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View Diary: Of Antidepressants & Social Stigma (73 comments)

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  •  Perhaps once we get past the separation of body (17+ / 0-)

    and mind, the stigma associated with mental illness will also pass.

    It's called "mental illness," but really, it's our brains that become sick.  It's only called "mental" because the symptoms manifest themselves through our behavior, instead of physical symptoms like hives or tumors.  It is my belief that all "mental" illness really has a physical basis, and thus should be viewed as any other physical ailment.

    Our minds are not separate from our brains, and we understand so little of how our brains function.   We do know, however, that the brain is capable of great plasticity, and can create new pathways all our lives.  We know those pathways can be affected by lack of (or too much of) neurotransmitters, by traumatic experiences (i.e., assault, death of a loved one, etc.), actual physical injury (such as stroke).  This is all physical, so it makes sense that physical treatment such as drugs would help.  

    It also make sense that talk therapy helps, because this activity ALSO creates pathways in our brains (that's how we learn to talk, after all).  But it's still all physical - changes that occur in the body.

    Would that there were more studies of the brain to see what is actually happening in there ...

    •  I have also found options to drugs, because I (16+ / 0-)

      have had so many bad effects from them.

      My condition, or that of my brain and endocrine system, could fit any variety of labels, from depressive to bipolar to heaven knows what all. One very hostile woman psychiatrist told me on my singular visit with her that I had a borderline personality. A psychologist told me he had observed me in a near-vegetative state.

      The emotional roller-coaster was linked to midlife changes women undergo, and the rest of the lifelong mixed emotional messages were from PTSD resulting from an abusive childhood. At one time the psychological horizon looked as though it would never clear.

      Then I fell into owning a health food store and began to study. I had a background in brain neurology and neurobiochemistry from college research, and knew that there were inhibitory and facilitatory pathways in the brain with distinct biochemistry, so I began to re-study some things I had learned in the past.

      Fish oil in adequate dosages was the first breakthrough. Not only did my joints feel better, my mood improved. Vitamin D3 I megadosed on for a few weeks, because my blood had titered way low in that nutrient. Up went the mood by more notches. Then I happened upon GABA - gaba amino butyric acid - for anxiety, and Holy Basil or tulsi to help cut the circulating blood cortisol that makes one feel stressed.

      At night I use valerian and melatonin to sleep, because I'm also a lifelong insomniac. I have to add the drug temazepam to sleep as well, but that is now the only psychoactive drug I take.

      You could say I have a mental illness, but my conclusion is that I have a brain biochemistry that needs balancing. Now that I have found out how to not descend into depression, not feel so anxious and stressed, and how to sleep more deeply, I don't really think I'm mentally ill. I think I have specific nutritional requirements that, when met, allow me to function well and feel emotionally in balance.

      I have, in the past, experienced desperation and extreme depression in my emotional life, felt uncontrollable anxiety, and had the sensation of unending, unendurable stress. But now that I have nutritional tools to deal with the situations life brings my way, I have the knowledge to help my emotions stay in balance without drugs.

      You can't go back and rewrite your past, but you can use your past to create your future. ~ Ray Lewis

      by 4Freedom on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 10:49:38 AM PST

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    •  Yessssssssss (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      crose

      If Aristotle wasn't dead, I'd want to kill him.  With only a few executions and excommunications delaying things, we've been able to say he was wrong about the sun going around the earth and things floating because of their shape, but this one still sticks - probably because it plays into the bizarre body/sin - mind/pure rationalizations.

      "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

      by KateCrashes on Fri Mar 01, 2013 at 04:31:01 PM PST

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    •  Um, well.... (0+ / 0-)

      You're compassionate and I like that, but on the other hand, I remain skeptical of the idea that the mind and the body are entirely connected, not least because an amazing mind can exist within a mostly-nonfunctional body (I'm thinking about Stephen Hawking).  

      "Optimism is better than despair." --Jack Layton, the late Canadian MP, liberal, and Christian.

      by lungfish on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 06:17:32 AM PST

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    •  It's been well established (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53

      through research that mental illnesses have a physical basis--and researchers in the field have been trying to educate the public about this for years, emphasizing that mental illnesses are as much of a disease as any other.

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 08:48:26 AM PST

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    •  The mind is electro-chemical processes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53

      Anyone who has ever had too much alcohol to drink should understand this. Ingesting a specific chemical can seriously alter the way we perceive and act in the entire world. And this is not to mention the truly powerful drugs which can trigger hallucinations, etc.

      The fact that chemicals that people ingest regularly like alcohol and caffeine can dramatically alter brain functioning should make it more obvious to people than it is that different kinds of brain functioning going on all the time are the result of the chemicals present.

      Sadly, one of the things that triggered my own depression was the dawning realization that this was true, dualism was false, there is no mind or soul to survive death and we're all going to rot in the ground.

      "What is essential is invisible to the eye." www.thefoxfoot.com

      by greywolfe359 on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 09:51:25 AM PST

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