Author Topic: Buddhism and mental disorders  (Read 24399 times)

Ensapa

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Buddhism and mental disorders
« on: August 27, 2012, 01:38:08 PM »
Buddhism talks a lot about the mind, but how about when it comes to handling mental illness? There have been mixed talk about this, but it is apparent that people suffering from mental disorders can benefit from Buddhist practice as well, although they do need a proper guide to help them overcome their delusions.

What do you think on how can Buddhism help to heal mental illness?


Here is a testimonial of sorts that I found online on this subject.

Quote
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 03, 2009

Mental Illness: Meditation or Medication? Often, Both.
This is a long post but an important one because it touches on an issue--mental illnes, which some in spiritual circles choose to ignore. As many of you know I have been living with schizoaffective disorder for most of my life and have found great refuge, relief of symptoms and calm from Buddhism and meditation in particular. Of course, we all are "mentally ill" or else we wouldn't be here in samsara but some have severe, biological mental illnesses and require a hybrid approach of therapies and practices.

I notice that the more I meditate the easier it is to deal with my condition. Yet meditation alone isn't enough in my situation because despite meditating I still am debilitated by disabling symptoms such as paranoia, hallucinations, delusions (psychiatric delusions such as being convinced that you are the most horrible person on Earth), mood swings and chronic depression.

Thus I have found medications help fill the void and basically keep me alive because my depressive episodes easily lead to suicidal thoughts. I have found an excellent psychiatrist who has found a great balance of medications to keep myself as stable as can be expected outside finding a cure to the disease. In addition I talk regularly with a psychotherapist to help me keep track of my mood swings and give me tips on how to better manage my illness through establishing routines and developing other techniques. So I was excited when I read an excellent article in the current Buddhadharma magazine that arrived in my mailbox today about this very subject:

When Buddhism first came to the West, many teachers and practitioners initially dismissed psychotherapy as superficial, unnecessary and possibly counterproductive. As time went on...psychotherapy's relationship to spiritual practice started to undergo a reevaluation, and the two disciplines began to intermingle a bit more. In fact, many therapists and meditation teachers now agree that meditation and psychotherapy can be mutually facilitating. Meditators seem to progress more quickly in theraphy, while psychotherapy can improve the effectiveness of their meditation.
James: I am one of those meditators who have progressed more quickly in therapy thanks in part to my meditation practice. In fact, when I come into therapy and am having a difficult time with my mental illness she always asks if I'm meditating and the answer is often, "no." So in a lot of ways my meditation practice is a type of medication though I still do have episodes despite meditating. When I meditate on a regular basis it takes some of the severity out of my symptoms. That said, while meditation is very effective it isn't the entire solution and I think we Buddhists must admit that meditation isn't the solution to everthing--especially when medical issues are involved. It is true that meditation has been shown to reduce blood pressure, induce relaxation and other health benefits but it can not solve severe, biological mental illness symptoms in total.
Combining meditation and psychotherapy makes sense if we appreciate how they work in complementary ways. For the most part, meditation focuses primarily on developing capacities such as concentration and awareness, whereas psyschotherpay focuses primarily on changing the objects of awareness, such as emotions and beliefs. Of course there are significant overlaps, but this complimentarity suggests why combining both approaches can be very helpful. Meditative qualities can facilitate psychotherapeutic healing of painful patterns, while the psychotherapeutic healing of these painful patterns can reduce the disruption of spiritual practice.
James: Medication has toned down the volume of distracting stimuli in my head such as the hallucinations and calmed my nerves to enable me the opportunity to actually be able to practice. Before medications I wouldn't have had the patience to meditate due to manic episodes that kept my thoughts racing too fast to have the concentration needed to sit even for a few minutes. It's like trying to do meditation effectively after drinking four pots of coffee in an hour. Either that or I'd be so depressed that I couldn't get out of bed let alone have the motivation and intention to meditate.

So the medication has lowered the volume and reduced the static in my brain to put me in a position where meditation is actually even an option and be able to not just do it but find great benefit from it. I was drowning without medication and the water was up to my mouth and nose so the medications have drained the water down to my chest level. So while it's difficult to walk through chest deep water at least I can now (for the most part) breath comfortably, which gives me the freedom to meditate and have the ability to make progress upon the path that otherwise would be basically impossible. When it comes to using medication in combination with a Buddhist practice there are basically too camps according to the author of this article. First, the purists and second the pragmatists (I fall into pragmatist category):
Spiritual purists argue that if mental suffering is fundamentally spiritual and karmic, spiritual practice alone is appropriate to treat it. Moreover they are concerned that medication may dull or derail spiritual practice. They also worry that medications may reduce or distort awareness, and thereby make practice more difficult. In this view, medications can be novel forms of the "mind clouding intoxicants" prohibited by the lay precepts to which many Buddhists practitioners adhere. Therefore, taking these modern pharmacological agents is tantamount to violating this precept.
James: Let me say that I have found personally (and I've read that this is the case for many others) that my medications do the opposite of "dull or derail spiritual practice," "reduce or distort awarness." Without them I was so depressed, mislead by hallucinations (voices) and detached by dissociation that I was a nihilist believing in nothing and wanting the world to explode to end everyone's misery. At least that's what I thought at the time in my deluded mind.

It wasn't until I started to lower the static in my head through medications that I saw the benefits of spirituality and sought out Buddhism. Before then my mind was clogged and preoccupied with constant mental torment and anguish. It simply didn't have the stability at the time for a spiritual practice. Thus is was before medications that I had a dulled spiritual practice--not after. The medications increased my awareness of reality rather than dull it as they helped sharpen my concentration, focus and attention (I have Attention Deficit Disorder as well) to enable me to actually have a chance at understanding concepts like mindfulness. I know for certain that I'd be spiritual lost still without the addition of medication to give me a somewhat stable mind to build a spiritual foundation upon.
By contrast, pragmatists hold that spiritual practice alone is simply insufficient, or at least not optimal, for healing all mental suffering. While not denying the validity of some purist concerns, pragmatists argue that certain problems and pathologies respond best to other therapies, and one of those therapies can be medication.
James: Buddhism can indeed be more than enough for the regular depression and anxiety that occur with living in samsara. However, those diagnosed with a severe biological mental illness that involves chemical imbalances within the brain need the additional help that comes with proper medication and therapeutic monitoring. It can be very dangerous and irresponsible to prevent someone with severe deperssion from seeking psychiatric help because suicide is a very real threat and should never, EVER be ignored or blown off.

People with a severe mental illness who do not seek medication are usually playing with a loaded gun that could very easily go off in the form of suicide. Some people can get by with herbal supplements and vitamins but most people with severe mental troubles need stronger medicine. I tried the "natural route" and it didn't even cut the symptoms much at all.

The author who is a professor of psychiatry (and a Buddhist) did a study with Buddhist practitioners with suffer from mental illness: Our team of researchers, all physicians and long-term meditators, investigated a group of nineteen Buddhist practioneers (thirteen women and six men) diagnosed with major depression. These practioneers had all been doing meditation, mainly vipassana, for at least three years, had participated in two or more weeklong retreats, and had used antidepressants in the last two years.
Most of our subjects reported that antidepressants helped them with multiple emotional, motivational, and cognitive functions. Emotional changes were consistent with an antidepressant effect. The painful emotions of anger and sadness decreased significantly, but fear showed a smaller response. The positive emotions of happiness, joy, love, and compassion all increased, as did self-esteem. Subjects also felt calmer and that their awareness was clearer. One would expect this kind of result, given that the subjects were no longer wrestling with intense, painful emotions.

Clearly the large majority of these meditators felt that they, and their spiritual practitice, benefited significantly from taking antidepressants. Several subjects reported that the antidepressants enabled them to recommence or significantly improve their meditation and spiritual practice.
James: So while there still is no cure for schizoaffective disorder and while I still suffer from hallucinations, paranoia, bipolar, etc., the medications have given me my life back to where I can pursue things like spritituality. It has allowed me sharpen my awareness of reality and this life whereas before I was living in a kind of fog and everything was out of focus. So I can attest to the benefits of psychotherapy and medications. Thus, when added with meditation and other Buddhist practices it forms a powerful combination that has helped me greatly.

It's time that we realize that interdepenence includes science helping spirituality and spirituality helping science. The two working together can accomplish great things and don't necessarily have to be at odds. Sure there are some tensions between the two groups but there are areas where they fit perfectly and accent each other to benefit a great many people.

icy

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Re: Buddhism and mental disorders
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2012, 02:46:36 AM »
Did you know that antidepressant drugs can potentially do you more harm than good? Properly prescribed exercise has been proven to be effective not only to help relieve depressive symptoms, but also help prevent them from recurring.  Apart from practising Buddhist meditation to calm mental disorders, read what Dr Oz has to say about antidepressant drugs for mental disorders and building a strong body immunity to overcome mental disorders.

Antidepressants

When it comes to the use of antidepressant medication, Dr. Oz is still in somewhat of an allopathic mode—the idea that for nearly every disease or symptom there is a pill that will likely cure it. The conventional approach to treating depression is to prescribe an antidepressant (or two). I firmly believe that antidepressants do more harm than good in most cases of depression.

Dr. Oz seeks to apply natural alternatives like St. John's, SAMe, or tryptophan in lieu of more hazardous antidepressants, but while such supplements are certainly safer, and sometimes effective, you're still not treating the underlying cause of depression. Some will argue that if you're low in serotonin, you might benefit from some tryptophan. But while this may indeed help, you're still not addressing the reason for why you're low in serotonin. There are reasons for that, and once you eliminate the root cause, you won't have to take pills of any kind... I think it's really crucial to address these underlying issues.

As for antidepressants, there's startling evidence and countless research studies that strongly suggest antidepressant drugs simply do not work. Meanwhile, every year, psychiatric drugs kill an estimated 42,000 people—that's an astounding 12,000 more people than commit suicide due to depression.

Rooting Out the Causes of Depression

There are a number of very powerful strategies to address depression. One that has been proven more effective than antidepressants in a number of studies is exercise. Exercise not only relieves depressive symptoms but also appears to prevent them from recurring. Unfortunately, since no one is going to be making tens of billions of dollars on encouraging you to exercise, it has not received the amount of funding for studies that antidepressant drugs have received. However when the studies are performed, exercise continually comes out on top, demonstrating benefits above and beyond what antidepressant drugs can achieve.

Three key mechanisms appear to be that exercise:

Improves insulin receptor sensitivity
Regulates serotonin and norepinephrine, two key neurotransmitters in your brain, and
"Switches on" genes that increase your brain levels of galanin, a neurotransmitter that helps lessen your body's stress response
Your diet is another key factor that must be addressed. There are well-documented studies showing that animal-based omega-3 fat (DHA) is very useful. I'm a firm believer in krill oil, which is far more effectively absorbed than fish oil. You also want to make sure to optimize your diet, meaning removing sugars, grains and processed foods, and replacing them with healthy fats. Why is your diet so important for your emotional and mental health?

The Gut-Brain Connection that Can Help Explain Many Cases of Depression

One of the reasons that dietary changes work is because it helps alter your gut flora in very beneficial ways. The beneficial bacteria in your gut have a profound influence on your health, including your mental health. They produce substances that your body needs. And, your gut actually produces more serotonin than your brain does!

Your gut is frequently referred to as 'the second brain,' and when you consider the fact that the gut-brain connection is recognized as a basic tenet of physiology and medicine, and that there's no shortage of evidence of gastrointestinal involvement in a variety of neurological diseases, it's easy to see how the balance of gut bacteria can play a significant role in your psychology and behavior as well. With this in mind, it should also be crystal clear that nourishing your gut flora is extremely important, from cradle to grave, because in a very real sense you have two brains, one inside your skull and one in your gut, and each needs its own vital nourishment.

Last but certainly not least, is finding a skilled psychotherapist who can help you work through some of the contributing emotional challenges. But optimizing your physiology with the physical approaches mentioned is probably the best marriage of an approach that has a high likelihood of success.

Here's additional information everyone should read… whether they're experiencing depression, or have a friend or loved one who is trying to deal with it, or just want to be better informed about antidepressants and depression.

buddhalovely

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Re: Buddhism and mental disorders
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2012, 02:47:50 AM »
A discussion of applying Zen Dharma Recovery to Schizophrenia mental health recovery can be found at Zen Dharma Schizophrenia Mental Health Recovery, Hearing Voices Coping.

"I am a religious and spiritual practitioner and Steward. My principle practice is Zen Dharma. I give presentations and write here as a member of the Staten Island Zen Community where I am a senior student of Sensei and Zen Priest Ken Tetsuji Byalin." SIZC is a member sangha of The Zen PeaceMakers Sangha.

This page is devotional service as a Zen Dharma practice maintained for free by Daigu. If you wish to support this work please buy books and other stuff from Daigu’s Amazon.com bookstores ( Amazon Dharma Recovery Pro Bono Support Bookstore ) He also has a a few but growing number of his own art and comic material available at his Zazzle store Shop Supporting Pro Bono Work.

Daigu does pro bono work other than this page. He for example advises on scientific recovery research and teaches staff recovery at the John W LaVelle Preparatory Charter School on Staten Island. He must travel from Colorado to do this.This school founded and run by his teacher Ken Tetsuji Byalin is a college prep school and NOT a treatment school. Sensei Byalin’s principle Zen Dharma devotional service is running the prep school. He is a reformed PhD clinical social worker as he occasionally says. 40% of its students come from special education and now instead of a dead end they have a chance at going to college. Better than 80% will recovery who are psychiatrically labeled kids and if they are not prepared they will not be self supporting. They will be recovered and unskilled.

Ensapa

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Re: Buddhism and mental disorders
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2012, 11:21:29 AM »
However, with that said, there are many Buddhists who suffer from more subtle disorders that are harder to detect, such as a delusional disorder where the practitioner sees himself or herself as a very advanced practitioner even tho he or she is not, or sees himself or herself as a tulku and then acts and misleads people with half baked and self created theories. Both cases are actually quite prevalent in the Buddhist world and in their case, the more Dharma they receive it would be more destructive for them as they will think that they have already have accomplished what has been taught by the Dharma text, as opposed to seeing it as something that they should work on and improve on, and preach their interpretation of it which usually involves self glorification. Some distort whatever any Dharma text or sutra says into something that makes them feel/look superior. When challenged or told that they are wrong, they get very hostile and defensive and insist that their methods and their way is right. It may sound like these people are normal people, but their description sounds exactly like someone that suffers from delusional disorder....but yet many spiritual communities accept them as they are and dont help them.

In my own center, I have seen my Guru tame people with this disorder as they are not only unable to take in and practice the teachings, but they also harm the minds of others with their distorted views. The Guru knows exactly when to give praise and exactly when to start the assault on their ego as well as force them to face the truth as people that suffer from this usually are extremely fragile people on the inside, when they are not affected by their delusions so it might cause them a lot of harm if it is not done correctly. It still amazes me to see how they are cured without using medications, or that their conditions actually improve.

AnneQ

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Re: Buddhism and mental disorders
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2012, 02:08:28 PM »
This is an interesting topic. Your question: What do you think on how Buddhism can help heal mental illness?
My answer would be yes spiritual meditation and Buddhism can play a huge role in alleviating mental illness. to Depression and mental disorders are normally associated with low self-esteem, lack of self confidence, inability to neutralise negative thoughts and emotions. Spiritual meditation can allow us to be more positive, optimistic, mentally stronger and give us the ability to prepare ourselves for some of the challenges life present us daily. Based on the testimony highlighted on this post, spiritual meditation complimented with medication in order for the person suffering from schizophrenia and depression to overcome the debilitating effects successfully. Hence, Buddhism can be seen as complimentary to medicine, working hand in hand or even as an alternative option altogether.

biggyboy

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Re: Buddhism and mental disorders
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2012, 05:58:57 PM »
I believe that spiritual meditations, prayers and Buddhism can help and heal mental disorders hand in hand along with medications.  Having medications will depend on the degree of their mental illness.  Some may not need them where meditations and prayers alone can heal them. 

“We can calm the mind only by using a method of meditation. Once the mind is calm, we can reduce the subjective and habitual patterns of self-based notions that cause so much vexation. When we achieve a tranquil or unified state of awareness, it is possible to see just what the self is."

Lecture by Master Sheng-yen on October 25, 1990 at San Francisco General Hospital

"Shakyamuni Buddha himself dealt with the problem of illness.   Illness begins at birth; when one is born, the peril of sickness begins. The person who has not suffered illness has yet to be born. Only after death does illness cease. We must suffer both mental and physical pain and illness in this life. Buddha said that we should see a doctor for physical illness, but mental illness should be treated with Buddhadharma.

Buddha saw that it was more important to save the mind than the body. One who has a healthy mind and a good attitude will be much less afflicted by physical difficulty than someone who has mental problems. If all of our mental problems are cured, that is liberation. One with a healthy body but a sick mind will suffer much more than someone who only has physical problems."

Physical illness is pain; mental illness is suffering. Buddhadharma does not rid us of pain. It is not an anesthetic. It alleviates our suffering.

In Buddhism there are five kinds of mental vexation: greed, anger, ignorance, arrogance, and doubt. When we are distressed, we can try to analyze the nature of our vexation."



icy

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Re: Buddhism and mental disorders
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2012, 01:40:07 PM »
There is an extremely fine line between samsaric mental disorder and the madness of a attained yogins.  Unless you are a highly attained, you cannot differentiate between the two.  You can easily be fooled by the madness of yogins.

Mad yogins are known in virtually every tradition in Tibet, but most often we hear in the Nyingma and Kagyu lineages, and also in the Shije (Pacification) and Chod traditions. The Nyingma, Kagyu, and Chod traditions are the three with which Tangtong Gyalpo had the closest ties. One of the texts in Tangtong's Oral Transmission, a collection of teachings originally passed down from Tangtong, quotes the great yogini Machik Labdron's statement concerning proper yogic conduct following realization. In response to a question by one of her sons, Machik recommended that a practitioner act like a child with unfeigned spontaneity, like a lunatic with no regard for what is conventionally acceptable, like a leper with no attachment to his or her own physical health, and like a wild animal wandering in isolated and rough terrain.

...Guru Padmasambhava himself prophesied that Tangtong Gyalpo would care for living beings by means of unpredictable actions. Tangtong's unusual conduct began to manifest at an early age, and resembled traits noted in the lives of other mad yogins. He was first called insane by his father and the members of his village when, as a child, he subdued a malicious spirit responsible for an epidemic. Several other early incidents are mentioned in the biographies. When he went to take scholastic examinations at the renowned monastery of Sakya he earned the nickname Tsondru Nyonpa (Crazy Tsondru) because of his disinterest in explaining the scriptural definitions of the highest states of realization. He preferred to spend his time absorbed in actually experiencing these states. When he was later practicing deliberate behavior secretly in a vast and empty wasteland, the dakinis gave him five names indicating his high realization, one of which was Lungtong Nyonpa (Madman of the Empty Valley).

Ensapa

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Re: Buddhism and mental disorders
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2012, 03:29:17 PM »
Mental disease here means conditions like schizophrenia where the person is consistently engaged in some form of hallucination and is unable to tell the difference between what is real and what is not, and they actually believe what these hallucinations say. They tend to have some sort of distorted belief about reality and act upon it. In western medicine, there is no cure from schizophrenia, but it seems that Buddhism does help. Here's a story about that....a testimonial from a schizophrenic man who engaged in Buddhism and subsequently got his schizophrenia healed.

Having schizophrenia and being a mahasiddha is very different. a person suffering from schizophrenia may hear voices claiming to be buddhas or continuously see their hallucinations or even think that they are the Buddha, but they cannot perform the deeds or actions of a Buddha.

Quote
How I Triumphed Over Schizophrenia

by Jimmy Cheah

Dr. Siebert:

Thank you for your website. I can confirm from my own experience that someone believed to have paranoid schizophrenia can fully recover on their own with no treatment of any kind and become "weller than well." Here is my story....

Is There A Cure For "Schizophrenia?"

More than 20 years ago, I fully recovered from schizophrenia without medication or treatment. Even though I was re-hospitalized for about 4 relapses, I was never a willing patient.

Once out of the crazy madhouse, I'd throw away all the medication that's forced down my throat. I learnt by my own hard experience that: "Treatments" for schizophrenia are often worse than the "disease." (Siebert)

How It Started

I'm now aged 51 and I'm "weller than well" to speak of my authentic personal tragedy of having to go through "schizophrenic episodes" at the mercy of others who are biased and misconceive the beneficial effects of so-called "paranoid schizophrenia."

About 26 years ago, I was ordained as a Buddhist monk in a meditation temple. Before ordination, I had to undergo observation for about 3 months for good and normal behavior. I was taught the Vipassana Meditation which is also known as Insight Meditation. Eventually, I was ordained as a monk. I was very strict and disciplined in my meditation practice. I observed strict silence.

After several months of intensive meditation, I suddenly broke my silence involuntarily and began "speaking in tongues." I thought I could speak Brahmin, Sanskrit or chant Ancient Scriptures.

I began to exhibit strange gestures and bizarre mannerism that's not becoming of a monk. I was disrobed without any compassion and cast out of the temple to pursue the Path of Suffering. Lost souls like "schizophrenics" do not have enough merits to lead the holy life.

Taking "The Road Less Traveled", I ended up meditating in a graveyard. I was like a hungry ghost and a wandering spirit experiencing the true meaning of homelessness. I could have taken the short cut to Heaven by taking my own life but that's against the rules. The Sixth Commandment of Moses came to mind, " Thou shalt not kill."

"Procrastination is the thief of time," my inner voice said.

"Do it now!" This is what they usually teach in motivation psychology. However, I decided not to make a rash decision at that time. But I knew, sooner or later the time will surely come. "Why not next time, buddy?"

"King Solomon with all his wisdom wouldn't do a thing like that," said another voice.

I was having a brainstorm. I was brainstorming, freewheeling, having group discussion in my mind and experiencing freedom of association. It was the freedom of free thinking in a free world. This is the Path of Freedom.

I was caught in a cosmic dance, which is quite different from the steps of waltz, fox-trot, tango, rumba or cha-cha. Aha! I could dance like Michael Jackson or even better.

My head was beginning to spin like a whirlpool. It was like entering a time tunnel. By and by, I wasn't functioning from a logical and reasoning mind. There's no need for reason. There's no need to explain. Anything goes! "Life goes on ......ooh! La! La! La! Life goes on......" "Yahoo!"

Yet, I was quite aware of what was going in my mind because I was trained in the Art of Contemplation, you see. There's no doubt about it. It was curiosity that lured me on and on. I was tempted to explore this " mystical experience" but I soon lost control of the normal functioning of my thinking skill. I was trying to explore the unconscious, subconscious, supraconscious or supreme ultimate reality. I was like a newborn baby riding an unsaddled horse for the first time. I lost my vital mental balance like "Humpty Dumpty had a great fall."

Personal History

There's no history of psychosis in my family. My father (deceased) is a medical doctor. My brothers and sisters are gainfully employed and successful.

Before becoming a monk, I was a freelance writer on Success Motivation. I was trying to emulate Napoleon Hill, the famous author of Think And Grow Rich. I also organized seminars on Leadership Development, Salesmanship and Effective Public Speaking - a copycat of Dale Carnegie.

I soon discovered the "Paradox of Success" after I had gathered fair knowledge of Buddhism, Taoist Meditation, Kundalini Yoga, Psychic Science, Tarot, Christianity and Zen. I joined the monkhood thinking I could seek deliverance from Suffering caused by Ignorance, Passion and Delusion.

Voice In The Wilderness

"People diagnosed as "schizophrenia" often have to be talked into thinking that they're sick and in many cases are forced to submit involuntarily to treatment." (Al Siebert)

My mental ability deteriorated rapidly. I wasn't my former self. I was functioning from lower and distorted personality. I was just like one of those crazy guys wandering in the streets. I was running like a street dog, at times. I was shouting and violent but I didn't cause injury to anyone. I was bustling with too much energy which went berserk and beyond my control.

I could walk for 20 to 60 miles without sleeping. There was a compulsion to go on without a destination. I could do without breakfast, lunch or dinner. Sometimes, I wondered whether the sun was rising or setting. I couldn't see the difference. There was a "no differentiating" Zen mind. I felt I was floating in the air and I was on the way to Enlightenment. But actually, I was on my way to the psychiatric hospital. It was like a sting. I was at the wrong place at the wrong time, man.

On my first admission, Dr. Hobson and his team of merry-makers unanimously diagnosed me as "schizophrenic" or "psychotic." A very erratic and extreme case without any reservation.

Dr. Fox ( not real name) came to see me privately. He said he had traveled to the Himalayas and had seen some yogis and shamans suffering the same fate as me. He seemed to know something about "meditation side-effects", astral travel, shamanic practices, ESP and out-of-body experiences. He said, "I know you are not crazy but you look like one. I know you're an individualist and you like to do your own thing. If 9 out of 10 doctors point a finger at you - you had it. You shouldn't be caught by them."

I replied, " Majority wins, isn't it? Wise men think alike."

Dr. Fox wasn't the doctor-in-charge of me. He didn't give me any further advice or counseling for fear of criticism from his colleagues.

Nobody seemed to believe what I said. I told the doctors that I was suffering from the inconvenience of "meditation side-effects" and all I needed was just a simple tranquilizer to calm my nerves. Everybody laughed. Amused that I was giving them the prescription, perhaps. I told them this "meditation side-effects" is documented in Zen Buddhism, Taoist Meditation and Kundalini Yoga doctrine. (Mookerjee - Kundalini, The Arousal of Inner Energy; Sannella, Kundalini - Psychosis or Transcendence). Nobody believed what I said because I didn't seem to be in the right frame of mind. They viewed it as delirium tremens - speaking like a mad, drunken monkey.

I was like shouting to the trees in the wild forest. The trees couldn't hear or understand what I said.

Experience Is My Best Doctor: Relapses Are My Healing Aides

"Some people not only fully recover from 'schizophrenia' episode, the experience has beneficial effects, leading to favorable changes in personality and improvements in psychological strengths." (Al Siebert)

Every relapse gives a clue of how to overcome it. By acknowledging my weakness, I begin to discover my strength. There's a lesson to be learnt even in the most stupid and helpless situation.

It was the fourth and the last relapse, as far as I can remember, that gave me the breakthrough. The experiences I learnt from the previous relapses help me to recognize its symptoms as it arises.

My psychedelic "schizo" mind, well equipped with first-class automatic transmission, was going like non-stop "choo-choo", "ghost train." Most of the time, I was caught by unexpected surprise. The relapse would occur when I least expected -- not every full moon. You don't hear the howling of wolves. There's no warning. But soon I knew how to deal with the unexpected.

The first few relapses always make a monkey out of me. It skillfully eluded me. I was foolish enough not to learn from it.

When I came to my senses, I saw the awakening. It was the point of : "No Problems." "No Regrets." "No Turning Back."

Awakening From Psychosis: Breaking Through The Barrier of Self-Delusion

"Out of the murky water, the lotus bloom." (Buddhist Saying)

"The mind is no doubt extremely turbulent. Through repeated attempts you can perfectly subdue it." (Sri Swami (Dr.) Sivananda, Mind: Its Mysteries and Control, 1946)

It was just after a heavy thunderstorm. Two men looked out of the window. The first one spat with disgust, "Gosh! How lousy and shivering cold the weather. It has spoilt my day. I just hate it. Everything is against me."

The other cheered with joy, " Wow! How nice and refreshing. The rain has cleared away the haze. Look! The stars are shining brightly. What a romantic and wonderful time for love. I just like it."

Bipolar viewpoints are the makings of habitual thinking. No two persons seem to share the same viewpoint.

"Nothing is good or bad. Crooked "schizo" thinking makes it so." ( 1/2 Shakespeare)

"Psychosis" as I've discovered and experienced is nothing but my own unpretentious "crazy-making" ---a figment of the Imagination. It always had the upper hand. Its trickery and treacherous deceit are unbelievable devious. It was like a devil tempting me every moment of the day. ( I must confess that I wasn't being possessed by a spirit. No exorcist needed.) The tempting fantasy of false impulse persistently kept my "cranky steam engine" going.

I wasn't serious and disciplined like I used to be because I was, at times, trying to "think out of the box." A kind of "lateral thinking" always side-tracked and propelled my creative imagineering beyond my fondest dreams.

I was trying to be a "right brain" manager. I didn't know whether I was functioning from "right brain" or "left brain." I probably mixed up the two. That finally fixed up the bipolarity of the mind.

"Schizophrenia" has taught me a very precious lesson in life. It has given me the rare opportunity to experience a "wisdom" which would have eluded most people most of the time.

I finally grasped the essential truth that "Nothing Is Permanent." This is a basic Buddhist tenet. Socrates, Plato and the I Ching (Taoist Book of Changes) expound the same philosophy. I discovered that schizophrenia or the "mad mind" (as taught in Zen) is transitory. Its symptoms vanish into thin air if you know how to deal with it.

The secret is very simple: Positive expectation gives rise to positive outcome. The Law of Cause and Effect governs the physics and bio-chemistry of the creative mind. Deluded thinking can make "Hell out of Heaven and Heaven out of Hell." It's fundamentally making something out of nothing. Going somewhere but don't know where. Highly infatuated, I was like George, beating around the bush.

In my own experience, schizophrenia is an apparition of delusive thinking. It's mainly a manifestation of mischievous psychological steering. It's not a disease of the physical brain.

It's phantasmagoria. It's a "walking dream" state. It's fantasy of "mind shift" into pseudo-paradigm. It's simply an illusive mind-trap unperceived by the owner. It's assumption or mimic of a false imaginary libido of the id. It's totally unreal foolery. It's playful jiggling and juggling with what is real and unreal. It's disorderly thinking frolicking with fanciful utterances. It's chaotic restlessness. It's the obsession of building castles in the air. It's busy-making "much ado over nothing." It's the meandering dementia of the mind -- but not the brain.

"Psychosis" paradoxically contains a seed of positive "awakening." This "awakening" could shock the world. This awful "awakening mechanics" expresses the fundamental explosive nature of the raw Psyche. It manifests as: abrupt, awkward, crude, high-fly, excessively emotional, uncontrollable, giddy, grizzly, goofy, bemused laughter, lamentation, melancholy, chaotic, drunken, utterly unrefined, uncouth, unwholesome, idiotic, cranky, screw-loose, rude, raving madness, wild, foolish, obstinate, eccentric misbehavior, incomprehensible, repletely fused with unlimited inexplicable extras beyond normal expectation.

It generates the "twister" of the intrinsic idiosyncrasy dynamics of the "crazy-making" Psyche. It's fundamentally irrational and not easily understood by a deluded mind blinded by natural binding ignorance--like a nut in a nutcase.

It's analogically comparable to the stage of the "ugly duckling", "tadpole" or "caterpillar." It's "confrontation" between reality and unreality ( and bipolarity).

Furthermore, it's possibly a form of uncertain spiritual or artistic "metamorphosis." It's a chaotic crisis caught between evolution/devolution of the Creative Imagination. It's a time of transition, confusion and misconception.

It's best viewed as a possible "preliminary awakening" at its infancy, which has to be controlled and stabilized, and subsequently channeled to the next level of transformation. Each individual is different. If the individual doesn't wake up from the immense delusion, he/she will probably deteriorate into a downward spiral. What comes out of the whole crisis is a matter of choice.

It took me about 6 years (1976 to 1982) to solve the mystery of the mind-blowing delusion. It is now over 20 years since I've fully recovered from the so-called incurable "paranoid schizophrenia" and I'm "weller than well" to speak the truth.

Believe it or not. Paranoid Schizophrenia could be a blessing in disguise and contain a gem of "spiritual or artistic awakenings."

My experience is nothing extraordinary. I was merely overwhelmed and trapped by delusions which overpowered my common sense. I should have known earlier. The answer is always found within the problem.

When I knew how to handle my delusions, relapses and phobia--the symptoms of the "schizophrenic persona" vanished. The very roots of its existence is exterminated. It is a complete wipe out. There is nothing left to bother me. The baffling battle against the "invincible" phantom is over. It is unbelievable.

The "schizo" mind has found the "rest in peace."

"From dust to dust, and from Space..........to Space."

Amen.

Written by: JIMMY CHEAH

Tenzin K

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Re: Buddhism and mental disorders
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2012, 04:48:18 PM »
Some interview with Lama Yeshe on "A Buddhist Approach to Mental Illness"

Q: Lama Yeshe, how do you go about treating mental illness? How do you help people with mental illness?

Lama: Yes, good, wonderful. My way of treating mental illness is to try to have the person analyze the basic nature of his own problem. I try to show him the true nature of his mind so that with his own mind he can understand his own problems. If he can do that, he can solve his own problems himself. I don’t believe that I can solve his problems by simply talking to him a little. That might make him feel a bit better, but it’s very transient relief. The root of his problems reaches deep into his mind; as long as it’s there, changing circumstances will cause more problems to emerge.

My method is to have him check his own mind in order to gradually see its true nature. I’ve had the experience of giving someone a little advice and having him think, “Oh, great, my problem’s gone; Lama solved it with just a few words,” but that’s a fabrication. He’s just making it up. There’s no way you can understand your own mental problems without your becoming your own psychologist. It’s impossible.

Q: How do you help people understand their problems? How do you go about it?
Lama: I try to show them the psychological aspect of their nature, how to check their own minds. Once they know this, they can check and solve their own problems. I try to teach them an approach.

Q: What, precisely, is the method that you teach for looking at our mind’s true nature?

Lama: Basically it’s a form of checking, or analytical, knowledge-wisdom.

Q: Is it a kind of meditation?

Lama: Yes, analytical, or checking, meditation

Q: How do you do that? How do you teach somebody to check?

Lama: Let me give you an example. Say I have a good feeling about somebody. I have to ask myself, “Why do I feel good about this person? What makes me feel this way?” By investigating this I might find that it’s just because he was nice to me once, or that there’s some other similar small, illogical reason. “I love him because he did this or that.” It’s the same thing if I feel bad about someone; I don’t like him because he did such and such. But if you look more deeply to see if those good or bad qualities really exist within the person you may see that your discrimination of friend or enemy is based on very superficial, illogical reasoning. You’re basing your judgment on insignificant qualities, not on the totality of the other person’s being. You see some quality you label as good or bad, perhaps something the person said or did, and then exaggerate it out of all proportion. Then you become agitated by what you perceive. Through checking you can see that there’s no reason to discriminate in the way that you do; it only keeps you fettered, uptight and in suffering. This kind of checking analyzes not the other person but your own mind, in order to see how you feel and to determine what kind of discriminating mind makes you feel that way. This is a fundamentally different approach to analysis from the Western one, which focuses excessively on external factors and not enough on the part played by the mind in people’s experience.

Q: So you say that the problem lies more within the person and don’t agree with the point of view that it is society that makes people sick?

Lama: Yes. For example, I have met many Western people who’ve had problems with society. They’re angry with society, with their parents, with everything. When they understand the psychology I teach, they think, “Ridiculous! I’ve always blamed society, but actually the real problem has been inside of me all along.” Then they become courteous human beings, respectful of society, their parents, their teachers and all other people. You can’t blame society for our problems.

Q: How does it happen that people mix things up in this way?

Lama: It’s because they don’t know their own true nature. The environment, ideas and philosophies can be contributory causes, but primarily, problems come from one’s own mind. Of course, the way society is organized can agitate some people, but the issues are usually small. Unfortunately, people tend to exaggerate them and get upset. This is how it is with society, but anyone who thinks the world can exist without it is dreaming.

dsiluvu

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Re: Buddhism and mental disorders
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2012, 06:26:09 PM »
Here is a POV from a discussion I had with some friends... I thought made sense and I agree to it as well....

The system (universe/body etc) is incredibly complex. If someone has a particular configuration that results in mental illness, they should take whatever medication is necessary to bring the balance of 'normality'. Many Lamas have said this. From that platform, if they apply themselves and gain deep concentration, it becomes possible to reconfigure the system so that dependency is no longer required. I have seen people try to practice without medication and its really difficult. Its not black and white of course, but as long as a weak mind is in the body, it will be subject to the limitations engineered by whatever imbalances exist within the system. View and intention can have a powerful effect only if the vibration is strong enough to frequent conscious awareness, and it is concentration that amplifies these to a sufficient level. Without that, it is difficult to affect a major alteration in the system without medication. The same goes for any practitioner trying to achieve the reversals.

Sometimes certain mental illnesses may require some medication. Understanding that their condition, though we know...yes it is due to their heavy karma, still requires a bit extra dose of prescribed medicine is to me acceptable. At least to stabilize the chemicals in their system and calm their mental state down to actually get through the day would be a start before we start pouring down all those meditation techniques and visualisation on them. I don't think if someone cannot sit still for 10 mins can actually focus on any meditation. SO with proper medication to help them perhaps then we can slowly guide them on the various practices that I am sure will bless them and slowly who knows with the Buddhas blessings, their medication can be reduced :)

Studies have also shown alternatives to chemical medications like herbs such as Canabis are helpful in various therapy.

Medical cannabis refers to the parts of the herb cannabis used as a physician-recommended form of medicine or herbal therapy, or to synthetic forms of specific cannabinoids such as THC as a physician-recommended form of medicine. The Cannabis plant has a long history of use as medicine, with historical evidence dating back to 2737 BCE.[1] Cannabis is one of the 50 "fundamental" herbs of traditional Chinese medicine,[2] and is prescribed for a broad range of indications.   

A 2002 review of medical literature by Franjo Grotenhermen states that medical cannabis has established effects in the treatment of nausea, vomiting, premenstrual syndrome, unintentional weight loss, insomnia, and lack of appetite. Other "relatively well-confirmed" effects were in the treatment of "spasticity, painful conditions, especially neurogenic pain, movement disorders, asthma, [and] glaucoma".[7]

Preliminary findings indicate that cannabis-based drugs could prove useful in treating inflammatory bowel disease, migraines, fibromyalgia, and related conditions.[8]

Medical cannabis has also been found to relieve certain symptoms of multiple sclerosis[9] and spinal cord injuries[10][11][12] by exhibiting antispasmodic and muscle-relaxant properties as well as stimulating appetite.

Other studies state that cannabis or cannabinoids may be useful in treating alcohol abuse,[13] amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,[14][15] collagen-induced arthritis,[16] asthma,[17] atherosclerosis,[18] bipolar disorder,[19][20] colorectal cancer,[21] HIV-Associated Sensory Neuropathy[22] depression,[23][24][25][26] dystonia,[27] epilepsy,[28][29][30] digestive diseases,[31] gliomas,[32][33] hepatitis C,[34] Huntington's disease,[35] leukemia,[36] skin tumors,[37] methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA),[38] Parkinson's disease,[39] pruritus,[40][41] posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD),[42] psoriasis,[43] sickle-cell disease,[44] sleep apnea,[45] and anorexia nervosa.[46] Controlled research on treating Tourette syndrome with a synthetic version of tetrahydrocannabinol, (brand name Marinol) (the main psychoactive chemical found in cannabis), showed the patients taking Marinol had a beneficial response without serious adverse effects;[47][48] other studies have shown that cannabis "has no effects on tics and increases the individuals inner tension".[49] Case reports found that cannabis helped reduce tics, but validation of these results requires longer, controlled studies on larger samples.[50][51]

A study done by Craig Reinarman surveyed among why people in California used cannabis and it found many reasons why people had used cannabis. It was used to relieve pain, muscle spasms, headaches, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, depression, cramps, panic attacks, diarrhea, and itching. Others used cannabis to improve sleep, relaxation, appetite, concentration or focus, and energy. Some patients used it to prevent medication side effects, anger, involuntary movements, and seizures, while others used it as a substitute for other prescription medications and alcohol.[52]

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_cannabis

DS Star

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Re: Buddhism and mental disorders
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2012, 03:49:44 PM »
This is a very interesting thread with discussions in specific medical terminology on mental disorder as well as Buddhist 'highly technical' terminology on similar 'conditions' and how to overcome it.

All the posts in this thread gave me very extensive explanations on this subject matter; though my 'simple mind' may not be able to understand fully what were being tabled here, I do grasped that mental disorder itself is not a condition that can be easily understood by someone 'outside' unless you experience it yourself and the healing method may be varied on case to case basis.

I am on the opinion that, we can claim or argue that Buddhism on its own can heal but we should not generalise to say on every case of mental disorder, one can be healed by using Buddhist meditation method without the need of medication. We must NOT ASSUME that every individual will have the same result when treated with the same method. Just like in cooking, we may have the same ingredients and recipe but dishes cooked by different cooks may not have the same taste, even if they’re being coached by the same chef.

I witnessed how much sufferings from mental disorder bring to a family when my uncle’s wife and one of his sons succumbed to this illness. For his wife, she recovered a bit to be able to live out her life in the comfort her home but not for the son; he couldn’t live in our so-called ‘normal’ conditions despite many attempts to help him, so he now lives on the street in his own “world” and with his own “freedom”.

The working of human’s mind is not something we can understand fully unless we’re already enlightened or at the highest level of Bodhisattva path. My point is, unless we have great merits to be cared for by highly attained Buddhist masters, it is still safer to refer to medical experts for mental disorder treatments.

Ensapa gave a very good statement in the post on August 30:

Mental disease here means conditions like schizophrenia where the person is consistently engaged in some form of hallucination and is unable to tell the difference between what is real and what is not, and they actually believe what these hallucinations say. They tend to have some sort of distorted belief about reality and act upon it. In western medicine, there is no cure from schizophrenia, but it seems that Buddhism does help. Here's a story about that....a testimonial from a schizophrenic man who engaged in Buddhism and subsequently got his schizophrenia healed.

Having schizophrenia and being a mahasiddha is very different. a person suffering from schizophrenia may hear voices claiming to be buddhas or continuously see their hallucinations or even think that they are the Buddha, but they cannot perform the deeds or actions of a Buddha"


My questions to Ensapa:

1.   To say that the schizophrenic people actually believe in their hallucinations, don’t we all too? We too live in some kind of illusions determined by our own contaminated mind.

2.   You posted “a testimonial from a schizophrenic man who engaged in Buddhism and subsequently got his schizophrenia healed.” I wonder how a person claimed to be healed from Buddhism methods signed off his testimonial with an “Amen”? Very interesting isn’t it?

RedLantern

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Re: Buddhism and mental disorders
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2012, 06:56:36 PM »

Buddhism ask ask us to question the self,the personality etc.that this may become dangerous in some way for those with personality disorders.Why?In many cases a person with some form of mental suffering feels an acute sense of isolation within and without.One of the most important factor in supporting people is that unconditional acceptance.
Buddhism offers in the first place a relief and self acceptance as well as in many cases as well.Love for all kinds of people doesn't have a condition of entrance.Perhaps one may explore the various strand of Buddha's thoughts and cultures.Fine But if I don't want to construct the ego or Nirvana-will I be accepted anyway.?Will I be able to lead the

RedLantern

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Re: Buddhism and mental disorders
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2012, 07:02:56 PM »
the spiritual life? Would he have said get some treatment and first and I'll consider? No. His message was and is very simple .What do you think? What would you say if a sufferer wanted to join you on your journey?

Ensapa

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Re: Buddhism and mental disorders
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2012, 07:27:45 AM »

My questions to Ensapa:

1.   To say that the schizophrenic people actually believe in their hallucinations, don’t we all too? We too live in some kind of illusions determined by our own contaminated mind.
From a higher point of view, yes. On the secular world, we need to as this is a way for us to function and to interact with others. Algebra, which gave rise to scientific calculation is based on ASSUMPTION. Assume X to be of a certain value, then find the actual value. But surprisingly, many things such as electricity, light, air can be measured by this method. BUT since it is an ASSUMPTION, it is no better than a delusion, but one that works for everyone. As social creatures, us humans do believe in common delusions, such as the delusion that being in a r/ship equals to happiness, but when we believe in our own individual delusions that are disconnected from the social delusions, we are said to be schizophrenic. Schizophrenic people tend to believe that they are communicating with an external force that is invisible, and they act upon this, or that they are controlled by an external being (sounds familiar?) and this being tells them to do things like kill someone or eat a stone. Normal people do not.

2.   You posted “a testimonial from a schizophrenic man who engaged in Buddhism and subsequently got his schizophrenia healed.” I wonder how a person claimed to be healed from Buddhism methods signed off his testimonial with an “Amen”? Very interesting isn’t it?
Well, he is schizophrenic. It is possible that he mixed Buddhism and Christianity up. It is even more possible that he has not recovered at all from his delusions based on what he wrote. But It is interesting for him to assume that he has 'healed' Schizophrenic people have very incoherent thoughts that are not streamlined. This is one of the symptoms.

This is what Schizophrenia is, from wiki:

Quote
Schizophrenia (/?sk?ts??fr?ni?/ or /?sk?ts??fri?ni?/) is a mental disorder characterized by a breakdown of thought processes and by poor emotional responsiveness.[1] It most commonly manifests itself as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social or occupational dysfunction. The onset of symptoms typically occurs in young adulthood, with a global lifetime prevalence of about 0.3–0.7%.[2] Diagnosis is based on observed behavior and the patient's reported experiences.
Genetics, early environment, neurobiology, and psychological and social processes appear to be important contributory factors; some recreational and prescription drugs appear to cause or worsen symptoms. Current research is focused on the role of neurobiology, although no single isolated organic cause has been found. The many possible combinations of symptoms have triggered debate about whether the diagnosis represents a single disorder or a number of discrete syndromes. Despite the etymology of the term from the Greek roots skhizein (???????, "to split") and phr?n, phren- (????, ????-; "mind"), schizophrenia does not imply a "split personality", or "multiple personality disorder" (which is known these days as dissociative identity disorder)—a condition with which it is often confused in public perception.[3] Rather, the term means a "splitting of mental functions", because of the symptomatic presentation of the illness.
The mainstay of treatment is antipsychotic medication, which primarily suppresses dopamine (and sometimes serotonin) receptor activity. Psychotherapy and vocational and social rehabilitation are also important in treatment. In more serious cases—where there is risk to self and others—involuntary hospitalization may be necessary, although hospital stays are now shorter and less frequent than they once were.[4]
The disorder is thought mainly to affect cognition, but it also usually contributes to chronic problems with behavior and emotion. People with schizophrenia are likely to have additional (comorbid) conditions, including major depression and anxiety disorders; the lifetime occurrence of substance abuse is almost 50%.[5] Social problems, such as long-term unemployment, poverty and homelessness, are common. The average life expectancy of people with the disorder is 12 to 15 years less than those without, the result of increased physical health problems and a higher suicide rate (about 5%).[2]

Symptoms

A person diagnosed with schizophrenia may experience hallucinations (most reported are hearing voices), delusions (often bizarre or persecutory in nature), and disorganized thinking and speech. The latter may range from loss of train of thought, to sentences only loosely connected in meaning, to incoherence known as word salad in severe cases. Social withdrawal, sloppiness of dress and hygiene, and loss of motivation and judgment are all common in schizophrenia.[6] There is often an observable pattern of emotional difficulty, for example lack of responsiveness.[7] Impairment in social cognition is associated with schizophrenia,[8] as are symptoms of paranoia; social isolation commonly occurs.[9] Difficulties in working and long-term memory, attention, executive functioning, and speed of processing also commonly occur.[2] In one uncommon subtype, the person may be largely mute, remain motionless in bizarre postures, or exhibit purposeless agitation, all signs of catatonia.[10]
Late adolescence and early adulthood are peak periods for the onset of schizophrenia,[2] critical years in a young adult's social and vocational development.[11] In 40% of men and 23% of women diagnosed with schizophrenia, the condition manifested itself before the age of 19.[12] To minimize the developmental disruption associated with schizophrenia, much work has recently been done to identify and treat the prodromal (pre-onset) phase of the illness, which has been detected up to 30 months before the onset of symptoms.[11] Those who go on to develop schizophrenia may experience transient or self-limiting psychotic symptoms[13] and the non-specific symptoms of social withdrawal, irritability, dysphoria,[14] and clumsiness[15] during the prodromal phase.

In this example here, this person claims to suddenly thought that he could speak in ancient languages, which is a delusion, but it is a personal one, not a common one, and thus is categorized as being mad.

DS Star

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Re: Buddhism and mental disorders
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2012, 07:03:55 PM »
My questions to Ensapa:

1.   To say that the schizophrenic people actually believe in their hallucinations, don’t we all too? We too live in some kind of illusions determined by our own contaminated mind.
From a higher point of view, yes. On the secular world, we need to as this is a way for us to function and to interact with others. Algebra, which gave rise to scientific calculation is based on ASSUMPTION. Assume X to be of a certain value, then find the actual value. But surprisingly, many things such as electricity, light, air can be measured by this method. BUT since it is an ASSUMPTION, it is no better than a delusion, but one that works for everyone. As social creatures, us humans do believe in common delusions, such as the delusion that being in a r/ship equals to happiness, but when we believe in our own individual delusions that are disconnected from the social delusions, we are said to be schizophrenic. Schizophrenic people tend to believe that they are communicating with an external force that is invisible, and they act upon this, or that they are controlled by an external being (sounds familiar?) and this being tells them to do things like kill someone or eat a stone. Normal people do not.


Exactly my friend, we the so-called 'Normal' people stuck with our own social delusions; varied in seriousness; like believing that animals's main reason for existence is to be our food or in minor issue like wearing black is bad omen for Chinese though the English would think of it as formal (as in "Black Tie party").

I have not see any case of mental disorder patient eating stone before but yes I do read about their killings. Then again, the so-called 'Normal' people kills too... due to anger, greed for money, jealousy or ignorance like cult followers or hatred to a particular race/ ethnic, etc.

What is 'Normal' behaviour? I don't know if eat gold paper like in Japan or wearing, acting and drinking blood like the Vampire Nation (Vampyre Nation) in US, can be considered as normal?
http://www.vampire-nation.com/

The point is, WHAT is NORMAL and what is NOT?

We all live in our own delusions. The shared delusions are deem as normal. If you are different, you are abnormal, schizophrenia or not.

I'm not debating on medical conditions or definition for schizophrenia but to look at it with different view, the Buddhist view.


2.   You posted “a testimonial from a schizophrenic man who engaged in Buddhism and subsequently got his schizophrenia healed.” I wonder how a person claimed to be healed from Buddhism methods signed off his testimonial with an “Amen”? Very interesting isn’t it?
Well, he is schizophrenic. It is possible that he mixed Buddhism and Christianity up. It is even more possible that he has not recovered at all from his delusions based on what he wrote. But It is interesting for him to assume that he has 'healed' Schizophrenic people have very incoherent thoughts that are not streamlined. This is one of the symptoms.


Now... is he or is he not healed? Again, this is a very subjective view. My point is, don't jump into conclusion too quickly... or take anything at surface value, nothing is definite.