Author Topic: Can Faith Alone Treat Mental Illness?  (Read 2208 times)

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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Can Faith Alone Treat Mental Illness?
« Reply #29 on: May 08, 2013, 10:00:59 AM »
As in, should a Christian rely on prayer and prayer only?

Certainly not.

A Christian should bring all things before God in prayer, but it's simply common sense to seek the best possible professional help. Why can't God work through skilled practitioners?
The problem here is that heathens (e.g. Hindus and Catholics) also have their god work through professionals. Do you suspect that there is a new Mount Olympus somewhere from which competing gods deal out favours to their faithful?
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline tapdancingcow

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Re: Can Faith Alone Treat Mental Illness?
« Reply #30 on: May 08, 2013, 10:38:32 AM »
Thank you Jag for the welcome.

Sorry my posts are from a different angle than the others.  I just feel it's necessary to comment on this topic from my perspective.

 I'm stunned by the nutty religious people regarding mental health.  They try to pray away insanity. Which makes me wonder which in more insane, the mentally ill or the religious right. 

Scientists are starting the process of mapping the brain.  It's a very complicated undertaking and will probably involve ten years of genetic work.  It's similar to the gene mapping completed a few years ago except in the brain.   Hopefully this will give us more understanding of what goes wrong with so many mental illnesses, from Parkinson's to bi-polar to PTSD, Tay sachs and many more.  This will most likely bring about cures and that is light years better than just praying for things to change.

Scientists, many if not most who are atheists, have changed the lives of billions and billions of people on this planet for the better and mental illness will benefit from scientific logic. 

Tapdancingcow 

Offline Jag

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Re: Can Faith Alone Treat Mental Illness?
« Reply #31 on: May 08, 2013, 11:34:38 AM »
Thank you Jag for the welcome.

Sorry my posts are from a different angle than the others.  I just feel it's necessary to comment on this topic from my perspective.
No apologies necessary! You didn't stray from the topic, you shared your experience in relation to it, so I can't imagine anyone objecting, and certainly not me  ;)

Quote
I'm stunned by the nutty religious people regarding mental health.  They try to pray away insanity. Which makes me wonder which in more insane, the mentally ill or the religious right.

You are in good company. Religious people generally don't bother me, but the extreme views of the religious right are pretty disturbing, and gaining a level of acceptance that I find very unsettling.

Quote
Scientists are starting the process of mapping the brain.  It's a very complicated undertaking and will probably involve ten years of genetic work.  It's similar to the gene mapping completed a few years ago except in the brain.   Hopefully this will give us more understanding of what goes wrong with so many mental illnesses, from Parkinson's to bi-polar to PTSD, Tay sachs and many more.  This will most likely bring about cures and that is light years better than just praying for things to change.

I have no formal training in neurobiology, but a strong layman's interest. I'll be watching this unfold with absolute delight! The things we are standing poised to learn are exciting and will result in changes we can't even imagine yet.

Quote
Scientists, many if not most who are atheists, have changed the lives of billions and billions of people on this planet for the better and mental illness will benefit from scientific logic. 

The sooner the better!

"It's hard to, but I'm starting to believe some of you actually believe these things.  That is completely beyond my ability to understand if that is really the case, but things never cease to amaze me."

Offline magicmiles

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Re: Can Faith Alone Treat Mental Illness?
« Reply #32 on: May 08, 2013, 03:13:25 PM »
As in, should a Christian rely on prayer and prayer only?

Certainly not.

A Christian should bring all things before God in prayer, but it's simply common sense to seek the best possible professional help. Why can't God work through skilled practitioners?
The problem here is that heathens (e.g. Hindus and Catholics) also have their god work through professionals. Do you suspect that there is a new Mount Olympus somewhere from which competing gods deal out favours to their faithful?

Nah.
Go on up you baldhead.

Online Azdgari

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Re: Can Faith Alone Treat Mental Illness?
« Reply #33 on: May 09, 2013, 03:56:02 AM »
There still appears to be a huge swath of the population that believes mental illness is somehow the fault of the person, or of the parents. Ignorance is still pervasive on this topic, and much unnecessary harm is the result. A really well thought out public service campaign could go a long way toward educating the masses. It won't solve everything, but it would certainly help dispel some of the mistaken ideas about it.

We've got at least one of those on this very forum:
I don't get why the anxiety part is treated as some sort of disorder rather than an attitude problem. Anxiety is easily controllable or at the very least, manageable. I'm not trying to boast or belittle other autistic people that can't cope with it, I'm just sincerely curious. ...
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Offline Jag

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Re: Can Faith Alone Treat Mental Illness?
« Reply #34 on: May 09, 2013, 04:27:31 PM »
I'm letting Mooby the Medical Resident handle that one - he's far better qualified than I am to correct those errors. And credible for that matter - I'm a fairly informed layman with an interest in psychology, but not an expert by any means. I just read, a lot, and people watch.
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Offline Samothec

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Re: Can Faith Alone Treat Mental Illness?
« Reply #35 on: May 09, 2013, 05:58:54 PM »
Welcome Tapdancingcow.

Like Jag said, that wasn't diverting the thread - it was more on topic than mine immediately above it. As for having a different POV - pretty much everyone here does. Although too many of the theists sound the same to me.

I very recently read on another site that NIMH are beginning work on medical based evaluation of mental illnesses rather than the symptom based evaluation currently used and formalized in the DSM. I haven't looked into it myself yet but I was very glad to read that as it would mean far fewer misdiagnosis.
Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding. - Martin Luther

Online natlegend

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Re: Can Faith Alone Treat Mental Illness?
« Reply #36 on: May 12, 2013, 04:37:36 AM »
One word, one syllable answer.

NO

Try something a little more challenging next time, eh
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Can Faith Alone Treat Mental Illness?
« Reply #37 on: May 12, 2013, 05:39:20 AM »
In fact, the question is not as obvious in its answer as it might appear. I heard a talk by a professor of psychology many years back when I was working in that area. She told of a woman who was beset by voices in the head that “told her things”. Apparently, she had about three of these voices. The voices were distinct and had separate characters and didn’t always agree with each other.

The constant talk was causing her distress, depression and mental exhaustion because she felt compelled to join in these conversations in her head. This led to her constantly telling the voices that they were wrong, rather like an atheist belonging to some Christian forum and 24/7 being given a constant stream of repetitive pseudo-arguments to refute.

The professor explained that although the symptoms were not severe and the woman still had a grip on life, battling these voices was, for the patient, the most troubling aspect of psychiatric illness.

The professor then realised that throughout human history, people with bizarre thought processes had, nevertheless, become happy and, in some cases, great, as there was a level at which the ‘normal’ person would accept the logic. Think of New Age beliefs, crystals, aromatherapy, chiropractors, homeopathy, etc. and also those in the Bible who claimed “God spoke to me and said…”.

What the professor now did was to give the woman a course in cognitive behavioural therapy and a course in management. The latter focussed upon effective chairmanship of meetings.

The woman was receptive and, soon, instead of arguing with the voices, she took control of them by saying such things as, “I don’t think that suggestion is very helpful, do you? Could I ask you to concentrate on the matter in hand?” and other passive-aggressive tactics. Instead of having warring tribes in her head, the woman now had “cooperative friends” who were able to help her reason out problems and choices that she had.

As people in general are a bit worried by others who say they hear voices, the patient was also taught not to refer to “the voices” but, when explaining “their” arguments, to say things like, “The other day, a friend was saying to me …” or claim that it was her idea but (inside her head) credit the voices.

The professor concluded by saying that she had seen the woman recently and she was happy. She still had the voices which were not her friends and she had found that the woman’s circle of real friends had increased as people were coming to her for advice on social matters. There was a little more to it; the professor was not disappointed that the woman hadn’t entirely kept to the script and was claiming that the voices were “spirits” because séances are culturally acceptable.

I must emphasise that this will not be a solution in all, or perhaps even, in many cases. However, it does give some insight into borderline psychiatric disorders and is parallel to the solution applied in physical disorders -> if the patient cannot be cured, teach the patient to live with the illness/disability.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Online natlegend

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Re: Can Faith Alone Treat Mental Illness?
« Reply #38 on: May 12, 2013, 06:26:22 AM »
Ok, cofession time.[1] Due to a few bad descisions in my life I have considering joining NA. Nowhere, after reading all those literature I as entirely put off - there is a huge emphasis on engaging the help of a 'higher power' (this can be god, or Elvis, or your dead dog if you like). I have a big problem with this. Yes, friends and family can help, but if (like in my case) I prefer to do it on my own.

Why do self help grounds gave to beso religiously oriented??? Suffice to say

I want be joining NA and will do this with the help of a GP, psychologist, and drug specialist.

*Heaven forbid I should manage to do this with a combination of self perseverance and professional help!*
 1. Please refrain from bringing this up at later daye
« Last Edit: May 12, 2013, 06:31:51 AM by natlegend »
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Offline Mooby

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Re: Can Faith Alone Treat Mental Illness?
« Reply #39 on: May 12, 2013, 11:43:33 AM »
Why do self help grounds gave to beso religiously oriented???
They don't. NA/AA are just the only ones people talk about.

We had a speaker on IGI representing a secular program and who gave information on other programs as well.
"I'm doing science and I'm still alive."--J.C.

Offline shnozzola

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Re: Can Faith Alone Treat Mental Illness?
« Reply #40 on: May 12, 2013, 06:59:39 PM »
One word, one syllable answer.

NO

Try something a little more challenging next time, eh

Nat,
        I don't know if you read the original transcript from NPR at the beginning.  The title is not mine.  I suppose your reply
   "Try something a little more challenging next time, eh"
 is an answer to the NPR writers.  I think, as the religious woman in this story has also has learned, that science, medicine, support, etc. is what helps people.  Faith may be like a balm for the religious, but strong support of family, with good doctors is what can solve the problem.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2013, 07:02:20 PM by shnozzola »
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Online natlegend

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Re: Can Faith Alone Treat Mental Illness?
« Reply #41 on: May 12, 2013, 11:09:50 PM »
...Faith may be like a balm for the religious, but strong support of family with good doctors is what can solve the problem.

Strong family support, or religiously tained family support? Here in Oz we have all sorts of creams and sprays that claim to take away the itch of an insect bite and they do, but ony for a short amount of time. 30 minutes later and you're still scratching your skin off.
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.