To fully understand this essay it is necessary to read parts one and two, which are available at:
This final section in the series will draw some unexpected conclusions from the previous information offered concerning limbic connectivity and fundamental sympathetic vs. parasympathetic neural balance. I will first state some hypothetical conclusions offered up some months ago, and then offer several lines of reasoning to extend those ideas in the context of an empirical framework.
A few basic ideas must first be understood:
a. Tourette's and OCD, in some instances, are associated with volumetric changes in the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia is an unusual cluster of nuclei, which instates and removes inhibitions (Gazzaniga, 2009). It appears to me, to act as a physiological corollary to the repressive processes. In my self-analysis I have discovered that the illness, OCD, was caused by the repression of libido into the unconscious. This was accomplished in two ways: 1. Regression and subsequent repression of libidinal ideations first changed into aggressive ones, and, 2. Repression of overt sexual ideations.
b. The ascending activating system provides cortical tone to the mental system as a whole, and is rightly thought to be the source of the undifferentiated libidinal energy which powers thought and mental activity in general (Kaplan-Solms & Solms, 2002, p. 267). This ascending activating system, which works on but few neurotransmitters, is to be understood as undifferentiated potential, the particular configuration of elements in which, define all of our emotional states, which may appear as opposites, but are in fact formed by physiological recombinations of the same internally intraconnected substrate: undifferentiated libido. When a hateful, or a plainly libidinal/sexual ideation, is brought to consciousness and analyzed, in both cases the result of the fixation being disbanded is identical: the release of the system to its unbound state of potential––undifferentiated libido is released in all cases (Norman, 2011).
c. Some of the most basic and primary neural circuitry formed in development, the sympathetic and parasympathetic limbic circuits formed via maternal interaction, which connect the limbic and orbitofrontal areas, are respectively, a sort of pleasure center and cut off for the same, the sympathetic dopaminergically modulated, the parasympathetic noradrenergically modulated, which respond dynamically to internal and social conditions (Schore as cited in Kaplan-Solms & Solms, 2002, pp. 234-237; Norman, 2013 Prometheus). The sympathetic is our pleasure, libido, dopamine, energetic expression and pleasure, the parasympathetic is as an early prototype of repression, as shame.
d. The brain is a causally bi-directional electro-chemical system. Our thoughts are created within a physiological substrate––the nervous system, and in turn, we can see that our thoughts are but patterns of dynamic electro-chemistry, and the dynamic electro-chemistry of the nervous system is in turn, nothing but our thoughts. Therefore our thoughts can affect the electro-chemical configuration of processes which is the physiology of the brain, and vice versa.
OK––now for the idea:
I believe the mental system in its overall energetic distribution can be seen as noradrenergic or dopaminergic in its distribution of overall balance. This balance can be encouraged one way or the other. The therapeutic goal is a reversal of repression, both in terms of a redistribution of noradrenergic energetic potential to unrepressed dopaminergic, and also, in terms of the removal of unconscious libidinal ideations from under repression to affect the system as to increase its dopaminergic constituent, and alleviate active Parkinsonian symptomatology. If I am correct, the onset of symptoms may be delayed or curtailed entirely, depending on the level of physical degradation, or lack thereof. The system in its state of function can be assisted so as to achieve a better outcome, or, prevent the emergence of full-blown symptoms. There are two avenues of support for this notion:
I base this assertion on the following a-priori experiment, carried out many, many times:
1. A self-psychoanalysis is not a simple proposition which is finished cleanly. Basic patterns of internal orientation must be altered, a proposition which entails much time and effort––a long back and forth. This circumstance allows one to observe the difference between the two states, one ill and repressed, one well and accepting of the ideations which were under repression, as they exchange places in consciousness. When the illness reinstates itself, my hand develops a tremor, distinctly Parkinsonian in its slow rhythmic oscillations. My mood plummets and I am ill. I use a technique called the "open emotional posture" to access the hidden sexual ideation, and it is always either an angry violent ideation, sadistic, or overtly sexual, always, and then, release the idea to consciousness. At this point the idea must be analyzed. If sexual or sadistic, the resistance must be removed, the distortions clarified, or the symptom, the tremor, worsens. The tremor symbolizes the vacillation between the two wishes, the punitive moral wish for repression, and the id wish, which inhibit each other as a paralysis in a dream, which also works thusly, or an hysterical symptom, which again is formed by suspension between two opposite wishes. Once the inhibition, the punitive, has been removed, the sexual or aggressive wish can be removed from shame…repression lifted. The sexual is then easily admitted into consciousness, the aggressive then is revealed as but a frustrated libidinal wish, and that wish is then admitted into consciousness, and the system responds with a flood of pleasurable sensations, and the tremor stops. Here we see the removal of a repression and the redistribution of the mental system to a state of dopaminergic predominance, of sympathetic predominance.
I suggest that there will be a correlation of negative value between the predominance of sympathetic dopaminergic neural balance, and Parkinson's. Put another way: There will be a negative correlation between Parkinson's and psychoanalysis. Or: Psychoanalysis offers a prophylactic service of some proportion against the onset of Parkinson's. The mechanism of therapeutic efficacy is an increase in dopaminergic predominance. The brain and mind form a causally bi-directional system.
2. Another bit of proof leading toward this idea can be found in an analysis of the conditions of schizophrenia, and hysterical psychosis. In our hypothetical therapeutic model, we are seeking the removal of repressions to increase dopaminergic modulatory balance in the brain. This idea can be supported as we look at those conditions which are characterized by hallucination, which to a great extent indicates the return to consciousness of repressed libidinal content (Freud, 1911 pp. 1- 82…citations abound here). In this case, the case of schizophrenia or hysterical psychosis with hallucination, the treatment of choice is Haldol, Thorazine, or another anti-psychotic, which as you are probably aware, works by inducing first stage Parkinson's via a blockade of the dopaminergic neuronal system (Goodman & Gilman, 1985). So repression is instituted, and unconscious sexual ideations curtailed from emergence into consciousness by the same means––dopaminergic modulatory alteration. So we can see, that to allow a sexual ideation up from under repression is a function, at least in part, of a relative increase in dopaminergic activity in the system (5-HT is involved with repression as well), as those with hallucinatory illness have just such an excessive dopaminergic balance. Schizophrenics display just this sort of dynamic, with heightened limbic activity, and reduced frontal activity, reduced repressive activity from the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (Hobson, 2002).
So I believe that symptoms of Parkinson's and the syndrome in general, may be wholly or partially responsive to psychoanalytic intervention. Much of dopaminergic balance is subject to influence by purely mental factors, and may demonstrate no small measure of flexibility and adaptive dynamism to combat the onset of this condition, should the subject be willing to take an unvarnished and severe look into their own mental processes, and in so doing, liberate the unbound libido associated with the now properly allocated ascending activating system, and, limbic-orbitofrontal circuitry, and hence, the dopaminergic constituent, which is under the sway of repressive and analytic influence.
This hypothesis is testable. To rightly define the active mechanism of influence, one must attribute the theorized efficacious therapeutic activity to the psychoanalytic creation of sympathetic predominance in overall balance between the two primary limbic circuits. So to test the theory, first, one would look to the predicted situation, and assess its statistical verifiability.
1. Subjects are gathered with known mutations to the LRRK2 gene associated with the 12th chromosome. These subjects demonstrate a substantially increased risk for developing Parkinson's. The greater number of test subjects, the more reliable the result. A detailed survey of personal habits is administered, to allow any later correlations between lifestyle choices or other unrelated factors to be taken into account.
2. These subjects are tested as indicated in the previous article in this series so as to assess their state of sympathetic/parasympathetic balance in the fundamental ventral sympathetic and lateral parasympathetic tegmental limbic circuits in response to a wide variety of stimulus.
3. The life span of these subjects, and the date of Parkinsonian onset symptomatology is then recorded.
4. The theory predicts a demonstrable positive correlation will be present between length of lifespan, delay or curtailment of symptoms, and sympathetic/dopaminergic neural balance between the ventral sympathetic and lateral parasympathetic tegmental limbic circuits.
As the editor of Mind Magazine I am in the lucky position to be in communication with some of the most highly expert scientists in a variety of disciplines. Dr. Martin Broome is one of them, and I have learned much from him about the immune system and its influence on cancer, cancer prevention and treatment. It seems that the cancer patient is locked in a difficult psychological and physiological conundrum. As is widely known, the immune system is responsible for keeping cancer in check, and, the immune system is compromised in its efficiency by stress. To discover you have cancer is stressful, and hence, the diagnosis itself may hinder the progress of recovery. [Music therapy is often a compensated form of therapeutic intervention, and music affects us by way of maternal attachment circuitry (Panksepp, 1998)].
To understand the role of the neuropeptide systems in this situation, reveals much. Please recall the previous sections in this series, where it was established that the sympathetic dopaminergic circuitry in question was encouraged to begin its formative innervations via the exchange of maternal glance and gaze, and that this exchange is accompanied by maternal touch, which releases beta endorphin into the system. Endogenous opioids such as beta endorphin, if you will recall, act to quell anxiety, increase analgesia, and mediate social reward and conditioning as reinforcement. So, here in the initial infant mother dyad, we see the production of endemic opioids associated with the creation of our basic affective regulatory system. Beta endorphin is balanced against corticotrophin releasing factor in our system of affect regulation––CRF is associated with stress, beta endorphin with security and reward (Panksepp, 1998, p. 112).
Next please recall that all the world is given its quality and definition by way of symbolism (Norman, 2013 quantitative). Remember also, that symbolism is the mind's intra-systemic means of communication, ie., the unconscious becomes available to consciousness once symbolized in dreams (Freud, 1900). The mother, has undergone much additional layering in her symbolic meaning and impression since we were 18 months old! For this reason, to imagine her face involved in the infantile exchange of maternal gaze and glance is ineffective, as she means many things now symbolically beyond the early formative impression. The solution is to craft a symbolic image which is directly resonant to the initial impression of the circuitry's formative process. To engage the circuitry, and I use this each day to excellent result, the following symbolic image must be formed in the mind's eye, and, entered into as if a dream. The result is a peaceful, safe, content state indicative of beta endorphin activity, formed by manually engaging the sympathetic circuitry which connects the orbito-frontal areas with the limbic. We should observe that as beta endorphin activity is increased, pain response is decreased, and other empirically testable responses will be found, like a characteristic EEG associated with secure low stress states, rather than the easily defined activity of mentation associated with fear, and anxious stress. Here is the symbolic key, symbolized from the source formative impression which caused initial innervation, that in turn, activates the circuitry:
Can you picture it? The sun pouring down upon your face, shining and warm, golden and loving is this light, a light you are folded into, and have created, shining, pouring back up into the arch of heaven, spilling from your glad face, and again down to fill you, the trees nodding as you dream them, the sky golden and warm as you have poured it––and back around––for it has dreamt you…now as the world, of the world, nourished and warmed, our circle complete, a circuit of golden warmth and light spilling the world into being and returning again, unto you, and again, you unto it…and all the world is eternal, safe, now and again nourished and nourishing, the earth and life, now and again, but a single warmth, a round, a circuit, a circle of happiness, pouring down and returning, warm and sweet, the world now glad and warm, complete, born out and eternal, the human circle glowing, as life spilled round into warmth––and golden light.
Enter into the image as if into a dream and meditate. That should supplement immune response, particularly in those cases which are deficient in the balance and activity of the sympathetic circuit. Other uses of this circuitry include the amelioration of trauma, and the conversion of fixated pathogenic unconscious content into healthy undifferentiated libido. Please ask for details.
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This work is the sole property of the author, Rich Norman © 2013, 2014 and is used by this forum with both permission and gratitude.