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Delayed Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Model for Schizophrenia and Depression
(The Unification Theory of Mental Illness)

Clancy D. McKenzie, M.D., B.C.E.T.S
Philadelphia Psychiatric Consultation Service



A combat veteran exposed to a loud noise 10, 20, or 30 years after combat reacts in a predictable way. Any event, sufficiently intense and similar to earlier combat experience, can precipitate a flashback or even a delayed Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. The reaction is understood because the initial combat experience was life-threatening.

Few realize that separation from the mother to the baby can be more frightening than war trauma to the soldier. For 150 million years of patterning of the mammalian brain, separation from the mother has meant death, and thus the human infant is very sensitive and easily overwhelmed by events that would seem non-traumatic to the adult.

To the soldier, a loud noise in the present precipitates a flashback to a loud noise in the distant past. To the schizophrenic, separation from a "most important person" (husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend) - or group - in the present, precipitates a flashback to separation from the "most important person" (mother) in the distant past. The author has found that each initial psychotic episode - if the history is known - is precipitated by a separation from a most important person (or group) in the present.

To the soldier, the flashback is to combat experience, behavior and reality. To the schizophrenic, the flashback is to infant experience, behavior and reality. Each piece of bizarre reality and behavior of the schizophrenic matches in some way that of the infant at the time/age of the original trauma.

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©1998 by The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, Inc.

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September 2013

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