Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Talking dirty - let's discuss cure

Why is "cure" such a dirty word in mental health circles? A cure simply means that someone with an illness has become healthy again or it can be the solution to a problem. To believe in "cure" in the context of schizophrenia is to embarrass oneself publically. I hereby stand embarrassed.

Yes, it is true there is no "medical cure" for schizophrenia, meaning that no drug has been invented that will take away your symptoms, but somehow the concept of cure has been corrupted to mean only that. We have all read that "schizophrenia is the most serious and devastating of the mental illnesses, there is no cure for it but there are effective treatments (blah, blah, blah)" People who dutifully take statements like that at face value become patients for life. Personally, I wouldn't want the state of my mental health to hinge on taking lifelong drugs for something where supposedly there is no cure and while many people manage without them.

Dean Radin, in his blog Entangled Minds, has this to say about an article criticizing the small amounts of funding that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has directed to alternative treatments.

"In the meantime, are there alternative methods that might also be useful, and that often have little to no side effects, and that are usually quite inexpensive? Yes, and fortunately the NIH is providing piddling grants to study them (compared to conventional medicine CAM studies are receiving chump change). But this article seems to want us to drop all such studies: "Taxpayers are bankrolling studies of whether pressing various spots on your head can help with weight loss, whether brain waves emitted from a special "master" can help break cocaine addiction, and whether wearing magnets can help the painful wrist problem, carpal tunnel syndrome."

"Are such things actually impossible? What if they actually do work? Isn't that worth finding out? The alternative is that we don't find out and useless treatments continue to be provided, or that expensive drug and surgical methods continue to be provided, many of which don't work either!"

"Personally I'd much rather spend my tax dollars looking for simple, effective, cheap methods that work, regardless of what existing theories are comfortable with. Go back just 20 years and large swatches of what used to be taken for granted in science and medicine have radically changed. So how can anyone today possibly believe that now we finally understand everything?"

What always astounds me is how willing many people are to believe that everything is known, and they are prepared put their life or the life of their relative on hold until "science" comes up with another stab at getting it wrong. Recently, a blogger took me to task for using the word "cure" in the context of schizophrenia. According to this blogger, everybody knows there's no cure, there is only management for this "chronic illness." She has bought the official line, and more's the pity. I can deal with that way of thinking, although I don't agree with it. She, obviously cannot deal with my way of thinking because she refused to print my comment about "cure." She doesn't agree with it so she doesn't print it. She is saving her readers from what, exactly?



  1. Even if there was a "cure" for schizophrenia, one could argue that there is a vested interest in maintaining an inadequate treatment system. You hint at this, and I have to say, I think its true, that there is a huge unspoken incentive, at least for pharmaceutical companies, to maintain an unhealthy population that is in need of a solution. The fact that most of the research in this country is in fact funded by pharmaceutical companies reinforces this theory. It also explains why there is so little known about more simple, holistice treatments

  2. Because there is no biological basis for diagnosis, there can be no biological basis for "cured." The diagnosis is based on behavior. People diagnosed with schizophrenia who are behaving well are considered "in remission" because there is no way to test the biological status of the illness. Of course people with schizophrenia get well. They are among the many who disapear from the mental healthcare system.

  3. Thank you for both these comments. Re the comment about the mentally ill disappearing from the healthcare system, I am wondering how one gets around answering questions for insurance on pre-existing conditions, etc. I assume this is more of a problem in the United States than elsewhere. Also, how does this work for employment? Can employers pry into whether you have ever had a diagnosed mental health condition? Your thoughts on this are most appreciated.

  4. Around two years ago I had some schizophrenic symptoms and began behaving recklessly online. At the moment I am "in remission" however I still believe that everyone knows who I am. When I'm in public it is hard to tell if people are commenting about me, or if I'm placing the necessary context onto people's comments to make that my reality. I don't know.
    Anyway, my two cents is that meditating on Christ's love does help.

  5. Hi, Anonymous,
    Just wondering if you are familiar with EFT and/or are seeing a therapist right now, and if so, does this help with lssening your symptoms?

  6. Hi, Rossa,

    I had never heard of EFT before, thank you for sharing that. I am seeing a therapist and am in a Christ-centered recovery program for my addictions. The symptoms have not lessened though; I am just able to deal with them more effectively.
    What I have read of EFT so far sounds similar to the Christ-centered approach. EFT seems to boil down to the use of "set-up phrases," if I understand it correctly.
    That’s kind of what I do now. When I'm on my way to and from work, or when I run errands for my boss, or walk through school, I'll perceive comments from others about me. The comments mostly consist of speculations about the intent behind things I've said or written in the previous day or two. It’s as if the people are playing monday morning quarterback with my everyday life. The toughest part is that many of the speculations are regarding unspeakable acts or people claiming I'm a racist. The speculations hurt and often floor me. Though, the speculations are also about little things. I'll actually hear commentators in my mind at times about every act I make. It could be something as simple as me choosing which news headline to click on a website.

  7. My set-up phrase is basically, "I forgive you for judging me, I forgive you for invading my privacy, I forgive you for raping my mind. I find the strength to forgive you because of the strength Christ showed when he literally died for all of humanity's sins." This is the essence of my mindset as I deal with the "commentators." That and I always try to remember that God loves me and that God loves them, you, us. An infinite loop of God’s love. It’s all about God's love, in my opinion.

  8. Hi, Anonymous,
    Thanks for responding. You sound like you are really taking charge of your own health. That's great. If you have a chance consider going to go an EFT demonstration, I think it can take you to an even higher level. The difference with EFT is that it makes use of the body's electromagnetism and ties it to an emotion. There are EFT practitioners who can lead you through the steps and help you understand what it does. It's a good introduction to thinking of SZ in an energetic sense.

  9. Thanks, Rossa,
    I will definitely check that out. The subject of EFT is fascinating. Thank you.
    I should say, I misstated where I get the strength to "forgive." It does not come from within, it comes from Christ. I look outside of myself to Christ for the strength. The faith that doing so will work seems to be key. That is my experience anyway. Its been good conversing with you. I'll definitely check out EFT some more. Take care.

    Peace and Love.


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