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Arnold, L.E. Selinger, S.S. Koizumi, H. (1981). Limbic Regression with Derepression of Oedipal Feelings. Am. J. Psychoanal., 41(1):81-84.

(1981). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 41(1):81-84

Brief Communications

Limbic Regression with Derepression of Oedipal Feelings

L. Eugene Arnold, M.D., Stanley S. Selinger, Ph.D. and Hisako Koizumi, M.D.

Most knowledge of the normal preschool oedipal feelings for a parent of the opposite sex come from reconstructive analysis of neurologically normal adults or from observation of phallic stage children. We have discovered in the symptoms of a severely brain-damaged adolescent evidence of a slightly different and interesting type. It seems to result from a biological unmasking of repressed material by post-encephalitic age regression.

Case Report

A 161/2-year-old white high school junior of superior intelligence had been an A and B student, played in the high school band and orchestra, played several sports, and lifted weights. He was suddenly stricken with severe headaches, convulsions, and fever requiring hospitalization. Eventually, herpes simplex encephalitis was documented. He was in coma for several weeks and lost 20 pounds. As he began recovering, he yelled wildly and engaged in inappropriate, usually obscene, talking and behavior. He was given moderate doses of a major tranquilizer with some improvement, after a trial of Dilantin showed no benefit. When his medical condition was sufficiently stabilized, he was transferred to the psychiatric unit.

CAT scan and EEG suggested severe temporal lobe damage on both sides, and it was the opinion of the neurologist that the limbic system was extensively damaged. This was felt to account for his release of all social inhibitions and extremely immature behavior, as well as lip smacking, chewing, bruxism, and oral-facial dyskinesia. At his worst, he propositioned and attempted to feel both males and females who came around him, made obscene rhymes, and yelled nonsense both day and night to an extent that irritated both staff and other patients. Eventually, it became clear that much of his yelling was an attempt to pray, and he accepted guidance in doing this quietly. His yelling became much less frequent, and he began remembering a few names, got oriented to place and person, was able to play his horn, and was found to have an I.Q. in the normal range despite remaining severe recent memory deficits. His conversation became much more appropriate, and the obscenities practically dropped out.

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