(PRWEB) December 12, 2013
Phobic and panic responses seriously impact approximately 10% of the population, often triggering depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, etc. Prior to Dr. Levinson's research breakthrough, the form or quality of most phobias have defied psychological and neurophysiological explanations.
Psychoanalysts have long considered phobias to represent symbolic expressions of unconscious conflicts. Thus fears of falling from heights were thought due to conflicts with success and a hidden desire to fail--symbolically fall. Behaviorists often regarded the cause of phobias irrelevant to the success of their conditioning therapies. Similarly, neuropharmacologists have successfully attempted to decrease the impact of the anxiety and panic associated with phobias utilizing Prozac-like serotonin enhancing medications called SSRI's, but ignoring their form.
Dr. Harold Levinson, a world-renowned psychiatrist and neurologist credited with dramatic medical breakthroughs in the understanding, diagnosis and successful treatment of dyslexia, has clarified inner-ear research into the specific mechanisms and holistic treatment of phobias, as well as how they overlap with each other, dyslexia and ADHD. His now validated cerebellar and inner-ear insights have also led to a "highly original" understanding and treatment of dyslexia and ADHD, each affecting over 10% of mankind.
The role of the inner-ear and its supercomputer, the cerebellum, in triggering phobias was discovered by Dr. Levinson accidentally. While successfully treating patients with dyslexia or learning disorders (LD) and ADHD with inner-ear-improving medications, his patients’ reading, writing, math, concentration and distractibility, as well as balance, coordination and overall sensory-motor processing, improved. But they also unexpectedly reported improvements in, or disappearance of, their fears of elevators, escalators, trains, planes, buses, driving - even walking.
"I was suddenly forced to recognize a common denominator previously hidden in clear view," states Dr. Levinson. "All these phobias were motion related. And they appeared to be triggered by inner-ear mechanisms similar to those resulting in corresponding forms of motion sickness." This simple insight clearly explained the unanticipated favorable response of these and many other phobias to inner-ear improving anti-motion sickness medications. It also suggested that normal, adaptive anxiety warning responses, like motion sickness, may go awry and be pathologically triggered by minor, harmless stimulation and/or become severe and maladaptive, even inducing panic.
As chance would have it, one new insight led to another. Thus, inner-ear mechanisms were discovered to cause and shape other phobias. For example, fears of heights, bridges, crossing busy intersections and wide-open spaces alone or with nothing to lean onto (agoraphobia) were found to be balance and coordination related, as were phobias of sports, driving and riding a bike. Fears of new places, traveling alone and getting lost were frequently determined by compass or orientation mechanisms. Impaired sensory processing explained fears related to noise, light, crowds, touch, smells and taste. Inadequate sensory input often resulted in claustrophobic fears of enclosed or shielding environments such as tunnels, caves and darkness, even waiting on lines or being stuck in a seat - and so deprived of needed motion.
The above insights also highlighted other important diagnostic and therapeutic considerations. What is the value of classifying phobias by only their name if many differently named phobias have a common determining mechanism? And what if one named phobia had completely different causes and determining mechanisms?
Thus, for example, Levinson recognized that a fear of flying may be caused by any one or a combination of the following origins:
1. A realistic learned fear triggered by the vivid memory of a prior plane crash
2. A neurotic fear dating back to a forgotten plane-related trauma (separation from a loved one, getting lost, etc.) occurring during early childhood
3. Cerebellar-inner-ear triggers, eg. acceleration or deceleration, heights, being trapped within the cabin (claustrophobia), the anticipation of crashing in water and drowning due to swimming dyscoordination, severe vertigo and disorientation
4. Impaired anxiety-releasing brain structures and mechanisms resulting in maladaptive panic attacks and generalized anxiety without known or discoverable causes, or pathologically attaching to the above-mentioned phobic triggers as well as other currently harmless ("random") forms and events (snakes, rodents, birds, colors, etc.) which may have had adaptive significance to our prehistoric ancestors.
Each of the phobic causes was found to have its own best response to a specific therapy. And combinations of causes and mechanisms characterizing each phobia responded best to combined therapies.
Accordingly, Dr. Levinson devised a new classification and holistic treatment of phobias based on the above diverse etiologies as well as their specific determining mechanisms. All these clinically obtained insights and more are explained in his many research studies and summarized in his dyslexia, ADHD and phobia books.
"You feel your idea is right when a whole bunch of seemingly diverse data can be simply explained and fits together like the differently shaped and colored pieces of a complex puzzle when completed," noted Levinson. The basis of this feeling is scientifically called isomorphic validation. He added, "I suddenly understood why dyslexia, learning disorders, ADHD and phobias all overlap with one another and are characterized by similar balance and coordination symptoms and neurological signs diagnostic of an inner-ear dysfunction."
Their previously puzzling comorbidity was found due to a common fine-tuning impairment within the inner-ear and its supercomputer, the cerebellum. The variation in symptoms and disorders arise because of a failure of diverse reading, writing, spelling, concentration and anxiety brain structures to process the "dizzy" or scrambled signals received and transmitted. Using these holistic insights, all phobics seeking treatment can now be understood and thus significantly helped, often rapidly. By simply understanding their symptoms, most phobics immediately feel hopeful, relieved they're neither crazy, brain damaged nor hopeless. This therapeutic insight is often the first vital step to a successful outcome.
About Harold Levinson, M.D.
Formerly Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York University Medical Center, Dr. Harold Levinson is currently Director of the Levinson Medical Center for Learning Disabilities in Long Island, New York. He is a well-known neuropsychiatrist, clinical researcher and author. His "highly original" research into the cerebellar-vestibular (inner-ear) origins and treatment of dyslexia and related learning, attention-deficit/hyperactivity and anxiety or phobic disorders has evolved over the past four decades. Initially supported by Nobel Laureate Sir John Eccles and other outstanding cerebellar neurophysiologists and inner-ear scientists, Levinson's research has more recently been independently validated worldwide by highly sophisticated neuroimaging brain studies. For more information, call 1(800) 334-7323 or visit http://www.dyslexiaonline.com.