MENTAL HEALTH – PART 2 – MIND ACTION VS THE DISEASE MODEL


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A recent WHO study on psychiatric disorders found that developing nations experience better recovery from major mental issues, notwithstanding restricted general access to medications as compared to developed nations like the USA, UK and Denmark [1]. In fact, the developed nations had worse recovery rates, despite their “first class” psychiatric medications and modern mental health care. Likewise, in Western Lapland (northern Finland), an ongoing, large-scale research project on schizophrenia has indicated that people diagnosed with a severe mental illness can experience long term recovery without the use of psychiatric drugs [2]. Individuals can also overcome addictions without psychiatric drugs. In the early 2000s, the National Epidemiological survey (NESARC) showed that 43000 Americans (75% of addicts) had overcome their addictions by themselves and how drug addicts give up habits by themselves more easily than alcoholics [3]. Most people get over addiction through CHOICE – quitting is the rule!

Clearly we can and do triumph over mental health issues. Unfortunately, due of the clinician illusion, in which sickest subset that physicians see are generalized in regards to the overall population, mental ill-heath issues like addiction, schizophrenia and depression are made to seem hopeless [4]. In the developed world, the “disease” model of mental health, which sees mental illness as physically-based and often permanent, has prevailed over the view that mental illness is based in the mind, is temporary and can be overcome.

The disease model of mental health is derived from the medical model of illness. Allopathic medical doctors are trained to diagnose pathology, or disease. They are trained, in other words, to look for what is wrong. This viewpoint is useful in a great number of contexts (e.g. physical trauma or diabetes), but not so helpful in mental health. Indeed, we are only beginning to understand how the mind and brain function—this is one the greatest and most exciting frontiers in science today. Many psychiatrists, however, diagnose mental illnesses according to the unscientific “psychiatric bible”: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). The DSM content is produced by small committee, and is influenced by drug companies, who use the DSM to manipulate scientific data to construct diseases that will be “cured” by their drugs, thereby exponentially increasing their profits while controlling “problematic social behavior” [5]. From the 1970s drug companies have largely marketed their products as anti-psychotic, anti-depressive, or anxiolytic (anti-anxiety)—cures combating a particular disease, notwithstanding the lack of evidence for chemical imbalances or other pathologies related to mental illness [6]. What these drugs predominantly do is mask symptoms and produce altered mental states, similar to tranquilizers that temporarily dumb normal biological functions [7]. These drugs create chemical imbalances [8].

In fact, while proponents of the disease model often claim that today we have reduced the stigma associated with mental health issues, the DSM defines criteria for “diagnoses,” which can stigmatize an individual and lead to the loss of income, purpose, family, community, health and even death [9]. In some cases, the criteria change depending on public opinion. Homosexuality, for example, in earlier manual was considered a mental disorder, is now considered normal behavior [10].

Even in the fields of psychology and psychiatry, there has been serious push-back against the disease model. One recent example is the BBC Stress test, one of the largest studies of mental health to date, which saw the biggest predictor of mental health problems as “rumination”: the tendency to dwell on negative events for too long [11]. Rumination is clearly a mental process—it is concerned with thinking. The antidote to a negative mental process therefore should be a positive mental process, not a physical one such as medication. Dr. Peter Kinderman, a professor at Liverpool University, a prominent clinical psychologist and the primary investigator in this study has expressed the urgent need to “abandon the disease-model of mental health care.” [12] Kinderman’s concerns were recently echoed by a group of prominent British psychiatrists, led by Pat Bracken, who published an article in the British Journal of Psychiatry arguing “that psychiatry needs to move beyond the dominance of the current, technological paradigm.” [13]

Dr. Leaf, following a similar research path, has also demonstrated, using her research on the power of mind-action in changing the brain, and the bible, that mental disorders are primarily based in the mind (see the section above). Since the early 1980s (when the DSM-3, the first diagnostic manual to promote the diseased model of metal health, was in use), Dr. Leaf has demonstrated the effectiveness of mind action techniques (which are thought-based) in overcoming the negative effects of disease labels such as TBI, dementias, movement disorders, autism, aphasia, and learning disabilities (see the section above).

Even though medication has its place, Dr. Leaf has shown, both scientifically and biblically, that the mind is where the action is determined and focused, and that persistent mind-action, especially when coupled with God’s Word, is able to stimulate the brain and the rest of the body, leading to increased health and vitality. As it says in the New Testament, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” (3 John 2). Everything relies on your soul, which is your mind, prospering. Indeed, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as “…a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” [14] God gave us an incredible mind, one that is able to cope and prosper with all of life’s circumstances, and it is His hope that we realize the potential for health inside all of us.

For REFERENCES and more links

By Dr. Caroline Leaf, Cognizant Neurosurgeon

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About Will Myers

I am an "Intelligent Design" writer who has the Christian faith. Part of my background is that I have a degree in physics, and have been inducted into the National Physics Honor Society. Sigma Pi Sigma, for life. My interest has lead me into metaphysics, farther into Christianity. Optimum metaphysics becomes religion.
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