Does Mental Illness Truly Exist As Western Medicine Has Us Believing?

Is mental illness real as we now define it today? Identification as the mind certainly is and this is the actual problem that we are faced with that is only just being acknowledged in the western world.

Mental illness is at epidemic proportions in “developed” countries; with 1 in 4 people in the US having some sort of mental illness (this rate is always rising), and there are kids as young as 5 on antidepressants and other behavioral drugs, even pets are on these drugs too! In the mean time, there are countries and cultures where mental illness is virtually unheard of. The western world writes 170 million prescriptions for antidepressants per year and has a HUGE range of illnesses, whereas certain societies in Tibet and India don’t even have words that can translate as anxiety, depression, bi-polar, etc. So are we humans, the product of billions of years of evolution, just somehow broken? Did planet Earth make a mistake?

Western psychiatry/psychology doesn’t address things like where do thoughts come from? Are we these thoughts? Do we “do” these thoughts or do they happen all by themselves? What role does the environment play in these thoughts? Are we our emotions? Are we the depression/anxiety/manic episode that bubbles up or are we aware of this energy? Unfortunately none of these things are considered from what I’ve seen and instead patients are assumed to be broken, have some sort of chemical imbalance and need drugs – not to fix or cure them, but to “manage” it. I think we should really question this system of people and corporations making billions of dollars off sick people, and whether this system is really working to benefit the majority. This article is a good summary of this supposed chemical imbalance myth.

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/depression-it-s-not-your-serotonin

Where to look for Answers?

These questions are answered though – not by psychological practitioners, but in eastern philosophy, spirituality and mysticism. Our thoughts, feelings and emotions are a direct representation of the world we are brought up in. A fundamental Christian family will have a child that thinks lots of Christian thoughts. An American family that worships materialism will have a child that thinks many American, materialistic thoughts. A Syrian, Muslim family will have a child that thinks like a Syrian Muslim. A child raised on a deserted island far away from any culture will probably think a lot about coconuts and the weather maybe. It’s pretty simple when you look at it this way. So when we raise a child in a materialistic world, where nearly everyone subtly worships money and power, where we are all striving for “success” and to become someone of importance, where we are told by the media constantly that we are not good enough and need to find our happiness in all this stuff, where even our education system creates obedient, competitive people, where most people hate their work and therefore life in general, where we have subjugated nearly every single species of animal to a commodity and watch nature on a TV screen (this list goes on for!), is it any wonder that we’re all pretty messed up? Is it any wonder that people are full of anxiety, fear and feelings of unworthiness and helplessness?

Here is one (of SO many) examples of the way these eastern traditions could solve this problem. This is a great TED talk from the tradition Vedanta (similar to the final steps in Buddhism).

In saying all that though, this way of thinking is finally emerging in western psychology. Here’s a great talk with 3 professors in neuroscience and psychology, speaking on this subject. One of them even mentions “you are not your thoughts, you are not your emotions or feelings…”

And here’s another neuroscientist – Sam Harris, speaking about the same thing that I believe will end up solving this massive worldwide problem:

…and another amazing talk by western psych Dr. Gabor Mate on mental illness and addiction:

Are Antidepressants & Drugs The Answer?

According to a few published papers, antidepressants do no more than a placebo anyway

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20170046 and not only that, but as stated in this paper, this information was actively kept hidden from the public and physicians by the FDA. I wonder if money had anything to do with this decision? Antidepressants have also been shown in other studies to INCREASE rates of suicide, and cause all sorts of dangerous side effects.

Not to mention this great TED talk by Dr. Ben Goldacre, demonstrating how doctors don’t even know what’s in the majority of pills/drugs they are prescribing and that studies showing that these drugs don’t work, just simply aren’t published.

Patients are regularly told that their illness is for life, and the best they can do is manage it. This in itself is so dangerous I believe and in fact is totally untrue. How could this not leave a person feeling totally helpless and disempowered? The first 40 or so minutes of this Zeitgeist documentary is a whole bunch of researchers explaining that this is not true at all, and that gene expression (and therefore human behaviour) is heavily dependant on the environment – the field of epigenetics.

Solutions

So it’s my belief that this addiction to thought and the associated emotions and feelings that most people have – some much worse than others – can be solved by transcending the lot. Instead of associating with every single thought and emotion that arises, we identify as the awareness that sees all of this from a neutral and equanimous perspective – our true Self. Instead of identifying with all the transitory phenomena that we can’t control at all and is a product of our environment, we connect more and more with the witnessing presence via meditation so that we don’t get caught up in all the thoughts and emotions that are inherently empty of a Self. This witnessing presence has been called many things through the ages: consciousness, the Buddha Nature, Nirvana, Atman, God… and it is a place of peace, joy, happiness without reason and is who and what we truly are beyond the conditioning of the external world. This is available to all and it’s only a matter of time I feel before mental illness will be a thing of the past and will be seen as something we required as a collective to wake up to our true nature and evolve to the next step.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 8 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

38 comments
  1. In countries like Tibet and India that have very low rates of mental illness, they also have very low rates of false god worshiping and the resulting religious, ritual, and routine infant/childhood circumcision. On the contrary, in countries that have high rates of false god worshiping and high rates of circumcision forced on healthy prepubescent minors, there are much higher rates of mental dysfunctions/ brain chemistry dysfunctions including delayed onset PTSD, mass murder/suicidal depression, schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorders, autism, anger control issues, racism, sexism, extreme greed, superiority complexes, sadism, masochism.

    The women in countries that practice forced prepuce excision on their own sons end up developing their own sets of brain chemistry malfunctions from being forced to accept this abnormal destructive sacrificial punishment on their sons and daughters and from being surrounded by mentally unstable husbands/boyfriends, fathers and brothers, Christian priests/preachers, Jewish rabbis, and Islamic clerics, They develop a state of apathy and denial to cover up their dyspareunia caused from the keratinized dried out rough calloused glans of the exposed glans penis from their circumcised husbands and try to blame themselves because they have been lied to by the society they live in, to believe that male circumcision has preventative and health benefits for them.

    This mental illness epidemic in developed nations has little to do with the material world, like our money system, but everything to do with the sick psychotic spiritual views from our constitutional right of freedom to commit false god worshiping and deprive us of our constitutional right to bodily integrity.

    1. Sick comment probably by a person who sees other people’s beliefs as immoral. You will find most committed religious followers are happier people and have less mental issues than the rest in society.

    2. Any society that considers genital mutilation to be normal and desirable is a very sick society.

  2. Hello CE Team,
    I just created an account and I hope to become a helpful part of this community. I am leaving a comment here because I have come across some other articles on CE that have videos in them that don’t work and show errors. I was wondering if that is fixable. This article is great but I can’t seem to watch the youtube videos that are embedded in the post. I thought I would just share this issue so that you are aware if this. For all I know it could be my computer (though I don’t think that is the case). Anyways, I hope to get some help with this problem which would be awesome. Thanks!! 🙂 🙂

  3. The article said Mental Illnesses. I think it should be Ilnesses that come from anxiety. An example; Squizophrenia is a mental illness. And for some reason people with this desease can have a pretty normal life, thank to medication. When in the 50’s they would be in an asylum, and abroad in many foreign countries people would be abandoned or even killed…

  4. the links are broken … can you send me the links please. I would like to watch the videos. thanks

  5. It is true that patterns of behavior and thinking are passed down in families. My family has passed down emotional and physical abuse, as well as sexual molestation for several generations that I can trace. This is on both sides of my family. What I’ve learned is that the patterns have to be disrupted to become healthy and able to have healthy relationships with others.

  6. Great article. That is one thing that’s helped me immensely, simply not trying to change anything. I’m not sure which is true: whether I was trying to change stuff because I felt like shit, or that I felt like shit because I was trying to change stuff. It doesn’t matter the nonetheless. As soon as one stops, everything becomes a lot better–immediately.

  7. What we eat, drink and breathe plays a major role, as does Karma. The one influence I have proven over and over is the vibration of your names influence your life for better or worse. Any one name for the most is good. Just as you can touch any one key on a piano and it will sound good. When you press two or more keys at the same time or play with two hands, it is important you press the right keys. If you press the right combination of keys, you produce beautiful music. If you press the wrong combination of keys, at best you are out of tune, or worst, you become a dreadful noise. Your names apply a similar action. The sound of music produced by a piano can be documented with Sheet Music. The vibration produced by your names can be documented with Name Reality. What tune do you play?

    This is not a new hokey pokey theory and this is not numerology. This system was originally used in ancient times by enlightened families to name their children for a prosperous happy and healthy life. It has been documented many times over the last several thousand years and was for the most, kept a secret. When you see for yourself how accurate this system is, you will understand why it has been kept under wraps. After my discovery I was so empowered, I felt compelled to share it with the world. I gathered all the available information then extensively researched, updated and expanded the system with practical experience gained through analyzing hundreds of names and compiled everything into a two hundred page book.

    Name Reality by Lyon G. Payley Zonamyari. Visit http://www.namesdoctor.com

    Andrew, the writer of this article will probably disagree!
    Let me analyze your name Andrew and you will change your opinion.
    Maybe Joe should take up my offer too!

    Have I got your attention?

    Love your work and love your website!

    1. “The one influence I have proven over and over is the vibration of your names influence your life for better or worse.” Can you redirect me to your proof?

  8. Interesting article, but just a point…..India has 20million people suffering from a mental illness (with only 3500 psychiatrists to care for them). No small number!

  9. The reason these countries don’t have names for mental illness is because it is taboo in those areas to have an illness as well as, people will blame it on a spirit or demon rather than looking at it scientifically and helping those people. There are many institutions where they just dump people who have anxiety, OCD, Schizophrenia etc because they have no idea how to treat it. Mental illness is real.

  10. There are models of psychotherapy that do look at the role of thoughts and where they come from, as well as the impact that the systems people grow up in — familial and cultural — have on how people construct meaning of their circumstances and experiences. Narrative Therapy comes to mind as well as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

  11. There is a paradigm shift occurring. We do not feel the outside world, we feel our thinking about it. There are many good books out on this now. “Somebody should have told us” By Dr Jack Pransky, Clarity-Jamie Smart, The inside out revolution-Michael Neill and in the shops now, Instant Motivation by Chantal Burns. As for mental health, google “Dr Bill Pettit”.

    1. We do feel the material world, but our thoughts also effect us as if they were material and mattered.

  12. I agree with few points from your article such as that our generation that doctors now a days are overprescribing. But thats mainly due to the fact of not having universal healthcare in the USA and greedy pharmaceutical companies cashing in on other people illnesses. However, your facts most definitely need some checking. considering that your demeanour, growth, and traits are roughly 60% influenced solely by gene expression. Something you most certainly cannot change. The other %40 is derived from your environment. These are roughly average estimates of course each individual is different so some may fluctuate. However there are many things beyond an individuals control, one of them being mental illness in quite a lot of cases. I do not believe that anyone would pretend to act the part of someone going through so much suffering. There is a stigma around mental illness and it is not taken seriously. There was once a time many years ago where such a stigma existed around cancer. Now I also do not believe anyone would shame someone for having a rapid and uncontrolled growth of mutated cells in their body and I am sure if you are a decent human being you would agree. Just as cancer causes rapid cell division and manifests its way into the body, mental illness does this with the mind. Just imagine how agonizing it would be to have a disease you can not see, touch or hear. It can make you feel even more helpless and alone than you already due. Your body simply cannot produce enough serotonin (the chemical in the brain which is responsible for creating happy feelings) and then the thoughts turn to “why me?” or “how could this happen?” and due to the fact that you are suffering in silence you start to give up. Now I am going to stop there but I just didn’t see how you could ignore a medically diagnosed illness. And then it dawned on me: You have never been personally affected. But that makes me happy for you considering I wouldn’t wish any mental illness upon my worst enemy because unfortunately I was not so lucky. On another note: yes we do have higher incidences of mental illness in “developed” countries of these occurrence but maybe you haven’t heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Considering you do not have this background of very simple psychology so here is a link to educate yourself: http://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html Would you agree that individuals living in 3rd world countries do not have their very basic needs satisfied? Their is a certain order in which people take precedence to their needs according to Maslow. Us “developed” nations in majority satisfy these needs easily and quickly and therefore we more up the hierarchy of needs focusing on social, self- esteem and self-actualization. Similarly consider drunk driving incidences and collisions, which are very often fatal. Would third world and developing nations even slightly rival our drunk driving statistic? Of course not in consideration of the fact that cars aren’t available to them nor are they a priority. An individual in a small African village per se would be concerned with clean water and food and avoiding life threatening diseases they cannot get vaccinated for that are REQUIRED for us to get in our developed nations. This is why I am in complete opposition to this entire article. Nearly 450 million people a YEAR are affected by mental illness and 1million people commit suicide every year. Mental illness clearly does in fact exist and your audacious argument is completely invalid. I can promise everything is factual from this post considering I am a nurse.

    1. Hi Nancy,

      I have answered all your questions in the article and video clips if you’re willing to watch them all. There is no shaming in this article, nor do I suggest such a thing.

      I’m not quite sure how you seem to know my personal history, but personally I rid myself of constant anxiety with these techniques, and have been working with quite a number of people in my local area helping them come off medication using meditation.

      I also covered the “Serotonin depletion” myth with an article in there if you’re willing to read that and look at its references. As for people “pretending” to be mentally ill, i’m not quite sure where you got that from either, but the whole point of this article, and this is the the notion behind myself (and other doctors and practitioners now, which can be found in the above clip called “Becoming conscious, the science behind mindfulness) treating mental illness, is that everything that makes up mental illness – thoughts, feelings, emotions – is not what we are. We are aware of these, but not intrinsically them. So patients go from “i am depressed”, “i am anxious” etc to being able to see “there is my depressing thoughts”, “ah, here comes my habitual thought patterns again”, or “here is the energy of depression arising in me, but here i am, aware of it”…. Major change, and complete curing is possible, rather than just “managing” it with drugs and causing more problems.

      As for individuals living in “third world” countries. I’ve been to India and have seen and met people who live way below the “poverty line” here in the west. People who have nothing except a small plot of land, their kids, some chooks and goats, and every time i met a new family, I realised that they had the glint in their eye that i’ve never even seen in our upper or middle class here. It seemed glaringly obvious to me that happiness is inversely proportional to possessions, or how “successful” one has become. That was my observations anyway 🙂

  13. It is also possible to induce the symptoms of many mental illnesses by ingesting (or otherwise) being exposed to many substances, for instance. :

    * exposing children to Red Food Dye and other odd additives (and watch them spin)
    * giving people aspartame (let the brain damage begin)

    Mood disorders can also be the result of toxic black mold and/or mixed mold exposure… BOTH of which are well documented health problem that (somehow) most docs have never heard of…. and is in a HUGE number of buildings.

    the brain is an electro-biochemical machine that we do not understand very well and with the right (wrong) unfortunate prodding… you can get many unfortunate results.

  14. A mental illness is arises through a natural way
    A mental illness must go through a natural way

    Negative physical and mental signals have affected your mental and physical qualities.
    Your organic system sends signals to get help, these signals were discovered as well as the natural products for recovery.

    The solution is simple and free, health is a right for everyone.
    see http://www.logicalwayhealing.com – a revolution in medicine.

  15. I’m so offended by this post, that I’m infuriated!
    I suffer from depression and anxiety since I was 9.
    Contrary to what you may believe I have never taken any medication.
    Most doctors I have seen suggested I don’t take medication.

    Also, “Western psychiatry/psychology doesn’t address things like where do thoughts come from?” Are you that ignorant? I did CBT therapy and it’s exactly what it does. It addresses the thoughts, why we’re having them and how we can change them.

    “patients are assumed to be broken” in which century are you living? This is 2015. And in Western society as you call it people with mental illness are not seen as broken usually, but as patients. And not everyone is prescribed medication. But when the chemistry of your brain is imbalanced you sometimes do need medication.

    And there are cases where people do have to take medication otherwise they can hurt themselves or people around them. Schizophrenia is a mental illness and I can assure you it won’t be cure with happy thoughts.

    And what is that racist comment about American families worshipping materialism? Why did you have to make it ethnicity specific?

    Your solution is unrealistic. We don’t live in a hippy society, people suffer on a daily basis, how do you expect them to disassociate from everything and just have happy thoughts? So if your child dies, if you lose your house by a bank, if you have cancer, you should just be all zen and happy?

    My masters degree is in therapeutic arts and includes a basic understanding of counseling and psychology. I found this article inaccurate. Yes there were references to youtube videos and ted talks, but is the writer a doctor or a scientist? Does the writer live in that so called Western world as well?

    1. Hear Hear, sometimes it takes more than finger cymbals and chanting to help schizophrenia ( Yes i have it)

  16. We as a society need to stop coddling our children and teach them how to deal with ups and downs in life. The technology they use teaches them instant gratification and when they don’t get that, they freak out. Life is work, stress, complicated, challenging and also full of joys. There is satisfaction in achieving a goal that was difficult to get to. Most young adults haven’t been taught this. A lot of parents just hand everything to their children these days. I believe this is why we are having such a rise in mental illness recently. Just one parents opinion. My own 20 year old had a break just last year. She is well now, but I see this happening with others that we are close to. Its not a chemical imbalance, it’s a societal imbalance.

    1. “It´s not a chemical imbalance, it’s a societal imbalance.”
      A more exact description: “ it´s an organic imbalance, created by a social imbalance”
      The solution is simple: restore the organic imbalance and you are back in the society.
      Your organic system emits signals for treatment.
      Medicine is rewritten !
      see http://www.logicalwayhealing.com

  17. I wonder how many of those mentioned have experienced a severe mental health problem.

  18. I, too, was upset by this article. By the third paragraph I was thinking WHO ARE YOU to be so snobbish towards a population that struggle to cope daily with horrific circumstances? What are your credentials? Many of your conclusions and opinions come across as judgmental and blaming. Mindfulness is one thing, but disassociating is another. We owe respect, recognition, and compassion to individuals with mental illness. Without those attributes, nothing introspective within them will change.

Comments are closed.

Related Posts
Total
12
Share

Our Journalism Has Moved

Our journalism has moved to The Pulse

You have Successfully Subscribed!