Defense mechanisms once seen as quaint psychoanalytic formulations actually consist largely of two main templates—positive cognitive distortions and dissociation—that work by diminishing the impact of negative emotions. Antidepressants and psychotherapy act in part by enhancing these defensive processes.
Hypomania overrides depression in the moment to restore adaptive functioning, with dysfunctional mania arising from defective regulation over the hypomanic defense.
Psychosis represents another instance of defective regulation, in this case over psychotic level cognitions and sensory perceptions, allowing them to intrude into the conscious and awake state.
Schizophrenia consists of psychosis and negative symptoms (deficiencies in human specific cognitive capacities), with the disease process underlying negative symptoms damaging regulation over psychotic level cognitions.
Repetitive maladaptive patterns of behavior (repetition compulsion) are reformulated into non-traumatic and traumatic versions, with the former derived from an evolutionary-based process of acquiring patterns of behavior, and the latter a dissociative defensive process to protect conscious system functioning.
Personality disorders are conceptualized as extreme and enduring expressions of defense processes that are adaptive in a milder and less persistent form.
Departing from mental illness, motion sickness is postulated to represent a negative reinforcement based mechanism to discourage aberrant motion that could lead to injury or predation. Sexual orientation is reframed as separate homoerotic and heteroerotic dimensions, with erotic fantasy activating dimensions, and social construction largely deactivating the dimension inconsistent with one’s sexual orientation identity. Consciousness is postulated as evolving on the basis of time distinctions, providing a way of maximizing the actualization of adaptive potential occurrences and minimizing the actualization of maladaptive potentialities.
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