Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Minds, bodies & children

So today I read an article about parents whose 4-year-old daughter died because of a lethal overdose of prescription drugs. Her psychiatrist had diagnosed the girl (and her two older sibligs) with ADHD & bipolar disorder, and testimony for the prosecution claims the parents kept the girl overdosed on meds to keep her asleep and docile for long periods of time.

This case is obviously the extreme tip of the iceberg, but it is indicative of the way the mental health system functions in our society today and I hope it is drawing attention to a critical problem: the massive consumption of prescription drugs for mental symptoms.

The human brain is arguably the most complex biochemical-energy system on the planet, and neuroscientists have barely begun to figure it out. Drug therapies for the brain have come a long way, but they are still crude tools for a delicate situation. Every drug has a complex array of side effects (and intended effects) that change the brain's chemistry is ways we aren't prepared to even analyze.

I believe that when it come to tinkering with the brain, everyone involved should take the most conservative path. Somebody's going into seizures? Fine, give them drugs. Somebody's blacking out and losing memories and completely afunctional? Drugs might be helpful. Somebody can't concentrate in school? Try something else. Feeling down all the time? Don't just reach for a prescription--try something else first. If you're under the age of 25 (neuroscientists have suggested that in our information-heavy society, the brain does not show the signs of final maturity until about that age nowadays), and your brain is still growing-- try something else first.

It is hard to accept that the mind is part of the body, and that bodies have their own healing wisdom. If you take away the things that block the body's healing mechanisms, it will take care of itself. If you fuck with it, you're going to cause more trouble than it's worth.

There are many successful alternatives to drug therapies for many of the mild afflictions of the mind. There are a lot of great psychologists doing work out there, and that's awesome. But let's not forget that the mind is primarily an energy system. As a supplement to work with a pschologist, retraining the pathways of brain and giving patients better coping strategies, most people could greatly benefit from treatment with an energy worker. Systems like reiki, qi gong and yoga can give people the tools they need to change the way energy works inside their body and inside their mind.

I don't feel the need to go into details, but I know for a fact that energy work can change the health balance of your mind. I know that it changed mine greatly for the better.

As for the parents with the dead four-year-old, well, it's a sad story. And whether they are guilty or not, it doesn't really matter. They have lost their little girl in a horrible tragedy for which they are certainly responsible in some way. They'll live with that forever, and that's a long, long punishment.

1 comment:

Christina Shaver said...

Just surfin' the net and came across your post. Interesting to read considering the circumstance we're in. My son has been diagnosed with ADHD and will probably someday take some sort of medication for it. Not until we've unturned several more stones, but so far the big ones haven't really done much to improve him. Sometimes I think there is something chemically wrong in the brain that needs to be altered -- correctly (obviously not to the point of death). It scares me to have to medicate my son, but his inability to control his impulses scare me too. What if, in a fit of uncontrollable hyperactivity, he throws one of his toy planes at his brother who then loses an eye? Was it worth it for us to say, well Tyler lost an eye but we never put Evan on medicine! I don't know. That's a tough one for me. I do agree with you about the body work, and we have done that with Evan. But honestly, I don't see major strides. Anyway, this is a long way of saying thanks for your post and it's definitely made me think.