Delayed PTSD from 24 through 34 Months Age of Origin

These disorders also are caused by early separation-from-mother traumas, but are from an age just beyond the age range-of-origin of the psychoses. A common cause still is the separation from mother resulting from birth of a sibling, but that’s only one of many separation traumas. The advent of the working mother in America has been very harmful. Plastic toys and stuffed animals might look pretty in a daycare setting, but they are not what the baby wants or needs. Virtually anything that upsets the mother, or suddenly takes her attention away from the infant or toddler, can cause it to fear it is losing the mother or the mother’s love.

Onset, as with the psychoses, is precipitated by separation from some other “most important person” – which most often occurs during adolescence when a first intense romance fails.

Asthma peaks at 24 months and non-psychotic depression extends from 24 to 34 months, with clinically detectible differences from month to month because infant development is very rapid. The peak age of origin of persons who cut themselves is 26 months. This took 25 years to understand why. Toilet training is achieved usually at 27 months. By 26 months the mother is fed up with changing smelly diapers, and if there is a separation-from-mother trauma at 26 months, the baby blames the self and hates the self that Mommy went away and left him because he was not able to poop in the potty. This causes the most intense self-hatred of all.

Subsequent to 26 months, the depression usually is less severe because they have achieved the milestone of potty training which takes away much self-blame and self-hatred. There is a gradual lessening of the depression as the person moves toward the 34 month age of origin. Nonetheless, there still can be severe suicidal depression if the child experiences what it considers to be a loss of mother or a loss of mother’s attention or love. For example, if the mother continues to breast feed the older child and then stops to begin breast feeding the new baby, this can cause the older child to experience the painful feeling that it has been displaced. Thus it is critical to start weaning the older child well in advance of the arrival of the new baby.

The end of the age range–of-origin for non-psychotic depression usually is in the 34th month. For this reason, it has been my recommendation that mothers not put children in daycare until the baby is at least 35 months of age. Dr. Spock recommended 3 years of age, so we are very close – and since depression is quite painful, it is reasonable to allow an extra month for good measure.

Non-psychotic depression is characterized by depressed mood, but without hearing voices, having paranoid thoughts or delusional ideas. Intensity of depression is not always determined by age of origin. This can vary according to circumstance. Onset is precipitated by loss in the present, which usually occurs during adolescence because that usually is when a first romance fails. It also can occur later in life associated with divorce, separation, or even change of life or some other life-disrupting occurrence. Any major loss can precipitate depression in a vulnerable individual.

Treatment Protocol for Non-Psychotic Depression

Adding new meaning to life, as pioneered by Viktor Frankl, helps provide a means of overcoming depression. In 1957 and 1958, I took four courses with Dr. Frankl. He made his discovery when forced to march from one concentration camp to another, in deep snow, and he didn’t think he would survive the 20 mile hike. Then he imagined describing this ordeal to his students, and suddenly his journey became effortless.

This kept him alive. A person can be strongly motivated out of love or need, and either one will bring results. Perhaps this is why it is written in Book of Revelation 3:15 I know thy works that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would that thou wert cold or hot. 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

At the beginning of his career, Dr. Frankl was motivated by picturing himself telling his students of the ordeal he had to endure, and this gave him the energy he needed to survive. Energy flowing out to the other person is love and brings greater happiness to the self. In the Bhagavad Gita it is written “the route from tomas to satvas sometimes is through rajas” (the route from apathy to love sometimes is through need). Thinking first about describing his ordeal to his students gave him motivation and strength, but the energy was moving in the wrong direction for bringing true happiness. It kept him alive by feeding into a need, which produced energy, but the energy was focused back on the self, which does not produce true happiness.

We cannot “get” happiness; it is the byproduct is of giving. This is described in the love energy section of our findings. When a person falls in love, he is in a state of bliss. When it is energy back to the self, there is not the same level of happiness because it relates to unresolved childhood need instead. This can produce misery. Need, however, is better than apathy. It certainly was with Dr. Frankl, a great man who was very productive and helped countless individuals.

The highly recommended antidepressants I do not endorse. While hundreds of billions of research dollars have gone into the search for biological cures, this is based on the assumption that biological change is the cause of the disorder – yet there is not one shred of evidence that biological change is the cause. When the person shifts brain activity from later developmental brain structures to earlier developmental ones, there is a shift in neurotransmission – along with disuse atrophy of adult brain structures. Thus biological change is the result and not the cause of the disease process. It is noteworthy that the much touted SSRI medications result in 3 to 4 times as many suicides! Paxil, for example, originally was claimed to not increase suicide, but the data revealed a 6.2 fold increase. Now it is claimed to be a four-fold increase. ( depression/news/20060512/paxil-suicide-risk-in-young-adults).

I have seen deep depressions disappear with a person just finding a kitten, which they begin to protect, care for, and love. It is the love energy flowing outward that really overcomes the depression.

Case History

This patient was a troubled 16 year old who contemplated slashing his wrists with a razor blade because of extreme depression. He was hospitalized immediately, and the mechanism causing his suicidal depression was explained to him in approximately one hour. He understood the return to an earlier age when his younger brother was born, and he understood how this was reawakened ten years earlier when his parents separated, and he moved to California with his mother. He also understood how the constant contact with his mother after he returned to Philadelphia kept the earlier disturbed part of his mind active.

Within 24 hours of hospitalization, there were no clinical traces of depression remaining. No medication had been used, and medication could not have worked as quickly. After approximately one week in the hospital, he became extremely depressed once more, reaching the same intensity of suicidal thoughts and feelings. Upon questioning, it was learned that he had received a telephone call from his mother earlier that day. This occurred twice more, and, each time, it was immediately interpreted. Finally, he recognized the pattern and realized that he could have no further contact with her.

For some reason, contact with his father did not produce the movement into depression, and he was able to live with his father. One day, after he had his foot bandaged following a slight accident, he saw his mother from across a parking lot, and she pointed to his foot as though to ask what happened. He had not seen her for nearly six months, and this is the only contact they had. Within hours, he became suicidal once more, and he had to be reminded that the contact produced the reaction. The suicidal feelings and deep depression lifted after approximately two days. At no time did he require any medication, and, except for brief episodes following the contact with his mother, there were no signs of depression.

After enjoying recovery for approximately two years, he reestablished a relationship with his mother. Finally, he was able to move in with her without becoming suicidal, but the close association caused him to give up his life goals of becoming a professional athlete and resulted in a depression that was not as severe. He was treated with Zoloft by another psychiatrist for four years. With total separation once more, the condition probably would have resolved within a few days.

Note: This is not the mother’s fault. When there is an unsuspected infant separation trauma during infancy, once onset is precipitated later in life by separation from some other most important person, any contact flashes the person partially back to the earlier traumatic experience, resulting in a partial return to the entire earlier gestalt, the earlier mind/brain/reality/feelings/behavior/chemistry/physiology/body movements/level of affective expression and anatomic sites in the brain that were active and developing at the precise time of the original, unsuspected infant separation trauma. Fast recovery requires a period of total separation for maybe a year or two or even longer, to give the patient time to move solidly back into adult mind/brain/reality.

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