John was a highly intelligent young boy. With higher than average intelligence, he was also emotionally sensitive. He was obviously a handful for his parents because they did not know how to deal with him. His father was strict with him. His mother was too busy to pay much attention to him because he had five other siblings. He felt not heard or appreciated. When he was in his early twenties he became elated. He was admitted into the hospital where he was diagnosed as having a psychiatric condition that he and his family was told, was untreatable.
Today many years later, he has sometimes to take a little bit of medication when his mind starts to race. He is not on all the drugs that he was told he would be taking for the rest of his life. He lives a settled life and is married being in gainful employment for last many years.
This is a real life example of a psychiatric ‘illness’ that was alleviated with intensive therapy work dealing with traumatic issues in John’s life. Illnesses, in psychiatry, refer to thinking and behaviour patterns that do not fit the norm. It is impossible to know what someone is thinking of or perceiving till they talk about it and behave in a manner that is damaging to lives, including their own. It is presumed that the perception, behaviour and thinking are mediated through hormones and neurotransmitters in the body.
From psychiatric viewpoint there are references to ‘stressful’ life events that contribute to mental illnesses. These events are those that cause emotional distress to the individual at the time of their occurrence. We do not know scientifically as to how these events cause a mental ‘illness’. To treat an‘illness’ medication is necessary. So we see an excessive use of medicines in psychiatry.
In a physical illness- the ‘ill’ or diseased part of the body has to be kept free of any infections. The healing of the part is a spontaneous process that is done by Mother Nature. The best a surgeon can do is cut away the part that is cancerous, for example. He can do no more. We have to rely on Mother Nature to do the healing. The other ways in which cancer can be treated or prevented is by irradiation, changing the lifestyle or changing the diet or even with visualisation and imagery.
In psychiatric conditions, unfortunately, the medications do not help to heal the emotional ‘wound’ or emotional distress. When the body goes through an emotionally distressful experience, the chemicals in the body that are hormones and neurotransmitters, go through a stage of turmoil. This turmoil needs time to settle. In order for this turmoil to end, the body needs to ‘finish’ the processing of the emotional distress. This distress is experienced as ‘psychiatric illness’. When medication is introduced to treat the ‘illness’ the body stops processing the emotions that the person is going through. The sufferer actually becomes emotionally ‘numb’. This creates the impression of the ‘illness’ being controlled rather than being cured.
And ‘control’ is an interesting word that is prevalent in the field of psychiatry. When the sufferer falsely believes that they have been ‘cured’ as the symptoms are no longer there, they discontinue medications. The ‘illness’ then returns in most cases.
It is because of this reason that the emotional distress that is at the root cause of the condition is only a condition. If it is allowed to be expressed and emotional healing takes place, the ‘illness’ does not happen. Psychiatric illnesses are therefore only conditions that become more permanent because a person has not expressed the emotions to a point of completion. Recent researches are proving that expression of emotions is healthier than having a ‘stiff upper lip’.
Pradeep K Chadha is a psychiatrist who specialises in helping patients with meditation and imagery using little or no medication. He is the author of The Stress Barrier-Nature's Way To Overcoming Stress published by Blackhall Publishing, Dublin. He is based in Dublin, Ireland.His website address is http://www.drpkchadha.com
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