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Re: about the chemical imbalance concept

Posted by RH on August 21, 2004, at 22:03:12

In reply to Re: about the chemical imbalance concept, posted by Emme on August 21, 2004, at 13:37:49

Hi folks:

I learned the phrase "happy pill" from two people I know who take them, so as they used the phrase freely I didn't know anyone would be defensive about it. I thought they used the term to avoid saying the exact name of the pill they were using, sort of a privacy issue.

I am still searching for the proof that a chemical imbalance can precede a depression, in the absence of any significant underlying psychodynamic issues.

Perhaps some one can point me to a study that has:

Followed a sample group from teen years on, for dozens of years. The sample group would have to be diagnosis free at the start of the study. Then, as members of the group developed depression over the years, they would have to be given a physical exam to rule out the known causes of depression that originate outside the head, in other parts of the body, like hyper-thyroidism. Those not ruled out would then have to be queried as to what psychodynamic issues may have been the cause of the depression. Their friends and family members would have to be interviewed about this also. Those who were subsequently not ruled out as having psychodynamic causes would be the ones that should be studied, as they may actually have a malfunctioning brain chemical regulating mechanism.

I have spent hours searching for this kind of study, and have come up empty handed.

I have found this statement form the APA:

Which confirms the fact(?) that at present no cause of depression can be identified in the area of the brain chemical imbalance, other than those already known medical issues outside the head or tumors, lesions, etc.

A similar debate surrounds the ADD/AHDD issue:

A friend of mine who was put on Ritalin as a pre-teen and teen, and who later went on to experiment with marijuana, speed, cocaine and mushrooms has told me that he can't tell the difference from being on speed or Ritalin.

I wonder why people accept that they have a brain chemical imbalance that may not be psychodynamic in nature when they are not given any kind of biologic tests to confrim that. With diabetes and allergies, there are biologic tests.

The example I mentioned in my previous post, provided by Dr. Bob, in which a man joined the Jehova Witnesses and was cured of his OCD, and then relapsed when he left their group, shows that the brain, apparently, can instantly correct imbalances. Donna Summer, the disco diva, had a similar experience. After attempting suicide, she was told she had a chemical imbalance, and put on pills. She continued to be depressed and was uncomfortable about the side effects of the pills. When she gave up her music carreer and returned to her Christian faith, she became well. She explains this in her book "Ordinary Girl:The Journey".

And here is a link to Winston Wu's experience of being "cured" of schizophrenia and OCD in a short period of time, I think it was about a year, with only the support of family and some kind of therapy, not sure if it has a particular name.

Other articles at Successful Schizophrenia may be interesting to those here at Dr. Bob's.

You wrote:
"The balance between biochemical and psychological issues won't be the same for everyone. Mood/anxiety disorders are heterogeneous. They manifest themselves differently in everyone and the etiology for one person may be different than someone else's".

Yes, the balance. In other words, a person's psychological makeup could be the cause of the disposition to become depressed.

You wrote:

"Would it make more sense to say "Your nude dancing is immoral." or to find out why she's dancing nude and say "this isn't good for you for these reasons...." Maladaptive behaviors aren't necessarily immoral"

But to say "this isn't good for you for these reasons" is a moral judgement. And "maladaptive" behaviors are immoral, by definition.

You might be confusing religion with morality. A religion is just a moral code that has been elevated to something special, and over the ages it has been forgotten that they started as moral codes. The original moral codes were simply assignment of good or bad to behaviours that the dominant group didn't like, or that were destructive to civilized existence.

So what I meant by moral judgements was just that a determination should be made as to whether one's moral code, or lack thereof, plays a factor in one's depression or other issue.

There is much debate as to whether just any moral code can actually work, that is, lead to happiness. There are time tested codes that work for large numbers of people. Then there are other codes that time has shown to be useless and self-limiting, such as the code Atilla the Hun lived by. Believe it or not, the man had morals. Nazi-ism was also a moral code.

So it is probably a mistake to think that just anyone can be happy. It is probably more accurate to say that those with the right moral code for themselves, one that can in some way be shown to be viable, will most likely be happy. But it is difficult to prove that a code works-- this has been the work of philosophers since antiquity.

If a person does not subscribe to one of the known workable moral codes and decides to go it alone, dim sum, then he/she takes their happiness in their own hands. It is a gamble.

At this point someone usually says, "I know religious people who are depressed". To that I can only answer that perhaps their faith is not that strong, or that they don't fully understand the faith they are attempting to practice. For instance, I'm still waiting for the day I meet a good, strong Christian, and I live here in the United States, where the odds of finding such a person should be good.

Myself, I am not a believer, as I lack the capacity to beleive. But I practice a blend of Christian and Zen philosophy, which I know gives me a measure of insulation against depression. For instance, I take no pleasure in material things, nor do I mourn their loss. No one can insult me or make me feel bad (sad) because I don't care about approval of others, seeing that to be a weakness. I also try not to take exessive pleasure in food or sex, because then they both have the power to depress me if they are withheld.

Many people will respond with, "what's the point in living if you are not extracting pleasure from this life?" For them, I have no answer, because they only ask that question if they are pleasure oriented and base their happiness on pleasures and approval. As far as I know, in the history of mankind, no one has answered that question satisfactorily.

And turn off the tv. Huge amount of depression programming, brainwashing, comes over the tube.






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