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Tics and Toxins: The Crazy History of Conversion Disorder

Freud signBy Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill

If you want to know what’s wrong with the diagnoses of “conversion disorder” and “mass psychogenic illness” recently given to high school girls with tic disorders in New York State, the place to start is not the rural villages of LeRoy and Corinth but the cosmopolitan metropolis of Vienna, Austria.

More than a century ago, Sigmund Freud treated a 17-year-old he called “Dora.” She had a cough, migraines, trouble talking, a weak left leg, depression, and other symptoms. After she passed out, her worried parents took her to Dr. Freud, a neurologist with a home office who was working on some interesting new ideas about unexplained illnesses. He was already treating Dora’s father.

Freud diagnosed Dora with “hysteria” – it was all in her head. She had unknowingly converted psychological stress into mental and physical symptoms, he believed. Based on his write-up of the case -- "Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria ('Dora')" -- she became one of the best known of a dozen early cases that shaped the history of psychiatry.

Seventeen-year-old Thera Sanchez, and a dozen other girls who developed tics last year at LeRoy Junior/Senior High School, are in a sense Dora’s twenty-first century peers – teenagers suffering from a baffling disorder. In addition to the Tourette’s-like symptoms, Thera and the other girls repeatedly passed out, had trouble walking, and suffered from migraines, joint pain, rashes, breathing problems, and hair and weight loss.

The Buffalo neurology clinic that examined most of the girls and the state health department say they have “conversion disorder,” an updated but essentially identical diagnosis to Dora’s hysteria. Like Freud, the doctors didn’t find anything physically wrong with the girls in LeRoy, so they declared it must be psychological.

“We have conclusively ruled out any form of infection or communicable disease, and there’s no evidence of any environmental factor,” said Dr. Gregory Young of the New York Department of Health following a three-month investigation.

But in both Austria and New York, we believe, the doctors have misdiagnosed what is much more likely to be real physical illness that has nothing to do with stress or trauma. In Freud’s cases, the trigger was actually mercury poisoning from medicines that were in widespread use back then, a new idea we propose in detail in our book “The Age of Autism – Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-made Epidemic.” In New York, infections like strep or Lyme Disease, and/or environmental factors like toxic fungi or spills from gas wells on the school grounds, are the likeliest triggers for the illnesses.

What’s really sickening, though, is the use of this antiquated and unproven diagnosis in place of rigorous investigation and appropriate treatment.

Even though much of Freudian theory is now regarded as quaint, wrong-headed or downright destructive – blaming parents for serious biological illnesses like schizophrenia, for instance –  hysteria and its successors have gotten the medical version of a hundred-year hall pass, reflecting the power of the psychiatric establishment to create its own version of reality.

To explain why – why Freud was wrong about hysteria and why today’s medical industry is making the same mistake and doing the same disservice to patients -- we need to take a trip back to a time and place not entirely unlike our own.

--

Vienna at the turn of the 19th century into the 20th was in the grip of cultural and political turbulence that created its own catchphrase, “fin de siecle,” or end of the century, usually followed by malaise or some other term denoting angst, uncertainty, upheaval. Amid the glitter of the ancien regime, the gears of the far-flung, polyglot Austro-Hungarian Empire were gnashing loudly. A young man named Adolph Hitler had come to the capital from the hustings, nurturing deep resentments toward the wealthy and artistic, many of them (like Freud) Jewish.

Ultimately, the ferment gave birth to much of what we now consider modern – in art, literature, philosophy, relations between the sexes – but the transition was chaotic. The Hapsburg Empire, of which Vienna was the resplendent seat, dissolved into the First World War that launched the savage century ahead.

Sigmund Freud was central to setting this world in motion and observing its effects, writing openly for the first time about the role of sexual desire (the libido) in people’s inner lives, and the reality of dark impulses (the id) barely held in check by culture and morality (the ego). The title of a recent book about him, “Inventor of the Modern Mind,” conveys the reach of those ideas. Freud believed these primal forces acted out a titanic struggle in hidden ways in everyday life, reflected in dreams and leading in some cases to the bizarre symptoms presented by patients who arrived in his office at 19 Bergasse.

In 1885, he and co-author Josef Breuer, an early mentor, published “Studies on Hysteria,” describing how such diverse and serious physical problems as paralysis, narrowing of the visual field, loss of sensation in the limbs, convulsions, and psychosis could all be explained by analyzing the individual’s psyche. Key among the concepts was repression, in which trauma or painful emotions were unconsciously suppressed, re-emerging as strange physical problems and mental illnesses.

Most of these patients were women, mostly young women from the upper rungs of Viennese society. Many of them – he noted with surprise – had just recently been nursing sick relatives, especially fathers with longstanding cases of syphilis they contracted before marriage.

--

In 1892 a prominent and wealthy Viennese manufacturer named Philip Bauer was referred to Freud after suffering an attack of confusion, “followed by symptoms of paralysis and slight mental disturbances."

It didn't take long for Freud to recognize the signs of syphilis, which Bauer acknowledged acquiring before marriage. While Freud is remembered for founding psychoanalysis, his academic training was in neurology and anatomy.  As an intern at the Vienna General Hospital, he regularly saw male patients with syphilis in the dermatology ward; PP -- for progressive paralysis or general paralysis of the insane, a terminal variant of syphilitic illness -- is written in his own hand in the hospital’s admission rolls.

Freud prescribed Bauer "an energetic course of anti-luetic (syphilitic) treatment, as a result of which all the remaining disturbances passed off." In 1892, such treatment could only have been mercury, and its “energetic” application probably involved both mercury inunctions (rubs) and injections of mercuric chloride.

Bauer was impressed by “this fortunate intervention of mine,” as Freud put it, so impressed that four years later he brought his daughter, Ida, "who had meanwhile grown unmistakably neurotic," for psychological help. That visit did not lead to ongoing treatment, but two years after that, her condition had further deteriorated; she had become despondent and wrote a note that her parents interpreted as suicidal.  So in October 1900, according to Freud, her father “handed her back to me for psychotherapeutic treatment.” She stuck with it for three months that became a turning point in the history of psychiatry.

Freud changed her name to “Dora” and wrote about her in a case study formally titled “Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria,” one of the foundational works of psychoanalysis and modern psychiatry. "After 'Dora,'" writes Freud biographer Peter Gay, "psychoanalytic technique was never the same.”

Freud attributed Dora’s symptoms to emotional and sexual conflicts triggered by improper advances from Herr K., the family friend who accompanied her father on his initial visit to Freud in 1892 (the incidents with Herr K. occurred the next year, when Dora was only 13). Also stirring the plot was Dora’s belief (probably correct) that her father was having an affair with Herr K.’s wife. And Freud was more than a little suspicious that Dora had sexual feelings for the wife as well.

 It was, in modern terms, a real soap opera

Freud wrote that one reason Dora cut off treatment while exploring these intimate issues was because “I neglected the precaution of looking out for the first signs on transference” -- in which patients unconsciously transfer strong feelings about key figures in their lives onto the therapist. "I did not succeed in mastering the transference in good time."

But Freud may have missed something more important -- the real reason for Dora’s decline. The clue is in the quotes at the top of the chapter and in Footnote 6 to “Dora”: “Now a strikingly high percentage of patients I have treated psychoanalytically come from fathers who have suffered from tabes or paralysis [italics Freud’s]. In consequence of the novelty of my method, I see only the severest cases.”

Sometimes in medicine, the most crucial evidence can be found in a footnote and this is a remarkable example. In that same footnote, Freud describes “the conclusion to which I have been driven by my experience as a neuro-pathologist -- namely, that syphilis in the male parent is a very relevant factor in the aetiology of the neuropathic constitution of children.”

But why? In “Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality,” Freud wrote: "I should like to make it perfectly plain that the children [of fathers with syphilis] who later became neurotic bore no physical signs of hereditary syphilis, so that it was their abnormal sexual constitution that was to be regarded as the last echo of their syphilitic heritage.”

But syphilis is not inherited, though it can be contracted from the mother during birth (just like HIV). And the “abnormal sexual constitution” notion is at once vague and bizarre. While having a father with syphilis certainly could create psychological problems, and counseling could help resolve them, this does not seem to be Freud’s argument. Furthermore, the symptoms these offspring developed go way beyond what Freud in another case called “commonplace emotional upheavals.”

On this, however, we agree with Freud: the connection was neither accidental nor unimportant. It offers new insight into the underpinnings of psychoanalytic theory.

--

Let’s take a look at the chronology of Dora’s illness and how it parallels her father’s. In the popular imagination, Victorian-era hysteria is perceived as the convenient fainting spells and histrionic behavior of upper-crust women.  Most people believe that hysteria was triggered by the emerging conflict between female self-empowerment and traditional roles. (“Hysterical is what men call women they can’t control,” says one modern scholar of German literature, and in casual parlance that’s a good definition). But both the mental and physical symptoms of clinically diagnosed hysteria were severe, and they were precisely defined.

 Dora had these symptoms, although not to the totally disabling extent of some other patients. According to Freud, "When she was about 12 she began to suffer from unilateral headaches in the nature of a migraine, and from attacks of nervous coughing. … The most troublesome symptom during the first half of an attack of this kind, at all events in the last few years, used to be a complete loss of voice.” Other signs and symptoms included “piercing gastric pains” and sometimes dragging her right foot.

Now let’s look at the timing of Dora’s troubles and her father’s treatment for syphilis: “About 12” was Dora’s age when he saw Freud for neurosyphilis and was given “an energetic course” of what was undoubtedly mercury.

Who tended him? Dora.  "The nature of her disposition has always drawn her towards her father,” Freud wrote, “and his numerous illnesses were bound to have increased her affection for him. In some of these illnesses he would allow no one but her to discharge the lighter duties of nursing."

It gives an entirely new meaning to “transference” if the treatment Freud prescribed for the father inadvertently poisoned Dora as she nursed him in his sickbed.  All her symptoms -- headaches, persistent cough, trouble walking and talking, gastric crises, depression -- are also symptoms of mercury poisoning (and reminiscent of GPI itself).  Their appearance entirely coincides with her involvement with her father’s treatment.

 Rereading Freud with this in mind, his psychosexual explanations for Dora’s symptoms seem much less plausible. Consider her persistent cough, or tussis nervosa as Freud called it. He believed it represented her obsession with her father’s probable affair with Frau K. and the thought of them having oral sex. “The conclusion was inevitable. … She pictured to herself a scene of sexual gratification … between the two people whose love-affair occupied her mind so incessantly.” She also:

declared she could still feel upon the upper part of her body the pressure of Herr K.’s embrace. … I believe that during the man’s passionate embrace she felt not merely his kiss upon her lips but also the pressure of his erect member against her body. This perception was revolting to her; it was dismissed from her memory, repressed, and replaced by the innocent sensation of pressure upon her thorax, which in turn derived an excessive intensity from it repressed source. Once more, therefore, we find a displacement from the lower part of the body to the upper.

Dora may well have been revolted by Herr K.’s behavior and distressed by images of her father’s possible affair, but the constellation of severe physical and mental symptoms Freud attributes to that distress seems unlikely. (Freud actually went so far as to suggest Dora would have been better off giving in to Herr K.’s advances!)

While our proposal that mercury poisoning caused many of Freud’s most formative cases appears to be new, the idea of toxic exposures among Freud’s cases is not a “fringe” proposition.  Another patient, Anna O., whose symptoms were similar to but much more pronounced than Dora’s, is actually considered the very first case in psychoanalytic literature. In the 1984 anthology “Anna O. -- 14 Contemporary Reinterpretations,” one essayist wrote: “In considering a speculative, retrospective diagnosis, I believe one cannot exclude the possibility of a toxic psychosis -- perhaps based on a morphine-opium addiction.” Anna had used these drugs to overcome severe facial pain, and this conjecture comes from George H. Pollack, who was at the time, director of the Institute for Psychoanalysis in Chicago, and had been a past president of the American Psychoanalytic Association. (Nothing “fringe” about him.)

When we typed two key physicals symptoms of classic “hysteria” – sensory neuropathy and tunnel vision – into an online search engine, a single diagnosis was returned: “Mercury chronic toxicity/poisoning.”

But of course, Freud wasn’t looking. He was looking to prove his hysteria hypothesis – and that’s all it was – could explain the inexplicable and bring him the “great nimbus” or halo of fame he acknowledged craving.

--

It’s not surprising that theories created more than one hundred years old don’t age well. Freud also went through phases in which he trumpeted the therapeutic powers of cocaine, and fell under the spell of a colleague who believed women’s sexual problems originated in the sinuses and could be corrected with nasal surgery.

What’s surprising is that conversion disorder, built on the same arid foundation of guesswork and supposition as these dangerously wrong ideas, has grown and thrived as a diagnosis.

The current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders states, “The essential feature of Conversion Disorder is the presence of symptoms or deficits affecting voluntary motor or sensory function that suggest a neurological or other general medical condition. Psychological factors are judged to be associated with the symptom or deficit, a judgment based on the observation that the initiation or exacerbation of the symptom or deficit is preceded by conflicts or other stressors.” The symptoms are not intentional – no one is faking it – but the cause is psychological.

This rigorous-sounding diagnosis goes on to establish four subtypes – motor symptoms, sensory symptoms, seizures or convulsions, and mixed presentation. The New York state clusters would fall under mixed presentation, as all those symptoms are present in most of the affected girls even though tics have become the defining disorder.

The occurrence of clusters is mentioned only in passing: “In ‘epidemic hysteria,’ shared symptoms develop in a circumscribed group of people following ‘exposure’ to a common precipitant.” For example, one member of a choir might faint and say she smelled a strange odor, causing others to believe they did, too, and also pass out. (Interestingly, that was not the case in New York state – the onset was independent of any proposed cause.)

Despite the modern nomenclature, the phrase “epidemic hysteria” points to origins in a much more primitive “understanding” of how the mind and body interact.

In “Studies on Hysteria,” Freud’s co-author Josef Breuer wrote the chapter titled “Theoretical Issues” that attempted to put some philosophical meat on the bare-bones case histories that led them to their new ideas.

“Are all hysterical phenomena ideogenic?”, Breuer asks, meaning are all physical symptoms that have no apparent cause the result of powerful ideas and emotions? Not all, he answers, but enough that the theory is valid. And it’s plausible, too, he claims: “It is a matter of everyday observation that in people with normal nerves pathological processes that are not in themselves painful cause peripheral pains in other organs; as, for example, headaches caused by relatively insignificant changes in the nose and sinuses.”

In other words, because a sinus infection can give you a headache, it’s reasonable to believe that stress over your parents’ divorce could make your arm twitch. Breuer then attempts to construct a biologically plausible pathway from painful emotions to hysterical manifestations in a section called “Intracerebral Tonic Excitation – Affects.”

In short, strong ideas or emotions lead to excitement in the brain and – as described in the next section, “Hysterical Conversion” – are transmuted into physical symptoms. In normal people, natural “resistances” prevent that excitation from affecting other organs of the body.

 Comparing this resistance to insulation on an electric cable, Breuer writes that “under high tension, cerebral excitation breaks occur at those points that are abnormally weak and this, the excitation of the affect, passes over to the peripheral organ.” So the stress caused by painfully excited thoughts in the brain, this theory goes, escapes to another part of the body and becomes “an abnormal expression of emotion” – a physical symptom of a psychological problem. Hysteria.

And those symptoms can persist. “If the original affect [emotion] has been discharged has been discharged in an abnormal rather than a normal reflex … the excitation emitted by the affective idea is ‘converted’ [italics in original] into a physical phenomenon.” Breuer then adds “Freud” in parenthesis to show this is his formulation.

“We have been able,” he asserts, “ to trace various symptoms back to precipitating factors of this kind – all kinds of neuralgias and anaesthesias [pain and numbness], which have often persisted for many years, contractures and paralyses, hysterical attacks and epileptoid convulsions that all observers had taken for genuine epilepsy, petit mal and tic-like affections, persistent vomiting and anorexia to the point of refusing all food, a great variety of visual disturbances, constantly recurring visual hallucinations and so on.”

All those ailments, then, can have a “psychogenic” basis, a basis that only a trained psychiatrist can deduce. They go on to give the example of “a girl, who, tormented by anxiety, is watching over a sick bed, falls into a twilight state and has a terrifying hallucination, while her right arm, which is hanging over the arm of the chair, goes to sleep; this develops into a paresis [paralysis] of the arm with contracture and anesthesia.”

Watch what Freud and Breuer are saying here: A young woman is tending to a sick relative and starts hallucinating, her arm becoming numb and paralyzed, a severe neurological problem. They blame anxiety; we point to mercury poisoning and its known effects as a much simpler explanation that was never considered.

This, then, is the biomedical basis for the modern-day diagnosis of conversion disorder – anecdote after anecdote supported by what Freud and Breuer presented as a step-by-step proof but today seems more like mumbo-jumbo.

And from that came the misdiagnosis that doctors now defend as well-established and conclusive.

“It’s happened before, all around the world,” said Dr. Laszlo Mechtler, the Amherst, N.Y., neurologist who has examined most of the girls in LeRoy. It’s a rare phenomena. Physicians are intrigued by it.”

--

The fact this mistake has been repeated rather than recognized does not make it any the less mistaken. But the medical industry, as we learned in writing our book, can be glacially slow to self-correct, especially when – as in any other industry – prestige and profits are on the line. So hysteria has endured (albeit converted into “conversion disorder”) against all reason as a catchall category, one that usually ensares women, especially young women.

"It is difficult not to draw the conclusion that, in formulating its criteria” for conversion disorder, the American Psychiatric Association “did little more than take an old diagnostic error and give it a new name together with a new aura of respectability,” writes Richard Webster in his mammoth revisionist history of Freudianism, “Why Freud Was Wrong.”

“Since the very concept of 'conversion' is specifically psychoanalytic, and since it is historically indivisible from Freud's own idiosyncratic theories of 'hysteria', it further seems that the creation of the category 'conversion disorder' was a politically astute way of preserving the old concept of 'hysteria' in euphemistic disguise.”

“The only strict criterion,” Webster concludes, “is that the patient’s symptoms should be medically inexplicable.”

We take a different view from Freud and his modern-day successors. In situations like this, we need to listen to and trust the victims and not the medical authorities that routinely resist inconvenient problems. Labels like “conversion disorder,” “mass psychogenic illness” and “hysteria” are simply protocols that project a false posture of competence in the face of a complex problem. The real label should be, “Our normal tools don’t work and we want this problem to go away because we have no idea what caused it or what to do about it.”

The attention needs to be on those who are affected, because we need to figure out what is different about the people who become victims from their close neighbors who escape injury.

We will explore those issues in our next articles.

--

Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill are Editor and Editor at Large of AgeOfAutism.com and co-authors of the “The Age of Autism – Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-made Disorder” (Thomas Dunne Books, 2010.) Portions of the discussion of “Dora” are from the book.

 

 

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Right Haydn...because it's a compound, that means it's safe. Let's not mention that Thiomersal is almost as toxic as the base element it's made of.

Haydn

"Oh, come on! It's a proven fact that it takes a lot more mercury than the traces that is in vaccines to cause the slightest amount of damage."

Where is it proven? Notice, incidentally, this article is not about the mercury in vaccines.

"BTW, the traces of mercury in vaccines isn't even mercury anyway, it's mercury compounds."

If mercury is in the compound it is in the vaccines and in those vaccines where it is still used at hundreds of times anything that could be called trace. The amount of mercury in the vaccines in which it is still used is 250 times the level at which it would qualify for hazard waste. You may find this article illuminating:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16079072

But mercury is only part of the vaccine racket.

Oh, come on! It's a proven fact that it takes a lot more mercury than the traces that is in vaccines to cause the slightest amount of damage. BTW, the traces of mercury in vaccines isn't even mercury anyway, it's mercury compounds.

"M" You said it!

Susie sorry.

Susie Been there for many of a year and done that.

The EEG being normal -- big deal -- it is normal only at that momemt -- it don't mean it will be normal when the kid is stressed or tired, or playing some freaking quick fast video game or upset from something that happened in school.

Some one that tells a parent that has witnessed seizures - or the parent who has teachers on to them to do something because they are starring in school abnoramlly -- that the EEG showed all was normal and to get out of their office needs - GRrrrrr -- hate them - so bad that only God could someday give me justice to see them in Hell.

Conversion disorder happens when the doctor is too dumb to find the correct diagnosis and converts his resulting feelings of inferiority into a diagnosis that blames the patient making him feel better.

This nuttery should be illegal in my opinion.

I have identical twin children, first twin to have tonic clonic seizure had abnormal eeg. Was told that other twin would not be if have a seizure, but when.... This twin had seizure 1 year later, and guess what normal eeg..... so had this been an only child and not an identical twin would this normal eeg mean that the seizures are psychogenic......so for anyone having normal eeg, with tonic clonic seizure, with the history of these two identical twins,,, ......psychogenic is refuted.

Norman Rosenblood
Is mental illness biological stress or is it emotional stress. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

This is silly - these girls were not close friends, all they had in common was living in the same area, going to the same school. And what emotional stress does a loose group of highschool girls living in New England, safe United States have?


What incredible misreadings! Dora had several dreams which Freud interpreted with a great deal of acumen. He also wrote the case up in order to illustrate how a therapy might fail. Quite courageous.

It is truly amazing how far people will go to undermine any possibility that unconscious phantasy can have an effect on conscious life. Yes some diseases have a psychological basis.
Not all, but some. The girls' conversion in Leroy does.

Olmstead and Blaxill might profit from reading Felix Deutsch's THE MYSTERIOUS LEAP FROM MIND TO BODY. There have been numerous cases of somatizing that have been cured by psychoanalysis. Read the journals! One is even called PSYCHOSOMATIC MEDICINE.

Jeff,

I really appreciated the link.

I have dealt with exactly this aspect of problem with someone, but she had many more additional co-ocurring problems that caused her to have what I feel a somewhat unique condition. I tried psychologists for her at the start and they were of no help. I have spent probably thousands of hours over time taking her from nothing through personally teaching and counseling her to a high functioning person who in some ways is smarter than I am.
The journey into the barreness of her being, due to illness and biological issues, and back out with her was excruciating although I learned more than I can remember, some because it was so bizarre that without keeping it tightly in mind regenerating the "insanity " of it is not possible after much time has passed as it makes no sense without it's own context and meaningless origins. By meaningless I mean she reacted in patterns for no other reason then ther was a stimulus. I realize there are psychological problems people may have, but others are completely at the mercy of their biologial dysfucntion and the attacke upon their brain and system immunologically and chemically.

Unfortunately, neurological disorders are often considered as psychiatric problems. http://jacksonville.com/news/health-and-fitness/2012-04-11/story/doctors-call-womans-multiple-sclerosis-initially-treated

This was submitted before my last post, but it did not show up. I integrated the last post into it, so you may disregard the last post.

With my Freud hat on I will explain what causes Autism. It is psychogenically based on an attachment disorder in highly advanced and intelligent infants. They develop so much faster mentally in the womb that their world construct is much more fully formed in the darkness of the womb and upon birth they cannot adjust to what light reveals and seek to only hear their environment usually without responding socially as was the case in the womb. Light reveals the objects making the sounds they hear and they begin to develop stress affecting their reactions to what this light is making them confront and this is subconscious at first, but when they start to understand language the sounds now having other world meaning intrude into their womb world and as they begin to understand are confronted by the other world through sound alone. The psychological impact causes an intense stress fear to deepen as it threatens to destroy their womb world construct and splitting occurs and they display Autistic psychosis. The worst offender becomes the extreme eye contact which is a force that intrudes into the safety of the womb world by representing a world they cannot accept without losing their womb world. This happens to boys more as they are usually most often intimately interacting with their mothers who are female and this is an even greater disparity of reality and increases Autism in boys by being mixed with the sexual attraction/losing oneself in attraction psychological Oedipus events in them. The propensity for girls to have lesbian proclivities in this group would be much higher as the Oedipus Complex would operate in them some as well.

In my diagnosis vaccines are a factor as well, though not by way of anything in the syringe. It is the breaching of the safety of the inner womb world by the needle violating the self barrier which also intensifies the Oedipus Complex of attraction and death of self/fear relationship in the Autistics world.

While my tongues is firmly in my cheek imagine if this was put out by some psychologist and consider if it might be taken seriously by some.

It is spelled Oedipus as in Oedipus complex. I meant to add that in my diagnosis vaccines are a factor as weell, though not by way of anything in the syringe. It is the breaching of the safety of the inner womb world by the needle violating the self barrier which also intesifies the Oedipus Coimplex of attraction and death of self fear relationship in the Autistics world.

With my Freud hat on I will explain what causes Autism. It is psychogenically based on an attachment disorder in highly advanced and intelligent infants. They develop so much faster mentally in the womb that their world construct is much more fully formed in the darkness of the womb and upon birth they cannot adjust to what light reveals and seek to only hear their enviroment usually without responding socially as was the case in the womb. Light reveals the objects making the sounds they hear and they begin to develop stress affecting their reactions to what this light is making them confront and this is subconcious at first, but when they start to understand language the sounds now having other world meaning intrude into their womb world and as they begin to understand are confronted by the other world through sound alone. The psychological impact causes an intense stress fear to deepen as it threatens to destroy their womb world construct and splitting occurs and they display Autistic psychosis. The worst offender becomes the extreme eye contact which is a force that intrudes into the safety of the womb world by representing a world they cannot accept without losing their womb world. This happens to boys more as they are usually most often intimately interacting with their mothers who are female and this is an even greater disparity of reality and increases Autism in boys by being mixed with the sexual attraction/losing oneself in attraction psychological Odepus events in them.

While my tongues is firmly in my cheek imagine if this was put out by some psychologist and consider if it might be taken seriously by some.

Did any of these mercury prescribing physicians completely believe these concoctions were risk-free? How often did they actually treat patients themselves verses assigning someone else to the task? Not knowing a lot about psychoanalysis, I had to check to see if Freud is also responsible for the concept of denial:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial

Dan and Mark, You two have done it again; another brilliant article. Please never stop!

Someday these psychiatrists with their ‘off the wall’ ideas will be debunked. That would remove one of many impediments standing in the way of getting at the cause of this scourge. What a bunch of incompetent ‘whooses’. I guess the bottom of the intellectual barrel tend toward psychiatry?

Thanks Dan and Mark for presenting this historical perspective. History of understanding is important, but researchers today are too focused on gathering new "empirical" data.

It's been 10 years now since I took Prof Lisa Cosgrove's Abnormal Psych course at UMass Boston. We were assigned the story of Dora, and I remember suggesting that her psychological problems might have been caused by syphilis. If her father had it, her mother likely also had it, and would have passed it on to her children.

Noguchi identified the spirochete in the brain (Noguchi H. The presence of Treponema pallidum in the brain of general paresis. Johns Hopkins Hospital Bulletin 1913; 24:229-230), but "gumma" scar tissue had already been described in the brains of people with GPI (Wood HC. Syphilis of the Nervous System. Detroit, Michigan: George S. Davis, 1889. [Countway 19.E.60]). These gumma were frequently found in brainstem centers, which should be investigated as a site of injury in psychotic disorders.

Creak and others recognized GPI as the cause of psychosis in some children (Creak M. Psychoses in Children: [Section of Psychiatry]. Proc R Soc Med. 1938 Mar;31[5]:519-528).

Treatments with mercury and arsenic compound are, of course, also important to consider. These toxic substances do affect brainstem centers, especially in the auditory pathway, because this is where blood flow is highest in the brain. See Oyanagi K et al. The auditory system in methyl mercurial intoxication: a neuropathological investigation on 14 autopsy cases in Niigata, Japan. Acta Neuropathol. 1989;77[6]:561-8.

With the recent outrageous Autism numbers with no real national concern....

Is there a national "link / no link news committee" that decides what spin to place on each and every medical study before it goes to print ?

In the last few days, we now know there is a "link to overweight mothers" and Autism. There "is a link" between dental x-rays and some cancer. Any "Autism genetic study" of any kind is always provided with ... "we see a link here status"... and endless glorified credibility.

The "we found a link studies" are then required to mention the "debunked link /1998 papers" and the "no vaccine / Autism link studies" provided by would be felons.

As the cell phone industry CANNOT EVER be wiped out with the damn brain cancer concerns... look soon for cell phone "no link studies" to be coming from communities in countries where there are no cell phones... or where they forget to say the "phones were not used" as there are no cell phone towers...

Oh, and Carol they could not take an EEG on someone having a grandmal seizure anyway - cause you have to hold perfectly still or be still to get an EEG.

Conversion disorder of the spelling type: whereby the word, under pressure of conflict between the reality of dark impulses (the id) finally succumbs to culture and morality (the ego): and manifests the conflict physically. ex: "Freud" converts to "Fraud."


Carol;
Also you said
"One thing bothered me about the New York girls. Someone said that the girl (or girls) who had seizures had normal EEGs during them."

I wonder if it is true that they had them hooked up to the EEG, with wires glued to their heads as they actually had a grandmal now called tonic clonic seizures????
OR was it inbetween these seizure only when they finally got an appointment and was able to be squeezed to be seen?

This type of junk went on years (YEARS) for my son.
In that case it does not mean a thing,other than they did not catch it at that time they did the EEG.
I talked to a neurologist the other day about this very thing. We were discussing the rather new procedure of now doing a 24 hour monitors - but still - during those 24 hour monitors it may just be that even those suffering seizure activity and epilespy will not have a seizure duing the time they are being monitored.

The neurologist will not dignose epilespsy from someone's eye witness report either. For that reason Epilepsy is difficult to get a dignosis, inspite of the fact a kid has almost bit it tongue off, or has a broken nose from a fall during a seizure.

The neurologist says that a lot of people are catching their love ones on cell phone videos now, and bringing them in to the neruologist's office and it is helping.

Further; to complicate matters is Narcolepsy - to my understanding is not regular type of epilepsy and there is no brian activity that can be picked up by an EEG of any type of seizure like activity during a narcolepsy event. I would like to know if this is true?


John sorry about the last post mistakes; but this is nothing new for me - literary mistakes is a must with each of my post.

And these are the people that get re-write the diagnostic criteria for our children.

It is like my son's nuerologists said - sure his seizures are attached to his emotions but most people don't have seizures when they get upset.

John Stone; Flegg is a piece of ----. What we need to do is print these replies off and file them somewhere. When this is all finished (if) we need to bring these pieces of paper out - have a trail and in my fantasy have his words tattooed on his hands or forehead for all to see forevermore!

John Sonte: Peter Flegg is a well being a Christian woman I can't say it.
But I swear there should be a place were we can file these pieces of paper and IF this mess ever ends - society as punisihment should review these pieces of paper and have some of the junk they say - tattooed on their hands and foreheads - so they can go around the rest of their life marked for the scum they are.

schizophrenia; A person makes it to his late teens early 20s - as a okay human being, going to school, going to work, and then they regress just like a 9 month old baby or a 15 month old bady does untill that vaccine shot-- and the medical community barely looks up and wonders???? I have never understood that. We had a 26 year old in my husband's family this happened too. Did he take a vaccine a little before, or had a cold - we think so, but it is rather had to retrace someone steps that is not thinking straight and can tell you.

Sorry Carol, I may have misinterpreted your stance on asthma.

Rachael,

I have asthma, which I developed as an adult. I've been an adult for a very long time. I don't think you understood my post.

Carol said: "In movies asthma is still a psychiatric disorder: you see neurotic types reaching for their inhalers whenever they get upset."
*******************
Steroid asthma inhalers are inhaled and oral corticosteroids used to reduce inflammation, calm the flare up, and reduce the symptoms of an asthma attack (immune response causing inflammation). Steroids, are once again agents that suppress the immune system (immune suppressants). Did you ever think that those who you see a neurotic types (highly sensitive people), may have been born with more sensitive, reactive immune systems, than their non-sensitive counterparts?

Stress can make many illnesses worse; it doesn't make illnesses like asthma, autoimmune illnesses or allergies any less real. It's like saying cancer patients should be able to cure their illness, (which in many cases is caused by a suppressed immunity); why can't they hype-up that sluggish immune response, that they were born with and eliminate those cancer cells? Why aren't they in control of their innate poor-functioning immune system?

Great article, guys! Really solid coverage of this interesting problem. I second what Beth said about hoping the Leroy parents don't accept the lame explanation given to them by Dent etc. It sure seemed that Dr. Trifiletti was their best hope.

I have been very curious about the LeRoy girls and how they're doing? are they back in school? Are they still suffering from uncontrollable tics? Haven't heard a thing.

You can see in the UK particularly that the handing over of incovenient illness to the psychiatric profession is systematic - doesn't matter what it is ME/CFS, water contamination (Camelford), Gulf War/Iraq War Syndrome, mobile phone radiation: usually the same illness busting gang from the Institute of Psychiatry. Obviously, when there is anything this kind the message goes out from our Department of Health "Send in the boys!"

I could spend hours digging out links but here's an exchange from BMJ about vaccine damage from the Iraq War

http://www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a220?tab=responses

I note that a letter from Prof Malcolm Hooper of Sunderland University and Derek Hall has been removed.

Always the same tactics - doesn't really matter so much whatever anyone thinks providing no one has any legal redress (or appropriate medical support). Everyone has to be persuaded their illnesses are delusional for official purposes. What a racket! Greater contempt hath no man than that he should lay down his life for his country.

In movies asthma is still a psychiatric disorder: you see neurotic types reaching for their inhalers whenever they get upset.

One thing bothered me about the New York girls. Someone said that the girl (or girls) who had seizures had normal EEGs during them.

I agree with Beth that google MD's will sharply reduce the prevalence of "conversion disorder." I wish I'd had access to a computer and google back when a doctor told me there was no explanation for my physical symptoms (which I much later learned were caused by the mercury in my fillings) and he gave me the name of a psychiatrist because my symptoms were "psychosomatic." It's all about saving the ego of the doctor who can't find a diagnosis while keeping psychiatrists employed.

Thank you for continuing to expose the complete sham diagnosis known as conversion disorder. I look forward to more installments on this topic. I don't believe the psychiatric profession will ever take conversion disorder out of the DSM - it's way too important for business. But with better education such as this article, medical consumers can be forewarned and look deeper for causes of their "unexplained" symptoms.

Psychiatrists have been very reluctant to accept the idea that depressions, which they know so well, may be caused by allergies to common environmental molecules such as foods, airborne particles, and chemicals in water. When patients were depressed and anxious, and at the same time suffered from diseases accepted as allergic, psychosomatic explanations were used. This usually meant that a psychological explanation for the presence of the allergic reactions was invoked.

Treatment of the allergy will, in most cases, "cure" the depression. The tricyclic antidepressants are third generation antihistamines. The discovery of the antihistamines was followed by their use as tranquilizers. Tricyclic antidepressants are antidepressants largely because of their antihistaminic properties. A large fraction of depressions are responses to environmental molecules, and that the tricyclics are effective in many patients because of their antihistaminic properties, not because they act upon the serotonin or sympathomimetic amine pathways.

Source: http://www.orthomed.org/resources/papers/hofdepr.htm

"Even though much of Freudian theory is now regarded as quaint, wrong-headed or downright destructive – blaming parents for serious biological illnesses like schizophrenia, for instance – hysteria and its successors have gotten the medical version of a hundred-year hall pass, reflecting the power of the psychiatric establishment to create its own version of reality."

This is precisely why some long ago sage wisely said:

"Pyschiatry is to medicine .. what astrology is to astronomy".

It's really great to see your writings about Freud/Hysteria and the patients' common link of mercury exposure written about here on the website. This was such an important part of the AoA book, and it definitely belongs here for the world to see in light of the tic disorders in New York.

People can decide for themselves - does the complicated psycho-sociopathico-sexuo-frustrato-anxieto-transfero explanation for "hysteria" or "conversion disorder" make sense? Or is it more likely that a shared exposure to an environmental toxin is to blame? Personally I'm a fan of Occam's Razor - the simplest explanation is best - especially in light of what Dan and Mark have put out there on Freud and Hysteria and mercury.

In this day of Self-MD and Google University, I hope that the parents and affected girls in NY will not accept the experts' lame, out-dated diagnosis and they will press hard, bringing in their own set of environmental toxin experts to determine what is causing this cluster of tic disorders.

I hope you have inspired many people in NY to press harder for answers with this post.

My son took a college course on dinosaurss, a couple of years ago since he had a real interest in them.
He also had to pick a book on a short list providede by the instuctor.
He picked
" Night Comes to the Cretaceous: Dinosaur Extinction and the Transformation of Modern Geology "
it was 300 pages of finding proof, after proof, after proof of a meteroite hitting the earth that brought on a mass extinction of the dinosaurs, and although there were long time periods between such hits - it did happened very regularly!
And every global, big wig Earth Science meeting scientist after scientist armed with this proof were all confronted with the dogma of the older generation.-- Toward the end of the book - the proof was beyond proved - It finally started to become frustrating to read - the stubborness, blindness, stupidity, the dogma of some scienctists!

But it was even worse for me than an average reader because I was doing some "transference" of my own on the subject of vaccine and modern medicine.

If this is what it took just to change just stupid textbooks - and nothing else because there is nothing we can do about something falling from the skiy--

Then we will never be able to do anything about vaccines, awareness of heavy metal poisoning, people dying here, life is not being lived at its fullness. Old dogma is the worse of the worse!

Did you know that asthma, was not recognized until the 1960's as an inflammatory disease? Before that it was viewed as a psychosomatic illness. During the 1930s to 1950s, asthma was known as one of (the "holy seven" psychosomatic illnesses, along with hypertension, ulcerative colitis, Graves' disease, rheumatoid arthritis, peptic ulcer, and neurodermatitis.)(1)

"Asthma was described as psychological, with treatment often involving, as its primary component, psychoanalysis and other 'talking cures'. A child's wheeze was seen as a suppressed cry for his or her mother. Psychoanalysts thought that patients with asthma should be treated for depression. This psychiatric theory was eventually refuted and asthma became known as a physical condition."

Sound familiar?

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/asthma/asthma-history.php

Source(1) http://psy.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/49/1/3

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