Scientology and Tom Cruise--Megastar Tom Cruise has always politely and respectfully been a Church of Scientology member and supporter. But these days, the War of the Worlds actor has been a lot more smug and outspoken in the media about the views held by him and his church on the field of Psychiatry.
While there has been a media blitz around Cruise and his new movie and new relationship with the much younger actress Katie Holmes, the actor has been using much of his time in interviews to talk about Scientology and take a few jabs at mothers who use antidepressants for Postpartum Depression--like actress Brooke Shields (Down Came The Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression).
Cruise and Shields have been having a media feud over the topic of medication and depression, and it appears that Cruise blasted psychiatry and medication use even further in his Today Show interview with Matt Lauer.
When Cruise discussed postpartum depression, his opinion (based on Scientology views) was that all antidepressants do is mask the problem of depression. It is his belief that depression can be treated with vitamins and exercise.
While vitamins are great as supplements to keep the body nourished, let's be frank here. It is dangerous and almost bordering ridiculous to advise a women suffering from postpartum depression that she should take vitamin therapy and a long walk to avoid feeling the urge to shake her crying baby! Or to increase her interest in even holding her sleeping baby.
While no one is recommending throwing antidepressants down every mother's throat with the baby-blues, postpartum depression on the other hand is a serious condition that often responds favorably to antidepressant therapy.
Tom Cruise also believes (based on Scientology views), that there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance.
What Cruise needs to keep in mind is that many treatments in modern medicine are not based on exact proof, but supposition. It was theorized at one point that drugs that targeted brain chemicals in humans would either cure on help alleviate symptoms of mental illnesses.
And now there is proof that certain drugs which affect brain chemicals help the affected person manage their illness. Ask someone who has been severely depressed, someone suffering from bipolar disorder, or a schizophrenic. Ask the people that love them. For many sufferers of mental disorders, there is a difference and improvement in the quality of their lives when they take their medication. That is a fact that cannot be denied.
While Scientologists probably mean well-- they have very affective programs helping drug addicted people get clean and great reading programs for children, they seemed to have fallen into the traps of many other religions and organizations by standing on their moral high horse and generalizing or demonizing certain people, groups, or theories.
My opinion? Tom Cruise needs to go somewhere and start planning his wedding. Brooke Shields could write another book based on the controversy that has been thrown her way. And us mere mortals? Well, I know if I start seeing Elvis cooking green tomatoes in my kitchen, that somebody better get me to the nearest shrink immediately:)
Lisa Angelettie, M.S.W., is a psychotherapist, author, and an online advice expert. She has been helping people make smarter life choices since 1998.
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