When a person of any age reverts back to a state of mind that is younger than their actual age, it is known as age regression. How many years back a person’s mind reverts can vary from person to person.
For some, it can be a matter of just a couple of years while for others it can be all the way back to infancy and early childhood.
So what does age regression actually look like? Well, it can present itself massively different from person to person depending on what age they are in their mind.
You may see some adults seeking comfort in child-like behaviors such as whining, crying, or sucking their thumb in an attempt to self-soothe. For others, it may be refusing to engage in ‘grown-up’ conversations and ignoring important issues at hand.
Age regression can sometimes be used in hypnotherapy and psychology. It can be used as a self-help tool for those with extensive traumas, and it can be done to alleviate stress.
Throughout this article, we’ll delve into more depth about age regression, how it’s used and what it can achieve.
What Is Age Regression?
To be totally honest, we’re still not 100% sure. Many psychologists have very differing opinions on age regression.
Arguably the most famous psychologist, Sigmund Freud, believed that age regression is a defense mechanism that individuals partake in subconsciously in order to protect themselves from anger, stress, and trauma.
However, others have argued that age regression is actually an option that allows individuals to reach a therapeutic goal.
For example, through the use of age regression, a patient may be able to better recall particularly painful or traumatic experiences. From there the therapist can then begin to help the patient heal.
Others believe that age regression isn’t linked to escapism at all. For example, Carl Jung believes that age regression is a positive and beneficial experience that helps individuals rid themselves of stress.
What Are The Types Of Age Regression
There are several variations of age regression which tend to be put into four main categories. We will look at these in further detail in just a moment.
However, all of these different categories share two main similarities.
- The individual reverts to a younger state of mind that is lower than their physical age.
- The individual does not age regress for sexual pleasure/desire.
Age Regressing As A Symptom
Age regression can often be a symptom of a psychiatric or medical issue. This is often done so that the individual can process overwhelming feelings of fear or anxiety. There are also mental health issues that make age regression more probable.
Mental health conditions such as these can often result in age regression:
- Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
- Major Depressive Disorder
Age regression can often happen spontaneously. This is because distressing experiences and triggering events can force those with personality disorders to revert to a less-stressful state.
Sometimes age regression will be used as part of a therapeutic tool. Age regression can often enable patients to recall particularly painful parts of their lives that their minds have blocked out.
From there the therapist can help the individual deal with the issues that have arisen.
This therapeutic tool is not welcomed by all though. Many argue that there is no way to ensure that the memories are actually true memories and that these memories recalled in this state are not exactly reliable.
Age regression is much more common in individuals that have experienced great trauma throughout their lives.
The same can be said for individuals with DID so it is not surprising that most patients with this disorder have a much younger personality known as a ‘little.’
Sometimes a little can be entirely separate from the individual’s original personality, but more often than not an individual’s little’ is an age-regressed form of their own personality.
In terms of trauma recovery age regression, it is often a way for those who feel fearful or insecure to find comfort in a safe space. This regression is very often triggered by certain moments or events that feel threatening to the individual.
While age regression can be a result of a trigger, for some age regression is intentional. This may be done in their own safe space in their own time.
But it is usually done to avoid dealing with stressful and worrisome events.
Usually, with self-help age regression, the individual will revert back to an age where they felt particularly loved, safe, and secure. And this can be a really positive experience for those who choose to regress willingly.
However, it is important to remember that age regression can be a sign of a mental health issue, and so it is always in your best interest to speak to your doctor about age regression, especially if it happens regularly.
Age Regression Vs Age Play
I think it is really important to reiterate that age regression is in no way a sexual act. You should never engage in sexual activity with an individual who has age regressed.
Age regression can quite often be unintentional and a subconscious thing that happens when triggered. And some can revert back to infant ages. Sex is absolutely unacceptable when an individual has reverted back to a younger age.
Age play, however, is a sexual activity or ‘kink’ where one or both parties may intentionally act younger than they.
The major difference between age pay and age regression is that during age play the individual is pretending to be younger but is fully aware of what is happening and is able to consent.
When an individual age regresses in their minds they become younger. They think, act, and truly believe they are younger in age and thus cannot consent.
Age regression isn’t necessarily an unsafe thing. Many age regress for a multitude of reasons and it can really help some people overcome trauma.
With that being said, if you often find yourself age regressing without any control over when it happens, it is always best to speak to a medical professional.
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