Gabor Maté: When The Body Says No – Mind/Body Unity and the Stress-Disease Connection

‘Stress is ubiquitous these days – it plays a role in the workplace, in the home, and virtually everywhere that people interact. It can take a heavy toll unless it is recognized and managed effectively and insightfully.

Western medicine, in theory and practice, tends to treat mind and body as separate entities. This separation, which has always gone against ancient human wisdom, has now been demonstrated by modern science to be not only artificial, but false. The brain and body systems that process emotions are intimately connected with the hormonal apparatus, the nervous system, and in particular the immune system.

Emotional stress, especially of the hidden kind that people are not aware of, undermines immunity, disrupts the body’s physiological milieu and can prepare the ground for disease. There is strong evidence to suggest that in nearly all chronic conditions, from cancer, ALS, or multiple sclerosis to autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease or Alzheimer’s, hidden stress is a major predisposing factor.

Read More ➔

Russell Brand – Addiction to Recovery

I’m long overdue in putting this film up.

‘Brand meets a whole range of people from whom he draws insights – scientists at the cutting edge of research into the psychology of addiction, those involved in innovative recovery treatments and drug addicts themselves.

Is addiction a disease? Should it be criminalized? And is abstinence-based recovery, which worked for Brand, a possible way forward? In this documentary Brand challenges conventional theory and practice as well as government policy in his own inimitable style, confronting the reality of addiction head on.

Along the way he draws on his own experience to try to help one of the addicts he meets to take the first steps towards recovery. Armed with his own heartfelt beliefs and new insights gained during his journey, Brand has the opportunity to change the hearts and minds of policy makers when he is invited to give evidence before the Home Affairs Select Committee investigating the efficacy of current drug addiction treatment in the UK.’ BBC Three.

‘An Open Letter to Persons Self-Identifying as Mentally Ill’ by Andrew L Yoder

ayoderA brilliant and empathic blog off Mad In America. Thank you, Andrew.

‘Hello, My name is Andrew, and like you I have experienced severe cognitive and emotional distress in my life.  This distress was sufficient that I once received a psychiatric diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, though I imagine other diagnosis could have easily been applied as well.

I know what panic attacks feel like.  I know how it feels to experience a “dissociative episode” from the inside out.  I know what it feels like to believe that you are going crazy.  I know what it feels like to convulse in sobs so intensely that you tear muscles.  I know what it feels like to want to die.

Read More ➔

Psychiatric Epidemic (Part 1): The Roots – Robert Whitaker

The Psychiatric Epidemic – does long-term use of medication decrease the chance of recovery?

PsykoVision in Denmark has recently translated and published Robert Whitaker’s book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic”. In honor of this, PsykoVison has invited Whitaker to speak at a small conference in Copenhagen.

This is Part 1: The Roots of the Epidemic, where Robert Whitaker guides us through the history of psychiatric medication and presents the scientific evidence that proves that the common wisdom about theses drugs is mostly based on falsehoods.

‘What’s Wrong With You? Nothing. What Has Happened to You? Something.’ by Dr Michael Cornwall

mcornwall‘Licensed Mental Heath professionals are trained and are required to find out what is wrong with people.

Unfortunately, 90 percent of the people who could benefit from professional mental health services, in my opinion, are suffering from feeling something is wrong with them. They already feel bad about themselves, like they are failing in life. They often feel a lot of guilt, shame and self-loathing. They are often already judging themselves.

They may have been overwhelmed  by losses, by life events, or have not had their crucial needs met, or have been unloved, neglected, bullied, abused or mistreated by family and others. Because of what has happened to them, they may struggle to not identify themselves as someone who’s lot in life is to be rejected or harmed by others.

Enter the room with them, the totally well-intentioned mental health professional. Too often that encounter adds to the person in need feeling like they are somehow strange, abnormal, defective or damaged goods. Because right away out comes the DSM and the search begins for a valid category of psychopathology symptom cluster. The questions begin – questions aimed at finding abnormal psychology symptoms so a diagnosis can be made and treatment begun as soon as possible.

Read More ➔

Psychiatric drugs cause altered mental states

Another ‘Unrecognised Fact’ from the Council of Evidence-based Psychiatry

‘Just like other substances that affect brain chemistry (such as illicit drugs), psychiatric drugs produce altered mental states. They do not ‘cure’ diseases, and in many cases their mechanism of action is not properly understood.’

Check out the other two short videos and research evidence.

’12-Step Programmes Help Thousands, but Are Outdated and Sexist’ by Jessica Smith

Geological wonders: picture three‘Addiction is everywhere. The drug of choice may be alcohol, or it may be food, sex, romance, gambling or shopping, but the basic problem is the same; the inner void created by a culture that sells us the empty promise that reaching for external things will make us happy.

When all that striving for money and possessions, and for status through jobs and relationships, still leaves a gaping hole inside us, many of us reach for the bottle, the chocolates or the credit card – and the cycle is complete.

In an article in the Guardian on May 30, Damian Thompson argued against the disease model for addiction, as developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. The roots of addiction, he wrote, lie in environmental factors, in the fact that “contemporary capitalism is ruthlessly targeting our mental reward circuits.”

Read More ➔

‘Dying of a Heroin Overdose Does Not Make You a Scumbag’ by A. Thomas McLellan, Ph.D.

Unknown-6Great article in the Huffington Post by one of the leading addiction treatment researchers involving the loss of one of my favourite actors.

‘In the wake of the tragic death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, I am shocked by the vast range of opinions and emotions that have been voiced in the public discourse. Media outlets of all shapes and forms are weighing in on his death – and specifically, the foolish, self-destructive choices he made associated with his addiction.

The explosion of speculation and moralizing surrounding this death brings to light how conflicted our feelings, as a society, are about this disease. And the science is clear on this point.

Read More ➔

Father and son on how addiction affects a family

UnknownDavid and Nic Sheff talk about addiction on US TV. ‘David Sheff, author of “Clean” and “Beautiful Boy,” and his son, Nic Sheff, who was the subject of “Beautiful Boy” and has written books as well, talked to WGN Morning News about how addiction affects a family.’

Here are two important quotes from Nic Sheff:

On addiction: “I know that growing up I was really in a lot of pain and I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. So when I first started just smoking pot… instantly I had this sense of relief, this was something I had been missing…”

Read More ➔

‘Want to reduce mental illness? Address trauma. Want to save the world? Address trauma.’ by Laura K Kerr

ScapegoatIt’s time we spent more time reflecting upon the role of trauma in mental health problems and addiction. Here’s a thought-provoking blog from Laura K Kerr.

‘Different explanations have been given for the increased number of people suffering from mental illness. Some have claimed the increase is the result of ever-expanding diagnostic criteria and syndromes that risk medicalizing normal emotional reactions.

Others argue the increase is the result of the pharmaceutical industry financially courting the medical establishment as well as using advertisements to attract potential users of their medications.

While both these arguments seem correct, they nevertheless fail to address that an increasing number of people regularly experience despair and anguish and are struggling to make a meaningful life, if not keep themselves psychologically, socially, and financially afloat.

Read More ➔

Indigenous Circle of Hope

‘Welcome to the Circle of Life/Hope. This animated visual short film you are about to see is a story of prophecy.

The story of man going down the wrong path, with one day the possibility of finding the path of peace and love. What we are seeing around the world with wars, genocide, diseases, climate change such as global warming, and potential earth changes that have been foretold by many seers and indigenous peoples.

This is that story in animated visuals and soundtrack that will shake you to your roots. We must shift to this path, without hesitation.’

‘Narcotics Anonymous Comes of Age’ by Bill White

rsz_201307diamondjubileelogoBill White has recently written a blog and co-authored an article on the 60th Anniversary of NA.

‘Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is too often relegated to the status of stepchild of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).  NA’s unique history, culture, and distinctiveness are routinely obscured within references to “AA and other Twelve Step programs.” 

For the past several years, Chris Budnick, Boyd Pickard and I have been conducting research on the history of NA, and we recently authored an article commemorating the 60th anniversary of NA’s founding.  In this article we identified and discussed 12 things we believed every addiction professional should know about NA.

Read More ➔

Support for You – One Woman’s Story

Louise C. runs a successful family business in Scotland that employs 90 people.

But she very nearly lost all of this, and her life, due to chronic alcoholism. Louise thanks her family for getting her into treatment. She remembers the day her family dropped her off at Castle Craig: “It took three men to drop me at the door of Castle Craig.”

She admits that “the best thing to do with alcoholics is to gang up on them and give them no option but to try treatment and face up to their addiction.” Once that is done, “you’re half-way there.”

Read More ➔

Neuroscientist Marc Lewis On His Drug Addiction

Marc Lewis knows the power of addiction. His relationship with drugs took many forms over many years and accompanied him around the world. It was a story that seemed unlikely to have a happy ending.

It began in a New England boarding school where, bullied and homesick for Canada, he made brief escapes from reality by way of cough medicine and alcohol. Then a move to California in its hippie heyday brought him face to face with LSD, and finally heroin. In Asia, he joined American medics sniffing nitrous oxide in the Malay jungle and found a second home in the opium dens of Calcutta.

Back in Canada as a student, he resorted to stealing drugs from labs and medical centres. He then got clean for a while, but ended up working in a mental hospital, where he fled the madness around and within him through a desperate return to drugs.

Read More ➔