psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Monkey Mind
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Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby Monkey Mind » Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:00 pm

PeterB wrote:Szasz frankly is old hat, during my psychiatric training he was very influential but his whole view of the world has been superceded by social change and by a greater understanding of the brain including by advances in mapping the functions of the brain through imaging techniques.


I am at a conference of the great thinkers of psychology. Thomas Szasz, MD, spoke (or was supposed to, he was snowed in. He forwarded his notes though, which I find fascinating.) Using the latest in brain imaging studies and social psychology advancements, he still claims that mental illness does not exist.

I am not anti-psychiatry, I know many are helped by short-term use of medications. Somewhere early on in this thread, a message was given: "You are not allowed to question the utility of psychiatric medications, because then the streets would run wild with dangerous psychotics." I say hog-wash, red herring argument. Then those who challenge the utility of psychiatric medications were compared to Scientiologists. Also red herring argument. If we are going to have a real discussion about whether psychiatric medications are consistent with or in violation of the 5th precept, then we need to ignore some of this extraneous noise. No one was debating whether or not psychiatry is a contradiction with right livelihood, but I can see the parallels.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710

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Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby LauraJ » Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:26 pm

I agree about the extraneous noise. My previous post was an attempt to bring the question down to a practical level, not some worst-case-scenario stuff. Nevertheless, I can completely see where Peter got offended. He and his cohorts were being stereotyped and projected upon.

:anjali:
Last edited by LauraJ on Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby PeterB » Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:36 pm

Monkey Mind wrote:
PeterB wrote:Szasz frankly is old hat, during my psychiatric training he was very influential but his whole view of the world has been superceded by social change and by a greater understanding of the brain including by advances in mapping the functions of the brain through imaging techniques.


I am at a conference of the great thinkers of psychology. Thomas Szasz, MD, spoke (or was supposed to, he was snowed in. He forwarded his notes though, which I find fascinating.) Using the latest in brain imaging studies and social psychology advancements, he still claims that mental illness does not exist.

I am not anti-psychiatry, I know many are helped by short-term use of medications. Somewhere early on in this thread, a message was given: "You are not allowed to question the utility of psychiatric medications, because then the streets would run wild with dangerous psychotics." I say hog-wash, red herring argument. Then those who challenge the utility of psychiatric medications were compared to Scientiologists. Also red herring argument. If we are going to have a real discussion about whether psychiatric medications are consistent with or in violation of the 5th precept, then we need to ignore some of this extraneous noise. No one was debating whether or not psychiatry is a contradiction with right livelihood, but I can see the parallels.


And I would largely agree with him,that mental illness is a social construct. When I said that it was old hat I meant that his ideas are now mainstream, at least in Europe.
I would rather move to a positive discussion, but before moving on I would just say that I think that there was a definite position in this thread being advocated that psychiatry is somehow not in keeping with Right Livelihood, which is to say the least a ridiculous and unsupportable generalisation.

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Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby LauraJ » Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:52 pm

Yes, I don't know if people realize this. But being dismissive about the impact that this sort of suffering can have on someone's life is a form of shaming, or at least definitely moving into that general area.

And to suggest that taking necessary medications as prescribed is a breach of lay precepts is just ridiculous and offensive to those who take them and need them. For many people practicing Buddhism is a lot more within reach if the head is more clear. I think this whole idea is insensitive. Let's not blame people who live with mental illness for their symptoms. Thanks.
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Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby LauraJ » Tue Dec 15, 2009 5:53 pm

Since I have no interest in puffing my ego and people seem to listen to a patient more than a provider, that's the voice I've chosen.
As long as it gets heard I don't care which avenue I need to take.

:anjali:
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Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby Annapurna » Tue Dec 15, 2009 6:01 pm

PeterB wrote:Talking of which Anna , what would you recommend for bronchitis ? Just to explain I have it at the moment and wondered what natural remedies you could suggest ?


Peter, I'm almost afraid to say it, perhaps you know it from ads on TV, but it was given to me by a collague when I was seriously ill with bronchitis, and was initially biased against it: :roll:

"Ricola, Kraeuterzucker," a mix of herbs effective against caugh..

http://www.google.de/url?sa=t&source=we ... 4WcdwrGb2Q

* Elder (Sambucus nigra)
* Horehound (Marrubium vulgare)
* Mallow (Malva silvestris)
* Peppermint (Mentha × piperita)
* Sage (Salvia officinalis)
* Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
* Cowslip (Primula veris)
* Burnet (Pimpinella saxifraga)
* Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
* Marsh Mallow (Althaea officinalis)
* Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris)
* Speedwell, aka Veronica (Veronica officinalis)
* Plantain (Plantago lanceolata)
* Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
* Lemon Balm, aka Lemon Mint, Melissa (Melissa officinalis)
* "Orange-Mint" (Mentha citrata)


I had instant relief, -and I was so bad off, I went to the pharmacy with a bottle of water and repeatedly drank from it while waiting in line to keep the caughing at bay...that bad.

If you can get them by you, I would give it a try.

What 's also not bad are herbal teas pharmacies offer (here), but Ricola tastes soooo nice as well. :lol:

I hope you have a swift recovery! :group:
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby PeterB » Tue Dec 15, 2009 6:33 pm

Thank you Anna I will give it a try.

:anjali:

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Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby Mothra » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:03 pm

Monkey Mind wrote:I am not anti-psychiatry, I know many are helped by short-term use of medications. Somewhere early on in this thread, a message was given: "You are not allowed to question the utility of psychiatric medications, because then the streets would run wild with dangerous psychotics." I say hog-wash, red herring argument. Then those who challenge the utility of psychiatric medications were compared to Scientiologists. Also red herring argument. If we are going to have a real discussion about whether psychiatric medications are consistent with or in violation of the 5th precept, then we need to ignore some of this extraneous noise. No one was debating whether or not psychiatry is a contradiction with right livelihood, but I can see the parallels.


Thank you for pointing that out.

PeterB wrote:I have no brief btw to defend psychiatry, but we should be careful not to stereotype a whole profession as robotic purveyors of poison on the strenght of bad experiences of a few. Many of my colleagues are conscientious and dedicated to lessening the suffering of their fellow man. I find a tarring of them with a few dismissive epithets to be deeply offensive.


I'm sorry if I offended you. I do believe that the majority of psychiatrists are decent people with good intentions. My reliance on Szasz's argument is because I have trouble articulating in the face of an overwhelmingly prevailing sentiment that psychiatry is not harmful to the majority of patients, and exceptions are a rarity, or merely exaggerated propaganda. When I was a teenager seeking help, no one told me about the potential harm medications could do, except in a nice and clean side effect list which did not prepare me for the horrors I experienced on them.

I cannot describe the mania and desperation I experienced on Effexor and Xanax, which I was put on after a suicide attempt on Paxil. I had thoughts constantly of suicide, homicide, rape, and grandiose imaginings which the memory of still cause me deep shame and embarrassment to this day. I could not stop and concentrate enough to even read, and spent days just constantly walking around the city. My entire personality and cognition was warped in a way I can't adequately describe and its left me deeply shaken even years later.

I don't presume to know what is best for people, but I do feel the "other side" should be heard, and it angers me when they are all dismissed as crazy scientologists, or irresponsible people who are not reasonable. Annabel, I don't know how to answer you as you seem to think I'm belittling the suffering of the mentally ill and denying the link between mind and body, neither of which are true. Anyway, I don't think much good has come from this discussion and it may soon get locked like altar's other thread. I wish people would listen and take to heart the stories of people who've experienced harm on psyche medications, anecdotes though they are. Some will say "it's only your experience and shouldn't be applied to everyone", well for years I dwelt in shame and silence thinking it WAS just me and no one else was experiencing these things. However on the internet there ARE many people with stories similar to my own, for example in the links altar posted.

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Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby Annapurna » Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:35 am

Mothra,

I'm truly sorry to hear of your bad experience and hope that you now have found a harbour of peace in the dhamma, and I wish you that you may never be ill again!

It appears as if your medication wasn't correct for you..

It is very important to describe such reactions to the doctors so he can adapt the drugs. Did you?

I also find its unnecessary suffering to live in shame for years, for thoughts when I was ill or medicated....you're not fully responsible!

It must have been horrible, but luckily, it is over, and you've found the dhamma.

Annabel, I don't know how to answer you as you seem to think I'm belittling the suffering of the mentally ill and denying the link between mind and body, neither of which are true.


I didn't think you were belittling the suffering of the mentally ill, I didn't understand this:
I'm so tired of people using the "mental illness is like diabetes or cancer" argument. That analogy is not true.


All I am saying is that what I said above about the common root.

I hope you understand me better now, and I certainly understand you better now.

As I said before I wish you good health and the cessation of suffering. May those ill days be over forever.

:anjali:

Annabel
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby Mothra » Wed Dec 16, 2009 6:57 pm

Annabel wrote:
Annabel, I don't know how to answer you as you seem to think I'm belittling the suffering of the mentally ill and denying the link between mind and body, neither of which are true.


I didn't think you were belittling the suffering of the mentally ill, I didn't understand this:
I'm so tired of people using the "mental illness is like diabetes or cancer" argument. That analogy is not true.


All I am saying is that what I said above about the common root.

I hope you understand me better now, and I certainly understand you better now.

As I said before I wish you good health and the cessation of suffering. May those ill days be over forever.

:anjali:

Annabel


Thank you and I'm sorry for getting defensive. Every time I would try and talk to a nurse or doctor about why I didn't want to start taking medications, nearly all would say to me, "If you had diabetes, would you refuse insulin?" So when someone says that now I feel the urge to argue against it, because I felt powerless to do so when I was younger. Clearly I have very strong attachments to my feelings still and this is not in keeping with the Dhamma.

Just want to say finally that I don't think people taking medications should be shamed and chastised, nor doctors vilified. Having taken several though I would certainly label them intoxicating; what I took was far more powerful than alcohol and physically addictive (try reading some comments here http://www.doctorslounge.com/psychiatry ... -1013.html). So I only wish for people to be informed about what alternatives exist (hearing the Dhamma might be one aid), and hopefully exhaust them all before seeking psychiatric treatment as a last resort. Of course acute crisis is another matter.
Last edited by Mothra on Wed Dec 16, 2009 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby altar » Wed Dec 16, 2009 7:42 pm

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Altar,
altar wrote: I think this is an interesting sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
In it there is a monk, Tissa, who seems to be experiencing what is often called mental illness. ...

Do you really take this description to be "mental illness"? It seems like normal problems-on-the-path to me...
On that occasion Ven. Tissa, the Blessed One's paternal cousin, told a large number of monks, "Friends, it's as if my body is drugged. I've lost my bearings. Things aren't clear to me. My mind keeps being overwhelmed with sloth & torpor. I lead the holy life dissatisfied. I have uncertainty about the teachings."

Metta
Mike


I just read some suttas (the satipatthana section in the samyutta nikaya" and found that Tissa's description is something of a stock phrase, used also when Ananda finds out that Sariputta passed away. So, this makes my view a little more doubtful, and I don't know if it's just because of my initial reading of it, but I still retain some of my old perspective.
zack

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Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby Annapurna » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:13 pm

Mothra wrote:
Annabel wrote:
Annabel, I don't know how to answer you as you seem to think I'm belittling the suffering of the mentally ill and denying the link between mind and body, neither of which are true.


I didn't think you were belittling the suffering of the mentally ill, I didn't understand this:
I'm so tired of people using the "mental illness is like diabetes or cancer" argument. That analogy is not true.


All I am saying is that what I said above about the common root.

I hope you understand me better now, and I certainly understand you better now.

As I said before I wish you good health and the cessation of suffering. May those ill days be over forever.

:anjali:

Annabel


Thank you and I'm sorry for getting defensive. Every time I would try and talk to a nurse or doctor about why I didn't want to start taking medications, nearly all would say to me, "If you had diabetes, would you refuse insulin?" So when someone says that now I feel the urge to argue against it, because I felt powerless to do so when I was younger. Clearly I have very strong attachments to my feelings still and this is not in keeping with the Dhamma.

Just want to say finally that I don't think people taking medications should be shamed and chastised, nor doctors vilified. Having taken several though I would certainly label them intoxicating; what I took was far more powerful than alcohol and physically addictive (try reading some comments here http://www.doctorslounge.com/psychiatry ... -1013.html). So I only wish for people to be informed about what alternatives exist (hearing the Dhamma might be one aid), and hopefully exhaust them all before seeking psychiatric treatment as a last resort. Of course acute crisis is another matter.


Dear Mothra,the more you share, the better I can understand why you said what you said
Please know that you don't have to apologize for anything!

I totally agree with your notion that all other alternatives should be exhausted before turning to psychopharmaca as a last resort.

Let me share something.

I was given Tavor (Lorazepam) as a routine sleeping pill all patients got so the nightt nurse could be as loud at night as she felt like, for instance walking around with wooden clogs instead of soft sandals.

Nobody could sleep when she walked through the corridor. So people were given narcotics....

I came out addicted to Tavor.

I just couldn't sleep without Tavor anymore. I was 20. I got a prescription for Tavor.

4 weeks later I had gathered enough strenght to battle the addiction. I stopped taking it..

I didn't sleep for 2 days, 2 nights,and another day.

I was incredibly desperate. I almost took Tavor again, but after holding it in my hand for half an hour, I took 3 pills of valerian instead. I slept like a baby, and woke up sooo happy.

I've since studied herbs and other methods in depth...

So I only wish for people to be informed about what alternatives exist (hearing the Dhamma might be one aid)


Me too. :hug:

Best wishes,

Annabel
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby Alex123 » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:44 pm

I recommend reading
http://www.ssristories.com/index.php
About anti-depressants causing (or being a condition for) school shooting, suicide, violence, psychosis and others.
On December 15, 2010, PLoS Medicine released a study which showed that, in regard to prescription medications and violence, the FDA had received the most reports of violence from the SSRI & SNRI antidepressants (except for Chantix, the smoking cessation drug.) The study listed Prozac as the number 2 drug for violence, and Paxil as number 3.
http://www.ssristories.com/index.html#FromIndex


I wonder if being a doctor who prescribes drugs that can be a condition for violence, suicide, psychosis, school shootings, etc - right livelihood at all.
"dust to dust...."

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Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby Euclid » Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:03 pm

I'm skeptical. Is it any surprise that people on antidepressants are violent? It's like saying pain killers cause pain, because everybody who takes painkillers are suffering from pain.

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Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby Alex123 » Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:10 pm

Euclid wrote:I'm skeptical. Is it any surprise that people on antidepressants are violent? It's like saying pain killers cause pain, because everybody who takes painkillers are suffering from pain.



Why do these (very unprofitable and uncomfortable warnings find their way into FDA), if they are not linked? I don't think that these warnings are totally false, otherwise they wouldn't be added (as it would hurt sales). If it could be successfully proven that these drugs don't have potential to cause murder, violence, etc, then these statements would not be added for financial reasons. So there are some reasons why these warnings are added. It seems that it is possible to use the medication as defense for bad actions (http://www.ssristories.com/index.php?p=won) so this means that there is link (that could be proven in courts) between anti-depressants and violence.


FDA Public Health Advisory

On March 22, 2004 the FDA published a Public Health Advisory that reiterates several of these side effects and states (in part) "Anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, akathisia (severe restlessness), hypomania, and mania have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and non-psychiatric." (Click Links button at bottom of this page for a direct link to this FDA Warning.)

On September 14, 2004 the FDA added a Black Box Warning in regard to antidepressants & suicidality in those under age 18.

On September 14, 2004 the FDA mandated that pharmacies provide to all parents or guardians for those younger than 18 an Antidepressant Patient Medication Guide. This guide reads (in part) "Call healthcare provider right away if you or your family member has any of the following symptoms: Acting aggressive, being angry, or violent & acting on dangerous impulses." This Antidepressant Patient Medication Guide also states "Never stop an antidepressant medicine without first talking to a healthcare provider. Stopping an antidepressant medicine suddenly can cause other symptoms." (Click Links button at bottom of this page for a direct link to this FDA Antidepressant Guide.)

On December 13, 2006, the Black Box Warning for suicidality was updated to include those under age 25. The Black Box Warning is included in the insert to the drugs and in the Physicians' Desk reference.

http://www.ssristories.com/index.html#FromStory




"Professor Healy stated clearly that in a small but significant minority of patients using SSRIs can give rise to violent behavior including self-harm, suicide and violence to others, even up to killing them. He said that this was independent of any condition the patient might have, as the same symptomatology had been observed in healthy volunteers."
http://www.ssristories.com/show.php?item=4137
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Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby Jhana4 » Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:58 pm

The word chosen for the translation is "intoxicants". Psychiatric drugs don't intoxicate people, it helps them cope with illness.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby Alex123 » Sun Feb 06, 2011 11:04 pm

Jhana4 wrote:The word chosen for the translation is "intoxicants". Psychiatric drugs don't intoxicate people, it helps them cope with illness.


Psychiatric drugs sometimes can drug a person so much, that they end up killing others and/or themselves.


"Professor Healy stated clearly that in a small but significant minority of patients using SSRIs can give rise to violent behavior including self-harm, suicide and violence to others, even up to killing them. He said that this was independent of any condition the patient might have, as the same symptomatology had been observed in healthy volunteers."

"Dr Healy criticized the existing warnings for patients, as they give the impression that such feelings and behaviours are part of the patient’s complaint, and because they are not strong enough. ”The risk arises entirely from the treatment,” he said.
http://www.ssristories.com/show.php?item=4137

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Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:06 am

Alex123 wrote:
Jhana4 wrote:The word chosen for the translation is "intoxicants". Psychiatric drugs don't intoxicate people, it helps them cope with illness.


Psychiatric drugs sometimes can drug a person so much, that they end up killing others and/or themselves.
Sometimes, but without such medications the likelihood of death and incapacitation is far greater.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby Alex123 » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:34 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:
Jhana4 wrote:The word chosen for the translation is "intoxicants". Psychiatric drugs don't intoxicate people, it helps them cope with illness.


Psychiatric drugs sometimes can drug a person so much, that they end up killing others and/or themselves.
Sometimes, but without such medications the likelihood of death and incapacitation is far greater.


It seems to me that CBT + exercise is much safer alternative, at least for some. Plus some Dhamma knowledge would really help. If a person has an emotional problem, I don't think that drugging them to the vegetable-state (where they can't do bad thing, but neither can they do good things) is such a good thing. Much better to try to help them develop some wisdom.

Some studies seem to suggest that anti-depressants are not much better than placebo, but have serious side effects as I've quoted above.
"dust to dust...."

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Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:49 am

Alex123 wrote:It seems to me that CBT + exercise is much safer alternative, at least for some. Plus some Dhamma knowledge would really help. If a person has an emotional problem, I don't think that drugging them to the vegetable-state (where they can't do bad thing, but neither can they do good things) is such a good thing. Much better to try to help them develop some wisdom.

Some studies seem to suggest that anti-depressants are not much better than placebo, but have serious side effects as I've quoted above.
In other words, you really do not know what you are talking about.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson


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