Author Topic: meditation and mental illness  (Read 18681 times)

Matthew

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Re: meditation and mental illness
« Reply #25 on: April 16, 2010, 11:50:26 AM »
The answer to mental health problems caused by poor diet or environmental factors is changing diet or environmental factors. Not psychotropic drugs.

Warmly, in the Dhamma,

Matthew
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atomjack

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Re: meditation and mental illness
« Reply #26 on: April 16, 2010, 02:46:00 PM »
"In just over half of the published and unpublished studies, he and colleagues reported in 2002, the drug alleviated depression no better than a placebo. "

"The belief that antidepressants can cure depression chemically is simply wrong,"

Here is an interesting article on antidepressants:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/232781

sinkingthinking

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Re: meditation and mental illness
« Reply #27 on: April 16, 2010, 06:30:53 PM »
The answer to mental health problems caused by poor diet or environmental factors is changing diet or environmental factors. Not psychotropic drugs.

Warmly, in the Dhamma,

Matthew

So you do acknowledge that in fact there's no theoretical reasons why the drugs couldn't help to reduce the symptoms? Previously you suggested they don't work.

In the cases when environmental as opposed to (or more commonly, in combination with) genetic causes exist for the neurological differences, what you suggest isn't always possible at all and when it is, only rarely eliminates the condition entirely. Nutritional imbalances rarely eliminate the condition when removed and can themselves often be only partially helped by diet, because they're actually caused by enzyme deficiencies and other genetic digestive factors, as evidenced by the fact that no dietary differences have been found to exist between people with and without the disorders, despite their different blood results. This is actually not contradicted by the study typed up above, as the children involved did not have a diet remotely unusual for American children - all the things removed are parts of daily life for most of them. By the way, with that study not all the children responded, and for those who did it doesn't say that they were cured, just improved, and the sample was small and only of very specific kinds of ADHD sufferers, so to conclude from it that no one need bother with the medication is wrong.

Also, the stunting done to brain development early on is usually irreversible. Drugs have to fill the gap. And nutrition is only one of many contributing factors. Other things include in utero passive smoking or alcohol use, and many different complications before, during or shortly after birth, all of which are becoming more common in the West and without a time machine to stop those things occurring, nothing can be done to reverse such damage, hence the use of drugs instead. At least, those are some of the many factors which increase the risk of ADHD. By contrast schizophrenia is associated to some extent with very specific diseases suffered by the mother during pregnancy, and otherwise appears to be overwhelmingly genetic. I don't know how you can dismiss the evidence that it and other things are commonly genetic or partly genetic unless you just aren't aware of the nature of the evidence at all.

This issue is just too important to make hasty or stubborn conclusions about, so I urge anyone with potential influence over other people's life-changing decisions (which is all of us, actually!) to fully aquaint themselves with the evidence on as many sides as possible and to allow for the existence of nuance in the universe. I do find there are many people who either look at the scientific illiteracy of many who oppose psychiatric drugs and decide that anything OTHER than treatments approved by the highest ranking medical authorities (who are just fallible human beings like the rest of us, who probably can't keep up with all the research and piece the puzzle together entirely, or always think of every relevant question to pose or alternative explanation for something, or remain impervious to financial incentives and disincentives, and even laziness and crowd-following in some cases) is quackery, or look at the evidence that some causes for mental conditions are under-researched and under-confronted and construct conspiracy theories so wide-reaching that psychiatric consensus must not only be wrong about some things but is wrong about EVERYTHING, and is itself quackery. Both of these unconscious decisions to adhere to a particular ideological view of what human beings are and how they function (and different kinds of people would LIKE to think that humans are different kinds of things) are unhelpful.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2010, 07:04:35 PM by sinkingthinking »

sinkingthinking

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Re: meditation and mental illness
« Reply #28 on: April 16, 2010, 07:14:16 PM »
"In just over half of the published and unpublished studies, he and colleagues reported in 2002, the drug alleviated depression no better than a placebo. "

"The belief that antidepressants can cure depression chemically is simply wrong,"

Here is an interesting article on antidepressants:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/232781

Thanks, that is interesting about SSRIs, but here's another quote from same:

'The total came to 47 company-sponsored studies—on Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor, Serzone, and Celexa—that Kirsch and colleagues then pored over. (As an aside, it turned out that about 40 percent of the clinical trials had never been published. That is significantly higher than for other classes of drugs, says Lisa Bero of the University of California, San Francisco; overall, 22 percent of clinical trials of drugs are not published.'
« Last Edit: April 16, 2010, 07:18:04 PM by sinkingthinking »

sinkingthinking

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Re: meditation and mental illness
« Reply #29 on: April 16, 2010, 08:24:14 PM »
...Continued

There's a Slate article with a few interesting suggestions for why the published (and positive) studies might have been more reliable than the uncovered (negative) ones. I've not been impressed with other Slate articles and I'm not convinced by the author's argument for how he's got no vested interest in this issue despite a personal Prozac connection, but still, plausible suggestions are plausible suggestions. I'm refraining from verdict on this particular issue (whether SSRIs work for depression) pending further information. :)
« Last Edit: April 16, 2010, 08:27:15 PM by sinkingthinking »

Matthew

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Re: meditation and mental illness
« Reply #30 on: April 17, 2010, 06:40:55 AM »
Sublime,

The answer to mental health problems caused by poor diet or environmental factors is changing diet or environmental factors. Not psychotropic drugs.

So you do acknowledge that in fact there's no theoretical reasons why the drugs couldn't help to reduce the symptoms? Previously you suggested they don't work.

Actually I said this:

What Psychiatry does is group a set of behaviours defined as abnormal and then attempt to cover the symptoms with random chemical interventions.

....

The rest of their job consists of trying to chemically restrain people to act within some bound of "normalcy" which is actually the form of collective madness we need to escape if we are ever to have truly healthy human societies.

I know you are heavily invested in your ideas around this subject but please understand you won't be changing my mind about Psychiatry. It's a mentally disturbed industry built on sand for the most part.

Warmly,

Matthew

ps And the simple reason so few SSRI studies got published is simply because people killing themselves and reporting suicidality and psychosis is very bad business when you are trying to label something medicinal.
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lailacruz30

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Re: meditation and mental illness
« Reply #31 on: April 17, 2010, 07:21:43 AM »
Actually we have the same problem. I also suffer mediation and mental illness. But I notice that the more I meditate the easier it is to deal with my condition. Yet meditation alone isn't enough in my situation because despite meditating I still am debilitated by disabling symptoms such as paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, mood swings and chronic depression.

Matthew

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Re: meditation and mental illness
« Reply #32 on: April 17, 2010, 07:31:42 AM »
Actually we have the same problem. I also suffer mediation and mental illness. But I notice that the more I meditate the easier it is to deal with my condition. Yet meditation alone isn't enough in my situation because despite meditating I still am debilitated by disabling symptoms such as paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, mood swings and chronic depression.

lailacruz30,

Wlcome to the forums.

Get your Vitamin D status checked is my first recommendation. Deficiency <40ng/ml (which is most people) can lead to these symptoms. Optimal levels are 50 - 70 ng/ml (or 125 - 175 nmol/L).

In additional, talking therapy combined with meditation is very effective. I hope you find your answers. I suffered chronic life long depression. Within a month of being on high dose Vitamin D it had gone and doesn't seem like it's ever coming back.

There has been research done that shows links with D deficiency and depression, seasonal affective disorder and schizophrenia.

Warmly,

Matthew
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Morning Dew

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Re: meditation and mental illness
« Reply #33 on: April 17, 2010, 07:43:03 AM »
Quote
... am debilitated by disabling symptoms such as paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, mood swings and chronic depression.

I was very much like that until I found the Ki-breathing technique, which I practiced for 6 month (30 minutes every morning). I was in such bad shape that I was begging my doc to give me some medicine to help me but she refused and opted for a talking therapy instead. I did it for a while but nothing much happened.

As mentioned I started with Ki-breathing excercice and thanks to it's loud and long breathing technique it was easy for me to stay focused on my breath (big deal for such a delusional mind). Also such deep breathing would energise me big time. I felt stronger BUT still after 6 month I felt that I am to take a more subtle path.
Ki-breathing did just so much for me and now it is time for me to face my mind as it Is (the reason I started Shamatha-Vipassana).

Thinking back I do not believe I would be able to do Shamatha with such desturbed mind I had. I am very thankful to Ki-breathing doing what it did for me. NOTE; Ki-breathing was born out of the Japanese Misogi cleansing technique.

Since there is no rush in meditation, it will not cost you to try out Ki-breathing for a few month and see what it does to you. As soon you feel stronger/better go back to Shamatha-Vipassana again.

http://unofficial.ki-society.org/Breath.html

Remain relaxed  :)

Morning Dew

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Re: meditation and mental illness
« Reply #34 on: April 17, 2010, 07:48:56 AM »
Quote
I suffered chronic life long depression. Within a month of being on high dose Vitamin D it had gone and doesn't seem like it's ever coming back.

There has been research done that shows links with D deficiency and depression, seasonal affective disorder and schizophrenia.

Is 2000 IU daily the high dose you talk about ?  :)

Man, I am talking to the pharmacy staf and they say it is not good to go over borad with D-vit. I know what you are saying too. I mean they offer max 10ng per day for people over 50 years old and you take so much without any side effects  ??? I am so confused. I wanted to get some more D vit yesterday and even my wife went crazy not to do that since it can be TOXIC  ::)  I will try and sneak out one day and get from under the desk  :P

Thanks for posting this once again.

Matthew

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Re: meditation and mental illness
« Reply #35 on: April 17, 2010, 08:07:15 AM »
Morning Dew,

Pharmacy staff don't know **** on the subject. They sell PHARMACEUTICALS.

If everyone in the world had sufficient Vitamin D the Pharma industry would quite literally collapse to a fraction of it's size. Pharma is upping the dangers of Vitamin D when basically there are none. Toxicity kicks in at around 600,000 UI or 240,000 uG. The Pharma industry and Pharma sellers don't want you healthy from natural sources as it will kill much of their business selling you often toxic chemicals.

10uG is 400 UI - the RDA for seniors in the USA.

The Canadian cancer society recommends 1,000 - 2,000 UI/day for all Canadian Citizens. this is 25uG - 50uG.

There is no need to use guesswork. Desirable circulating 25(OH)D serum levels are now being defined as >40ng/ml or 100nmol/L whilst optimal levels are 50 - 70 ng/ml or 125 - 175 nmol/L

400 UI / 25 uG raises your level by 7 ~ 12 ng/ml but it varies. Many people at this time of year in northern climates have levels as low as 5 - 20 ng/ml (the majority of people probably) - and this is detrimental to health. To raise levels to 60ng/ml - the sweet spot - therefore demands up to 8,000 UI or 500 uG depending on the person if starting from a low base.

Get your blood tested twice a year with the 25(OH)D test and start taking moderate sunshine in summer plus a supplement if you need it .. in winter unless you live near the equator (within 30 degrees and get sun exposure)  ... you need a supplement. Aim to get a level of 50 - 70 and KEEP IT THERE YEAR ROUND through testing and supplementation. Your lifetime risk of cancer just dropped significantly by something around 75% or more.

Is 2000 IU daily the high dose you talk about ?  :)

I take 5,000 UI / day - 125 uG wintertime. The average adult male uses 3,00 - 4,000 UI per day and in twenty minutes of full body sun exposure your body will make 15 - 25,000 UI - if nature lead us to produce so much why are pharma creating scare stories? - Because as the following information shows Pharma stands to lose up to 75% or more of it's drug sales if people are healthy.

Warmly,

Matthew








« Last Edit: April 17, 2010, 08:29:59 AM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
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kidnovice

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Re: meditation and mental illness
« Reply #36 on: April 17, 2010, 09:10:54 PM »
I'm finding this conversation really interesting. As a funny little coincidence, just a couple weeks before I joined this forum, it occurred to me to begin taking vitamin D supplements (and I'm not really the type of person to do that sort of thing). I think I just figured that I knew there was NO WAY I was getting enough vitamin D through sunlight, and I noticed that I was just feeling a bit "worn-down," especially in the winter months. (fortunately, I'm not really prone to depression). So, I figured it was worth a shot to take vitamin D, especially since the levels required for toxicity are ridiculously high (from what I've read, way higher than Matthew's intake) and side effects apparently emerge gradually, so I figured I could just stop if I noticed any problems.

Result? I take a very moderate dosage, 800 iu, and have noticed a better (more consistent) sense of well-being. As a side note, I have also seen my acne clear up. I'm considering increasing my intake, but we'll see.

Question:  If I'm taking Vitamin D supplements, should I also be taking calcium or magnesium? Or is it ok to just supplement vitamin D? Thanks. :)

May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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Re: meditation and mental illness
« Reply #37 on: April 18, 2010, 01:09:31 AM »
Result? I take a very moderate dosage, 800 iu, and have noticed a better (more consistent) sense of well-being. As a side note, I have also seen my acne clear up. I'm considering increasing my intake, but we'll see.

Question:  If I'm taking Vitamin D supplements, should I also be taking calcium or magnesium? Or is it ok to just supplement vitamin D? Thanks. :)

kidnovice,

Firstly it will certainly improve your immune system, and therefore acne, as it "upregulates" the production of anti-microbial peptides - nature's own antibiotics.

On the second point - there is no need to guess - get a 25(OH)D serum blood test (NOT 1-25(OH)D - this one is useless for Vitamin D levels).

If your result is less than 40ng/ml then extra sun exposure or extra supplementation is wise.

With regards to calcium - it depends, mainly on your diet. If you are eating a good diet, with milk and dairy and green fresh vegetables your calcium intake is almost certainly fine. Chapati flour can interfere with the uptake of calcium btw.

Again you can get your bloods tested for this.

Warmly,

Matthew
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elliberto

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Re: meditation and mental illness
« Reply #38 on: April 18, 2010, 01:36:01 AM »
Quote from: The Irreverent Buddhist
The rest of their job consists of trying to chemically restrain people to act within some bound of "normalcy" which is actually the form of collective madness we need to escape if we are ever to have truly healthy human societies.
....

I know you are heavily invested in your ideas around this subject but please understand you won't be changing my mind about Psychiatry. It's a mentally disturbed industry built on sand for the most part.

Warmly,

Matthew

ps And the simple reason so few SSRI studies got published is simply because people killing themselves and reporting suicidality and psychosis is very bad business when you are trying to label something medicinal.

Can you honestly say you are not heavily invested in your ideas as well?
Don't see much nuance here

Eating healthy and training knowing has been a passion for me the last 15 years, but I still don't believe you can solve everything with a good diet (or even vitamin D :D).
And that some psychiatric ilnesses can be cured by diet is IMO hardly anything that you can hold against psychiatric medicine, because it's true for a lot of ilnesses in non-psychiatric medicine as well.

Have a close family member suffering from schizofrenia. So I'm painfully aware of the limitations of psychiatric medicine. But I'm also aware that without medication she would probably have died because of the harmful stuff she does during a psychotic episode. Diet alone does not seem to help in her situation (we tried), but does seem to reduce some of the adverse effects of her medication though.

Sam67

  • Guest
Re: meditation and mental illness
« Reply #39 on: April 18, 2010, 06:22:12 AM »
Why not?

Whats wrong with 12 Step programs!?

They saved my life-- and encouraged me to mediTate...

1) They are nonprofit (they don't want your money) 2) they save lives 3) there is no conflict between meditation and the 12 Steps...

I don't understand.


I was helped a lot with my own social anxiety problems by meditation (present-moment for reducing the anxious-obsessions, and insight medtation to help me dissolve terrible feelings of anxiety). Plus developing the inner witness to let the anxious thoughts and feelings 'float past'. I also was helped a lot by Social Anxiety Anonymous (a 12 Step program for social anxiety disorder), they have a spiritually based 12 Step program of recovery for overcoming social anxiety.

Moderator edit: please do not link to twelve step programs

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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Re: meditation and mental illness
« Reply #40 on: April 18, 2010, 07:37:44 AM »
Sam,

Your PM received an answer on the same subject. I would encourage you to post things once. They wont get missed:
warmly,

Matthew
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Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
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  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
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Re: meditation and mental illness
« Reply #41 on: April 18, 2010, 08:01:32 AM »
eliberto,

Can you honestly say you are not heavily invested in your ideas as well?
Don't see much nuance here

Eating healthy and training knowing has been a passion for me the last 15 years, but I still don't believe you can solve everything with a good diet (or even vitamin D :D).
And that some psychiatric ilnesses can be cured by diet is IMO hardly anything that you can hold against psychiatric medicine, because it's true for a lot of ilnesses in non-psychiatric medicine as well.

Have a close family member suffering from schizofrenia. So I'm painfully aware of the limitations of psychiatric medicine. But I'm also aware that without medication she would probably have died because of the harmful stuff she does during a psychotic episode. Diet alone does not seem to help in her situation (we tried), but does seem to reduce some of the adverse effects of her medication though.


My ideas are deeply researched over time and supported by many others. I'm invested to that extent. Show me proof they are inacurrate  and I will drop them immediately. They are also supported through personal experience of dealing with my own demons and helping others deal with theirs over many years.

One of the pioneers in the field being R.D Laing who though labelled anti-psychiatry was not. Like me he just thought psychiatry had massively overextended it's reach.

Schizophrenia according to Laing's research was always traceable back to a disturbed family dynamic where the person "played mentally ill" to fit in with the role expected of the family or to deal with the in-coherencies  of the environment.

There is biological mental illness, psychiatry is the right place to deal with this yet it probably amounts to a small percentage of the people psychiatrists deal with.

There is also the issue of sanity of psychiatrists and this world we live in: To get to be one you generally need to be an A type personality who has a strong belief that you are better, that your version of normal and society's perceived wisdom of normal are right and the other before you by deviating from that is "sick". A German friend, a psychiatrist, left England in dismay. His parting words: "more than half of the NHS psychiatrists I know are clinically diagnosable with Narcissistic Personality Disorder" - a typical disorder for type "A"'s - but the symptoms are those of a disordered personality - not because of any chemical imbalance but due to upbringing and environment.

Thus Laing said schizophrenia was a social problem and not a mental illness. Part of the social problem is the attempt of psychiatry to medicalise sane responses to insane situations.

You can't solve everything with a good diet and Vitamin D. But it goes a long way. Try it. get your serum blood 25(OH)D to 60ng/ml and keep it there for 6 - 8 months then report back. Try and do the same for your family member.

The other essential tool is then talking therapy whereby the burdens of the past are eventually lifted (though therapy is a hit and miss affair). Meditation strongly supports therapy but then goes beyond it, way beyond it - in fact with a proper base of Shamatha psychotherapy can be a short and effective intervention for severe disturbance. Unfortunately most psychotherapy using meditation uses insight techniques where it should be using Shamatha. For this reason recidivism rates, though better than equivalents without mindfulness aspects, are still > 50%.

Psychiatry has a place in this world, but not for 95+ % of the people it has made a place for out of the career goals of those n the mental-industry and the false medicalisation of sane responses to an insane world. These people need a listening ear and change of environmental factors combined - or even better to take control of the inner environment first through Shamatha then deeper insight practices combined with resultant changes in environment driven by the insight.

Warmly,

Matthew
« Last Edit: April 18, 2010, 08:04:59 AM by The Irreverent Buddhist »
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elliberto

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Re: meditation and mental illness
« Reply #42 on: April 18, 2010, 11:04:32 AM »
Quote from: The Irreverent Buddhist


My ideas are deeply researched over time and supported by many others. I'm invested to that extent. Show me proof they are inacurrate  and I will drop them immediately. They are

also supported through personal experience of dealing with my own demons and helping others deal with theirs over many years.

There are also many others who DON'T support your ideas and who also have deeply researched those ideas and who have hands-on experience with dealing with schizofrenia. I'm not just talking about me, but also about family members and patients.
Your ideas will for instance not be the prevalent view on http://www.schizophrenia.com
So that in itself is a non-argument.

Quote
Schizophrenia according to Laing's research was always traceable back to a disturbed family dynamic where the person "played mentally ill" to fit in with the role expected of

the family or to deal with the in-coherencies  of the environment.

Yes, in more than 40 years old research. A view that I personally think you also have to see in the context of that era.
Current view is that it's not so much the fault of the family but that they can contribute to the problem. This is the basis for psychosocial intervetions labeled: psycho-education (Dixon, Adems & Luckstead 2000; Penn & Mueser, 1996). This seems to improve the situation, but not solve it.

Quote
Thus Laing said schizophrenia was a social problem and not a mental illness. Part of the social problem is the attempt of psychiatry to medicalise sane responses to insane

situations.

IMO Laing's view (and yours) is way to simple. You can't explain Schizofrenia with just one or two genetic or environmental factors. A lot of factors contribute to this ilness.

Quote
There is biological mental illness, psychiatry is the right place to deal with this yet it probably amounts to a small percentage of the people psychiatrists deal with.

There is also the issue of sanity of psychiatrists and this world we live in: To get to be one you generally need to be an A type personality who has a strong belief that you

are better, that your version of normal and society's perceived wisdom of normal are right and the other before you by deviating from that is "sick". A German friend, a

psychiatrist, left England in dismay. His parting words: "more than half of the NHS psychiatrists I know are clinically diagnosable with Narcissistic Personality Disorder" - a

typical disorder for type "A"'s - but the symptoms are those of a disordered personality - not because of any chemical imbalance but due to upbringing and environment.

Nuance.....so you're probably right that a lot of things go horribly wrong in the field of psychiatry. Doesn't mean it's all just quackery and unneccesary because (almost) everything can be solved with good diet and an ideal upbringing/family relations (even ignoring the practical impossibility of this).


Quote
You can't solve everything with a good diet and Vitamin D. But it goes a long way. Try it. get your serum blood 25(OH)D to 60ng/ml and keep it there for 6 - 8 months then report

back. Try and do the same for your family member.

How about I report back with you right now? :D
Have been supplementing with 10,000iu D3 for about 9 months now. Haven't done bloodwork yet, I will, but I guess it will be higer than 60ng/ml.
The family member is taking 1000iu/day D3 btw and high doses EPA/DHA (as have I for the last 7 years)


Quote
The other essential tool is then talking therapy whereby the burdens of the past are eventually lifted (though therapy is a hit and miss affair). Meditation strongly supports

therapy but then goes beyond it, way beyond it - in fact with a proper base of Shamatha psychotherapy can be a short and effective intervention for severe disturbance.

Unfortunately most psychotherapy using meditation uses insight techniques where it should be using Shamatha. For this reason recidivism rates, though better than equivalents

without mindfulness aspects, are still > 50%.

Psychiatry has a place in this world, but not for 95+ % of the people it has made a place for out of the career goals of those n the mental-industry and the false medicalisation

of sane responses to an insane world. These people need a listening ear and change of environmental factors combined - or even better to take control of the inner environment

first through Shamatha then deeper insight practices combined with resultant changes in environment driven by the insight.

We can speculate about this all day long and even spread a lot of blame.
What is important is to figure out what works best for the people suffering because of these illnesses or those sane responses to an insane world or however you want to phrase it. And the way to do this is NOT by getting attached to solid views.
I try not to be, because this family member is a lot more important to me than my views.
I hope you can try as well.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2010, 11:07:26 AM by elliberto »

Matthew

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Re: meditation and mental illness
« Reply #43 on: July 24, 2010, 11:59:03 AM »
Why "what works" is not a good guide: most of it does not work.

Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs Comments by John Breeding
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