Call for Answers from Scientologists




Psychiatry_Psychology.jpgOur last roundtable incited much commentary on the anti-psychiatry movement, especially from Scientology perspectives. I find that the movement is gaining popularity (at least, online) from circles even beyond followers of the Church. The topic should be intensively discussed to understand all sides of the issue and Brain Blogger will harbor an open forum.

First, as neither a member nor scholar of this religion/organization, I turn to you for information by addressing a few questions:

  • What is the Church’s stance on modern medicine, psychiatry, and biomedical research?
  • To what do you attribute physical and mental ailments?
  • What drugs, medications, and other medical treatments are prohibited and why?
  • How should followers manage mental health issues?
  • Ivan

    [b]What is the Church’s stance on modern medicine, psychiatry, and biomedical research? [/b]
    Modern medicine is great, biomedical research is a necessity, Psychology does great contributions to society and Neurology is the true science of the brain. Psychiatry is a pseudo-science based mostly in opinion.

    Understanding Psychiatry:

    “Psychiatry is not the same as neurology; whereas neurology treats diseases that have their aetiology or their physiology known and proven by medical science, psychiatry treats mental conditions where aetiology and physiology are both unknown and unproven.â€?
    [i]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_diseases [/i]

    Psychiatry is not the same as Psychology; whereas Psychology studies the cognitive and subconscious mental processes of man with no regard towards physiology; Psychiatry studies theoretical mental disorder with the assumption that those disorders are based on physiological deficiencies.

    Psychology develops therapies aimed to improve mans cognitive processes; whereas Psychiatry develops physiological treatments to treat theoretical physiological deficiencies where aetiology and physiology are both unknown and unproven.

    The unscientific assumption that mental disorders are based on physiological deficiencies creates an arbitrary that makes any further research done by Psychiatry unscientific. You can’t base science on assumptions and arbitraries.

    Psychiatry treats theoretical mental disorders with theoretical physiological treatments.

    Examples of Psychiatric theoretical mental disorders:
    Premenstrual dysphonic disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome.
    Gender identity disorder: If you are gay you have this disorder.
    Female orgasmic disorder: Many types of conditions are under this code.
    [i]Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DSM-IV_Codes_%28alphabetical%29 [/i]
    As you see these mental disorders are actually unscientific arbitraries based solely on opiniom.

    Examples of Psychiatric theoretical physiological treatments:
    1st Example
    Electroconvulsive therapy is a barbaric treatment where brain damage is induced into the patient by passing 70 to 200 volts of electricity through your brain. The electro shock and the heat further produce more brain damage by the effect decomposition and toxicity of dead brain cells. The only benefit of Electroconvulsive therapy is that it produces memory loss and amnesia. So the patient forgets its problems. Electroconvulsive therapy has caused death, coma and disabilities on patients.
    [i]http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2431926628202445879[/i]
    [i]http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2761074183936137060[/i]
    “About 100,000 people in the USA undergo ECT every year.�
    “The most commonly accepted theory is that ECT’s mechanism of action is similar to that of antidepressant drugs and involves neurotransmitters, in particular dopaminergic, serotoninergic and noradrenergic systems.â€?
    [i]Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroconvulsive_shock_therapy%5B/i%5D

    2nd Example:
    Lobotomy is another barbaric treatment developed by Psychiatry in the name of mental health. In this procedure brain damage is induced into the patient by cutting the connections to and from the prefrontal cortex or simply destroying it.
    “Even lobotomy’s proponents admitted that only one third of the operated patients would improve, while one-third remained the same, and one-third got worst (25 to 30 % is the proportion of spontaneous improvement in many kinds of mental diseases! Thus, a large proportion of the operated patients could have recovered without the lobotomy).
    [i]http://www.cerebromente.org.br/n02/historia/lobotomy.htm[/i]

    3rd Example:
    The chemical imbalance theory, this theory alleges that serotonin deficiency in the brain causes depression. The following video explains this theory.
    [i]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WR9vtdueubc&mode=related&search=[/i]

    But this theory is not based in science and experts disagree:

    “I spent the first several years of my career doing full-time research on brain serotonin metabolism, but I never saw any convincing evidence that any psychiatric disorder, including depression, results from a deficiency of brain serotonin. In fact, we cannot measure brain serotonin levels in living human beings so there is no way to test this theory. Some neuroscientists would question whether the theory is even viable, since the brain does not function in this way, as a hydraulic system�
    [i]Stanford psychiatrist David Burns, winner of the A.E. Bennett Award given by the Society for Biological Psychiatry for his research on serotonin metabolism, when asked about the scientific status of the serotonin theory in 2003.[/i]

    “Although it is often stated with great confidence that depressed people have a serotonin or norepinephrine deficiency, the evidence actually contradicts these claims�
    [i]Professor Emeritus of Neuroscience Elliot Valenstein[/i]

    “Indeed, no abnormality of serotonin in depression has ever been demonstrated�
    [i]Psychiatrist David Healy, former secretary of the British Association for Psychopharmacology and historian of the SSRIs, in Let Them Eat Prozac (2004).[/i]

    “A sugar pill was more effective than either St. John’s Wort or the antidepressant Zoloft in providing relief to severely depressed patients, according to a new study that is unlikely to end the debate about the role of the popular supplement in treating the disorder.�
    [i]http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3076831/[/i]

    “…I wrote that Prozac was no more, and perhaps less, effective in treating major depression than prior medications…. I argued that the theories of brain functioning that led to the development of Prozac must be wrong or incomplete�
    [i]Brown University psychiatrist Peter Kramer, author of Listening to Prozac, which is often credited with popularizing SSRIs, in a clarifying letter to the New York Times in 2002.[/i]

    “Some have argued that depression may be due to a deficiency of NE [norepinephrine] or 5-HT [serotonin] because the enhancement of noradrenergicnor serotonergic neurotransmission improves the symptoms of depression. However, this is akin to saying that because a rash on one’s arm improves with the use of a steroid cream; the rash must be due to a steroid deficiency�
    [i]Psychiatrists Pedro Delgado and Francisco Moreno, in “Role of Norepinephrine in Depression,� published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry in 2000.[/i]

    We must be able to differentiate real scientific research against special interest research. The fact is that the chemical imbalance theory is unfounded because:
    1) A connection of ‘emotional states’ and neurotransmission levels have not been established.
    2) It is impossible to measure the serotonin levels in living human beings.
    3) There is no evidence that brain cells produce and then reabsorb serotonin.

    In the following video two college professor explain exactly what I’m saying in Fox News: [i]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbTqjSfMPKA&mode=related&search=[/i]

    We must understand that psychiatric drugs are a multi billion dollars industry, and that careful marketing campaigns are created to push these drugs. Stimulants are relabeled into the names anti-depressants and anti-psychotics. But these drugs are just stimulants sold under a different marketing name.

    Psychiatrists are not common people. Psychiatrists have a different point of view than the rest of society:
    “A recent survey in the UK found that 83 per cent of psychiatrists thought that ECT( Electroconvulsive therapy) was more likely to be beneficial than harmful – this figure fell to 69 per cent of mental health nurses and 14 per cent of psychologists.�
    [i]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroconvulsive_therapy[/i]

    So how come Psychiatrists have such a different point of view than Psychologists and the rest of society?
    Whereas Psychologists confronts the human mind or psyche and understand that each person behaviors is an evolution of his own personal experiences. Psychiatrists are unable to confront the human psyche; Psychiatrists don’t care about your emotional issues or traumas; Psychiatrists only deal with man as an object, a biomechanical machine incapable of controlling his mental processes.

    How else can you explain Psychiatry barbaric treatments? Like Electroconvulsive therapy, Lobotomies, strait jackets and severe drugging of patients. For them you are not a person; for them you are only a biomechanical machine. People that join the Psychiatric profession do it in order to learn to deal with man in a mechanical way.

    The real role of Psychiatry in society is that they are psyche executioners of society. Whenever a person doesn’t conform with the behavioral rules of society they can be sent to a Psychiatrist. And the Psychiatrist enforces the person to conform by the use of multiple control mechanisms; these mechanisms are drugs, electroshock, lobotomies and incarceration (When you are committed into a Psychiatric hospital against your will you are being incarcerated and your freedom is taken away from you. After this the patients are so scared that they will do anything in order to get out of that place.).
    The behavioral rules of society are clearly expressed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association.

    [b]To what do you attribute physical ailments? [/b]
    Ask your doctor. Scientologists don’t deal with physical ailments unless that Scientologist is in the medical profesion.

    [b]What is the source of metal ailments? [/b]
    Just like Sigmund Freud said; metal ailments are directly traceable to psychic trauma in earlier life or un-discharged emotional energy.

    [b]What drugs, medications, and other medical treatments are prohibited and why? [/b]
    None are prohibited, but we as Scientologist avoid putting toxins in the body, also we believe that mind altering drugs are harmful, and is simply stupid to take something that is harmful.

    [b]How should followers manage mental health issues?[/b]
    By practicing Scientology therapies and philosophies.

  • A more succinct answer:

    1) What is the Church’s stance on modern medicine, psychiatry, and biomedical research?
    No conflict with modern medicine. No problem with biomedical research. The Church of Scientology opposes psychiatry, considering it a non-scientific school of thought that does not deliver effective cures, and actually causes a lot of harm. See http://www.cchr.org to get a feel for our stance on the subject.

    2) To what do you attribute physical and mental ailments?
    Physical ailments are caused by mishaps in the process of engaging in this game called Life. On a more metaphysical note, physical ailments are probably caused largely by our own karma (although in Scientology the mechanism is not called karma per se)
    Mental ailments are caused by our non-optimum recovery from traumatic events, from non-optimum takeaways after moments of turmoil, from incidents unresolved. Dianetics (http://www.dianetics.org) is a cathartic type of counseling that frees mental energy by processing the negative emotional charge stuck in our subconscious. Scientology counseling is different, and it works on developing stronger spiritual stamina to face life’s blows unhindered, and to steer one’s life away from such pain and towards more happiness.

    2) What drugs, medications, and other medical treatments are prohibited and why?
    No drugs are “prohibited,” but there is a strong recommendation against psychiatry’s new breed of antidepressants (SSRIs, for example.) Also, in order for Scientology counseling to happen unencumbered by external influence, a person should not consume drugs of any kind within 24 hours prior to a Scientology counseling session.

    3) How should followers manage mental health issues?
    Obviously a Scientologist would deal with mental health issues using the processes developed by L.Ron Hubbard. And of course we’d recommend such processes to the public. However, even Mr. Hubbard himself recommended such things as proper attention to nutrition (many so called depressives are actually anemic, for example), to exercise (it’s been proven that exercise releases endorphins and serotonin), to a change of environment, and to becoming more causative over relationships in one’s life. Other elements, such as what could be perhaps best translated as “the power of positive thinking” and “the power of prayer” (although in Scientology different terms are used to describe such things) are also present in Scientology teachings.

    I hope this addresses your questions. Feel free to visit http://www.liveandgrow.org for additional info.

    best,
    Greg
    Scientologist and proud of it
    http://liveandgrow.org/

  • Serenity

    What is the Church’s stance on modern medicine, psychiatry, and biomedical research?

    Speaking for myself as a Scientologist and my understandings, not on behalf of the Church:

    Modern medicine: When someone is physically ill, they go to a nutritionist or a doctor – someone with proven results in making the body well without causing more problems.
    Psychiatry: Should stick to the care and feeding of the insane and do so humanely. Instead, in the name of “help”, they abuse their patients with drugs, restraints, surgery rape and torture, and make everyday folks into mental patients by classifying life problems as mental disorder or disease. They then introduce toxic chemicals, hypnotism and other therapies that actually drive their patients insane. If they used humane, proven methods of helping the insane, I wouldn’t object. Nutrition based alternative mental health, in conjunction with Neuroscience is likely going to take over this field.
    Bio-medical research: As long as they stick to the purely physical, then I have no problem with them. However, there is an exact point where science ends and religion begins, and medicine should not overstep that boundary by pretending to be scientific about things which they have no conclusive proof.

    To what do you attribute physical and mental ailments?

    Mental ailments: Spiritual Trauma. However, some physical illnesses can cause mental symptoms.

    Physical ailments: Ask a competent doctor or nutritionist. Physical ailments are often precipitated by spiritual trauma, but the physical must be addressed first by physical means, and the mental second by spiritual means.

    What drugs, medications, and other medical treatments are prohibited and why?

    Psychiatric treatment, in its current form, is prohibited as it is damaging to the body and abusive to the spirit.

    We have no beef with proven medical cures or nutritional treatments when resolving physical illness.

    How should followers manage mental health issues?

    Depends on which definition of “mental health issues” you’re using and the severity. For example, I have seen people who are simply being negatively affected by relationships that are out of their control labelled as “bi-polar” or “manic-depressive” and drugged with anti-psychotics. Once they’re off the drugs and resolve the negative relationship, the rollercoaster life they’ve been leading evens out. I’ve seen a 5 year old be forced to sit still for 3 hours straight in class, and then be labelled “ADHD” and drugged into a stupor with Ritalin because he simply could not sit still. It is just unnatural to demand that of a child of that age. Other children on Ritalin who should be interested and attentive to their lessons, I’ve seen their fidgets disappear totally by finding out what they didn’t understand and resolving it. They then become interested in the subject matter instead of simply bored with it. Others with severe discipline problems that have been labeled as “ADD”, “ODD” or “ADHD” I’ve seen resolve with the same methods, or by simply expelling them from the class they’re disrupting and only allowing them to return when they stop interefering with the group or hurting others. When given drugs and told that they are victims of their chemical imbalances, they use that to justify their intent to harm.

    Someone who is “insane” we find has already given up on life. We don’t deal with that. However, that person does not deserve to be abused as they are by current psychiatric drugs and methods. They do need a SAFE space to be in, and MEDICAL (not psychiatric) treatment for proven physical illnesses.

  • Terry Olsen

    I am an individual and do not represent the Church, or any organization. My answers to some of these and related questions are at http://www.internet-encyclopedia.org/index.php/User:Terryeo, written as infomation and referenced.

  • Marshall

    You can read what people say about Scientology. Doing so might leave you confused. Scientologists love it, and some like to bad mouth it. There are plenty of opinions out there. Who should you listen to?

    The only way to really know is to find out for yourself. Why trust what somebody else claims to know? If you can’t trust your own judgment, you’re screwed. But give yourself the benefit of correct information.

    Read what Hubbard actually wrote and decide for yourself how you feel about it. Test the hell out of it. Forget about peer pressure or any of that. Test every word Hubbard wrote against you own life and see if it helps.

    The crap on the internet may or may not be what Hubbard actually wrote. Safer to go to the library and check out a book by Hubbard. If it doesn’t change your life for the better, you’re not out any money. But if you hit pay dirt, you can give yourself a pat on the back for being the kind of person who’s brave enough to look around and think for themselves.

  • Scientologists aren’t the only ones concerned about the risks involved in psychiatric drugs…
    There are some good doctors and others who share this concern –

    http://discoverandrecover.wordpress.com/warning/

    Hopefully, in the not-so-distant future, we will wake up to a world that finally realizes that these drugs cause much more harm than good, in their long-term use, and/or as an only course of “treatment.”

    Duane Sherry, M.S., CRC-R

  • Gassa

    Scientologist hate psychiatrists and psychiatry because those were things that the founder L. Ron Hubbard hated.

    They’re perfectly fine with neurologists prescribing the “psychiatric” drugs.

    And if you want to read Scientology papers, they’re available online from the Swedish government. There are also some audio and video files showing L.Ron Hubbard discussing Xenu/Xemu — he couldn’t remember the name of the guy he invented.

Shaheen E Lakhan, MD, PhD, MEd, MS

Shaheen E Lakhan, MD, PhD, MEd, MS, is a board-certified neurologist, pain medicine specialist, medical educator, and executive director of the Global Neuroscience Initiative Foundation (GNIF). He is a published scholar in biomarkers, biotechnology, education technology, and neurology. He serves on the editorial board of several scholarly publications and has been honored by the U.S. President and Congress.
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