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).

Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby Annapurna » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:03 pm

Mothra wrote:I'm so tired of people using the "mental illness is like diabetes or cancer" argument. That analogy is not true.


Mothra, I'm a certified practitioner of traditional and alternative healing arts since over 20 years now.

Before anything manifests on a physical level there was ignorance, disharmony and suffering in the mind and "soul",= "wrong thinking", hate, fear, depression, a lack of harmony, mindfulness, depletion of strenght and abuse of the body and mind with all that entails. And it may stem from previous lives.

It would lead too far to share the complete experience, it's stuff for books.

But ill is ill.

A mentally ill person suffers just as much if not more than a physically ill person.

All illness is suffering, no matter if the level is physical or immaterial, more: Body and mind are mirrors of each other.

To disconnect them is insane, to miss their interconnectedness ignorant.

So, my approach is holistic.

Whether it is a disharmony manifesting in the body or in the mind -it springs from the same root. In the largest meaning of the word it is ignorance of what will cause suffering.

And that root is the game I pursuit.

And it may be a person's karma to be sickly..

If you need suttas, let me know.







.
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/
User avatar
Annapurna
 
Posts: 2639
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:04 pm
Location: Germany

Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby altar » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:50 pm

Annabel,
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. The Buddha gives him a teaching on anatta, and says a false path, ignorance, sensual desires, and anger are the obstacles. I'm not suggesting this is absolutely the definite approach to all people diagnosed with mental illness. But I think it is interesting.
I don't think Mothra was saying that mental illnesses don't entail suffering. I think with the article he wanted to question our notion of mental illness, and also wanted to say that the kinds of comparisons being made here between mental things and physical things like cancer or a broken limb aren't really fair. I don't think his suggestion is so much that the mind and body are mutually exclusive. I think the suggestion is more along the lines of, things like anger, aversion, paranoia, awareness, normally considered to be mental--though they may have physical causes or cause things to happen physically--are being linked unfairly with things that are physical--like a bump, an outgrowth of the body, tooth decay, tonsilitus, a fever--even though these things may have mental implications.
What I briefly got into was that these drugs are often promoted as correcting chemical imbalances in the brain. However, I read that no chemical imbalances have been observed. The drugs simply alter the way certain chemicals function, creating new imbalances, which alter behavior and states, etc. Over time they can alter brain structure. I think there are various implications one can draw from these things. I am not suggesting that chemicals can't influence the mind, or the minds changes won't make chemicals do different things.
User avatar
altar
 
Posts: 235
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 6:24 pm
Location: Monterey, MA

Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:07 pm

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
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10271
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby altar » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:46 pm

What I think is that if modern doctors heard such symptoms, it is highly probable that they would diagnose a form of mental illness and prescribe drugs for that person.
I also think that if a person came to this forum and described such things, it is probable, at least not unlikely, that it would be suggested they have a mental illness, see a doctor, or consider taking drugs.
[As to what is actually going on... whether what Tissa is going through on a more internal and causal level can be compared to someone who is experiencing similar troubles however not due to rough-goings in the path, this I don't know.]
Last edited by altar on Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:01 am, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
altar
 
Posts: 235
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 6:24 pm
Location: Monterey, MA

Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:52 pm

Hi altar,

Clearly we'll have to agree to disagree. What's in that sutta would, I think, be considered quite normal at an intensive retreat...

And people do come here and say similar things...

Metta
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10271
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:57 pm

that sutta does not describe mental illness!

and is this thread just a means to talk about psychiatry?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5743
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby catmoon » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:05 am

John Travolta. Nuff said.
User avatar
catmoon
 
Posts: 368
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:59 am

Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby Mothra » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:46 am

Is it customary to be flippant and dismissive when people discuss illicit drug use too? People are quick to condemn that, and vocal about it being a hindrance to Buddhist practice. Yet these powerful psychiatric drugs, if they are prescribed by a doctor, are not considered a relevant topic of discussion? I understand not wanting to be responsible for people in severe, violent crisis, but to the many who suffer from sorrow, fear and isolation... is it not cruel to label them ill and have them put on drugs more powerful than alcohol, nicotine, or marijuana (all of which are summarily condemned here)?
Mothra
 
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:01 am

Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:05 am

who is labelling them ill?

if someone is ill they need help. if they are having problems they need help. the type of help is going to be different!

edit = doctors are not going to prescribe anti-psychotics for someone feeling (non-clinically) depressed.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5743
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby catmoon » Tue Dec 15, 2009 6:36 am

I'm sorry, did I seem flippant? John Travolta followed the path that says psychiatric drugs are bad, and attempted to treat his son on a wholistic basis. His son had a seizure and died. Mr. Travolta suffered horribly. I do not think this is flippant.
User avatar
catmoon
 
Posts: 368
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:59 am

Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby Monkey Mind » Tue Dec 15, 2009 6:52 am

I'm sorry, did I seem flippant? John Travolta followed the path that says psychiatric drugs are bad, and attempted to treat his son on a wholistic basis. His son had a seizure and died. Mr. Travolta suffered horribly. I do not think this is flippant.


Equally flippant: "Thud". Google the Rosenhan experiment; although dated 1973, there have been equally disturbing replications in the decades since this.
"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
User avatar
Monkey Mind
 
Posts: 538
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:56 pm
Location: Pacific Northwest, USA

Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby Monkey Mind » Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:27 am

"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
User avatar
Monkey Mind
 
Posts: 538
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:56 pm
Location: Pacific Northwest, USA

Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby catmoon » Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:36 am

Monkey Mind wrote:
I'm sorry, did I seem flippant? John Travolta followed the path that says psychiatric drugs are bad, and attempted to treat his son on a wholistic basis. His son had a seizure and died. Mr. Travolta suffered horribly. I do not think this is flippant.


Equally flippant: "Thud". Google the Rosenhan experiment; although dated 1973, there have been equally disturbing replications in the decades since this.


The diagnosis problem is real. Note that the other patients had no trouble detecting the fakes. The problems are real too.
User avatar
catmoon
 
Posts: 368
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:59 am

Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby Monkey Mind » Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:36 am

"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
User avatar
Monkey Mind
 
Posts: 538
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:56 pm
Location: Pacific Northwest, USA

Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby Annapurna » Tue Dec 15, 2009 9:05 am

altar wrote:Annabel,
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. The Buddha gives him a teaching on anatta, and says a false path, ignorance, sensual desires, and anger are the obstacles. I'm not suggesting this is absolutely the definite approach to all people diagnosed with mental illness. But I think it is interesting.
I don't think Mothra was saying that mental illnesses don't entail suffering. I think with the article he wanted to question our notion of mental illness, and also wanted to say that the kinds of comparisons being made here between mental things and physical things like cancer or a broken limb aren't really fair. I don't think his suggestion is so much that the mind and body are mutually exclusive. I think the suggestion is more along the lines of, things like anger, aversion, paranoia, awareness, normally considered to be mental--though they may have physical causes or cause things to happen physically--are being linked unfairly with things that are physical--like a bump, an outgrowth of the body, tooth decay, tonsilitus, a fever--even though these things may have mental implications.
What I briefly got into was that these drugs are often promoted as correcting chemical imbalances in the brain. However, I read that no chemical imbalances have been observed. The drugs simply alter the way certain chemicals function, creating new imbalances, which alter behavior and states, etc. Over time they can alter brain structure. I think there are various implications one can draw from these things. I am not suggesting that chemicals can't influence the mind, or the minds changes won't make chemicals do different things.


Altar,

I wish members wouldn't assume what another member meant and attempt to reply for them,
even if the assumption is right, is it ultimately helpful to spoon feed somebody a reply so he doesn't have to think himself? ... :roll:

the kinds of comparisons being made here between mental things and physical things like cancer or a broken limb aren't really fair


Why not ??? What is so special about mental illness? Is it some sort of higher disease?

I explained that there is a common root for all illness, which is basically what the Buddha taught, read my post again if you missed it..

But there is only one root for ALL illness, and if that is not understood and accepted I am curious to hear which roots cause physical illness and which roots cause mental illness.

Your turn. :tongue:

I think the suggestion is more along the lines of, things like anger, aversion, paranoia, awareness, normally considered to be mental--though they may have physical causes or cause things to happen physically--are being linked unfairly with things that are physical--like a bump, an outgrowth of the body, tooth decay, tonsilitus, a fever--even though these things may have mental implications.


Do you agree that the predecessor of physical disease is mental error?

Phenomena are preceded by the heart, ruled by the heart, made of the heart. If you speak or act with a corrupted heart, then suffering follows you — as the wheel of the cart, the track of the ox that pulls it. Phenomena are preceded by the heart, ruled by the heart, made of the heart. If you speak or act with a calm, bright heart, then happiness follows you, like a shadow that never leaves.



Annabel :anjali:
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/
User avatar
Annapurna
 
Posts: 2639
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:04 pm
Location: Germany

Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby PeterB » Tue Dec 15, 2009 9:40 am

Mothra wrote:I'm so tired of people using the "mental illness is like diabetes or cancer" argument. That analogy is not true. Quotes from this article say it better than I can:

"For example, a defect in a person's visual field may be satisfactorily explained by correlating it with certain definite lesions in the nervous system. On the other hand, a person's belief -- whether this be a belief in Christianity, in Communism, or in the idea that his internal organs are "rotting" and that his body is, in fact, already "dead" -- cannot be explained by a defect or disease of the nervous system."

"Let me therefore say once more that my aim in presenting this argument was expressly to criticize and counter a prevailing contemporary tendency to deny the moral aspects of psychiatry (and psychotherapy) and to substitute for them allegedly value-free medical considerations. "

The full article is at http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Szasz/myth.htm
It was written in 1960 by a psychiatrist. The title might sound provocative but the argument is fairly plain and eloquent. There's not enough reasonable (scientologists and new age gurus don't count) argument out there about the dangers of psychiatry as it is practiced today. You have prepubescent kids being prescribed things for ADD and Autism, older kids whose grades slip and they are diagnosed ADD and medicated. Not to mention the countless prescriptions for antidepressants and antianxiety medications. It is uncompassionate to thrust the suffering and vulnerable into the hands of psychiatry so that "their disease can be cured". It should be reserved for only the most extreme cases (like the TOS talks about), which is only a (small?) part of the amount of patients being treated.

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. What has been retained from the corpus of Szasz's thought is the idea that mental illness IS indeed a myth. The vast majority of modern psychiatrists see no literal substance to the idea of a ghost in the machine who is sick.The basis of we we call mental illness is in fact the body/ mind although some practitioners would not concede the existence of a discrete entitiy called the mind. This surely is more in accord with the doctrine of the kandhas than is the idea of some kind of malfunctioning atta.
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.
PeterB
 
Posts: 3903
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby Annapurna » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:03 pm

PeterB wrote:The basis of we we call mental illness is in fact the body/ mind .......

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.


Me too.
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/
User avatar
Annapurna
 
Posts: 2639
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:04 pm
Location: Germany

Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby PeterB » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:25 pm

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 ?
PeterB
 
Posts: 3903
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby LauraJ » Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:21 pm

Peter please don't be offended. This conversation takes rebirth somewhere and somehow on a regular basis and projections always pop up.
It should be apparent that your years of work were driven by compassion and being moved to help others.
Thanks for all your efforts in many places (professional, spiritual, personal, and so on).

:anjali:
Dharma Wheel
Buddha Blog

Conquer the angry man by love. Conquer the ill-natured man by goodness. Conquer the miser with generosity. Conquer the liar with truth. -The Dhammapada
User avatar
LauraJ
 
Posts: 151
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:38 pm

Re: psychiatric drugs and the fifth precept

Postby LauraJ » Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:41 pm

I really didn't want to go here because I just did this at another forum hardly a week ago.

I have lived with mental illness (serious depression) for many years and for over a decade I worked as a professional in the field. Like Monkey Mind I've felt all sides of this issue and I can't remember a time in my life when illness wasn't lurking in some capacity. It wasn't until I became a Buddhist that I finally managed to accept the persistence and reality of illness, and that it's to be expected and it's okay. Then as a result, I adjusted my life accordingly so I work with the depression rather than against it. I can't tell you how much more reasonable life is now for me.

I just want that for others. The truth is the easiest to work with. If medications are of assistance, take them. If other avenues are more helpful, wonderful. But the last thing anyone should do, if you have a sense of personal responsibility and a feel for how illness can be, is to tell strangers with fake names on an Internet forum to stop taking their medications outside of the advice of his/her treatment provider. It's irresponsible and potentially dangerous. And you never know, someone might actually take you up on it.

I have not read a single instance here of people with mental illness being stereotyped, criticized, shamed, or any other number of insensitive things. We're just talking, and Anna's points about the root of all illnesses speaks to me. When Peter insists that people should stay with their treatment unless a mutual decision is made with the treatment provider to do otherwise, he's just being responsible and kind. Whether people's issues are light or severe, we're all people here and I would be making a lot more noise if stigmas were being perpetuated. I don't think so though.

Thanks,
Laura
Dharma Wheel
Buddha Blog

Conquer the angry man by love. Conquer the ill-natured man by goodness. Conquer the miser with generosity. Conquer the liar with truth. -The Dhammapada
User avatar
LauraJ
 
Posts: 151
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:38 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Ethical Conduct

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests