bed asleep. Ambien is notorious for producing side effects like this which are well documented.

    Contrary to what you think, these medications, are not well understood. So what your describing in your article doesn't hold true. Sorry, but you missed the boat on this one. "

    1. And my answer:
      We have 50 years of experience of using these drugs on patients and we found them to be effective, if you know how to use them. These are not statistical truths, but biological truths. Art

    2. Art, in your experience have you found that people are able to have deep, first-line connections while on antidepressants?


    3. Kip,
      Highly unlikely as these heavy drugs stop the pain and hence the connection from taking place. The way in is the way out. You block connection so as not to feel, and you lift gates in order to feel and connect. art

  6. Thank you for your words, Art .

    When I was growing up , I so needed a word from my farther. Just a word to let me know he cared and was thinking of me. I never knew what he thought . On the few occasions I saw him I was still waiting in a paralysed state of mute fear for him to hold me and then I would have been able to reach out to him to show him I was happy to see him.Instead I just stood there. He never reached out his arms either. I would feel so ashamed and my mind would race to figure out what was wrong with me. I thought I had to do something or say the right words to get his love. I learned then that it was not enough to be me. So I became obsessed with searching for a self that he could love. I've been doing this my whole life and only now after decades of obsessive thinking that got me nowhere, and a failed relationship of ten years that I believed would save me from the past, the past has reared its ferocious ugly face with a vengeance and though I'm glad to have the primal process, It's still painful to stay with these feelings that there is no where to run and hide how I feel, and that I'm just a hurt child still not ready for the adult decision making world. But at least I have my feeling room set up now at home and am reclaiming my real self slowly when I pluck up the courage to face more of my real self, my more mature loving understanding self can emerge, and the past and present hurt can make sense so I no longer have to run away into situations that are futile act outs.
    It's been so painful to be playing a lesser role in the tragic play of my relationship with my boyfriend year after year, and I've been playing my part with so little feeling, trying to be happy when I'm not, and afraid to talk to the director and ask to play a different part. One where I get to be happy.

    Feel so embarrassed about not knowing the appropriate things to say because I'm frightened of my feelings. So I run to this blog to find comfort and words that it's all going to end happily and that I won't be destroyed by my real feelings.


    1. Katherina, If you keep on feeling life will turn out OK. It takes time and professional help. art

  7. Hello Art, good post, indebted as always. Also, I'd like to point out some good news in my (Australian) morning paper; it seems commonsense on the subject of addiction is at long last getting some airplay:

    US Surgeon General Report:

    Australian Greens Party New Policy on Drugs:


    Now all we have to do is move them to the understanding that addiction is not a disease, rather a symptom. But it's nice to see that the shift away from victimisation has begun.



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.