Psychiatry Turns On to Drugs Psychiatry, a branch of medical science that tries to correct

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Psychiatry Turns On to Drugs ============================ Psychiatry, a branch of medical science that tries to correct mental disorders is in the process of changing the way it treats its patients. Previously, patients who had undergone psychoanalysis would relate their past experiences so that the doctor could try and understand and treat the particular mental disorder. Today, with new technological advances in measuring brain activity, psychiatry is hoping that drugs may also help in psychotherapy (according to Ron Grossman, Chicago Tribune, 5/10/87, "Dialogue vs. Drugs"). According to Dr. Herbert Pardes, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health in the late '70s says, "This is a time of enormous research excitement. Almost weekly our laboratories are finding clues to diseases, like schizophrenia, that until now have proven difficult to understand." The new discoveries, put into practice, means that psychiatrists are claiming to be able to help solve mental stress and depression through a treatment of drug therapy. Their theory holds that mental disorders which result in symptoms of lack of energy, lack of sexual desire, etc., stem from chemical deficiency. The Vedas also recognize the problem of mental stress and anxiety but it recommends that the root problem is a lack of knowledge about the identity of the living being. When the living being forgets that he is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, he takes birth in this material universe and tries hard to enjoy life without following the laws of God. The result is what psychiatrists could call schizophrenia, amnesia, manic- depression and paranoia. Schizophrenia because the living being is at heart an eternal servant of God. But due to his desire to forget God, being affected by lust and envy, he acts as if haunted and possessed by ghosts. Amnesia affects the soul's pure consciousness because one cannot remember his eternal identity as servant of the Lord until he voluntarily agrees to surrender all ambition for material gain. Manic-depression is caused by the temporary happiness of material acquisition such as the attainment of ones material desires and the consequent loss of that which is enjoyable. Paranoia is due to our false acceptance of an identity which is godless and our desire to maintain and protect that identity. Other phobias and manias all have their root in our present lack of Krishna consciousness. Western experimental sciences are based on the theory that scientific discoveries will ultimately lead to the treatment of all mankind's maladies. This recent euphoria in the psychiatric field is due to another theory that mental health is caused by a biological deficiency only rather than a lack of God consciousness as suggested by Vedic philosophy. The announcement of scientific breakthrough after breakthrough suggest that there is definite progress along the path of curing all types of ailments. Dr. Roy Menninger, president of the Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas, recalls when the Nazis forced many European analysts to seek refuge in America, they bought with them a theory that suddenly made sense out of all sorts of 'strange behavior'. He says, "The unconscious mind, the role of sexuality in personality formation, and other of Freud's ideas seemed a key to unlocking lots of psychiatric puzzles. To my generation, that seemed tremendous." "As a treatment method, psychoanalysis was the only game in town" during the first two decades after World War II notes Dr. Jerrold Maxmen, associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University and author of "The New Psychiatrists". "So we became intoxicated with its powers to solve social problems and help us understand the arts." During the late '60s, when the first generation of mood-altering drugs impressed psychiatrists, they thought it was time to close the doors of the asylums and return patients to their communities. Says Maxmen, "Once again, it was a case of psychiatrists saying: 'We can do everything.'" The result of this experiment was that some big-city neighborhoods, like Chicago's Uptown became neighborhood mental wards. American Psychiatric Association's medical director, Dr. Melvin Sabshin says, "There is no doubt about our culpability. The problem of the homeless came about partially because psychiatry's over-optimism in the '60s coincided with the civil libertarians' campaign to correct the iniquities of the state asylums. Problem is, now there are lots of people out there living in the streets and dying with their rights on." Because of psychiatry's unfulfilled promises to cure man's mental condition, by the end of the '70s the proportion of medical graduates entering psychiatry had fallen from 10 to about 2 or 3 percent. Today, the new optimism over drug therapy is tempered with concern by Dr. Menninger. Where yesterday's analysts would try and consult at length about a patients past psychological difficulties, today's psychological prescription calls for a medical cure. He therefore wonders, "My own fear is that we're going to turn out a whole generation of psychiatrists who are up to date on the lab sciences, but can't even talk to a human being." Dr. Maxmen's book, "The New Psychiatrists," echos the fact that his younger colleagues are sometimes too quick to take out their prescription pads. The new trend is to fit all mental illness into a pharmacological model. This medical optimism is another feature of the illusory energy called maya. Even the psychiatrists, who are supposed to bring a patient to the platform of mental normalcy, are also suffering from various degrees of mental deficiencies caused by the modes of material nature. The effect of these modes of material nature is described by Shrila Prabhupada (Bg 3.33 Purport): Unless one is situated on the transcendental platform of Krishna consciousness, he cannot get free from the influence of the modes of material nature, as it is confirmed by the Lord in the Seventh Chapter (7.14). Therefore, even for the most highly educated person on the mundane plane, it is impossible to get out of the entanglement of maya simply by theoretical knowledge, or by separating the soul from the body. There are many so-called spiritualists who outwardly pose to be advanced in the science, but inwardly or privately are completely under the particular modes of nature which they are unable to surpass. Academically, one may be very learned, but because of his long association with material nature, he is in bondage. Krishna consciousness helps one to get out of the material entanglement.... As described here, men such as psychiatrists are undoubtedly very academically learned on the mundane platform of scientific knowledge. There are even spiritually advanced yogis, swamis and religious men of all descriptions who are also very advanced in mundane education. But until one comes to realize that he is an eternal servant of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and acts to please the Lord by the process of devotional service, he cannot come out of the influence of the three modes of material nature. The attempt to deliver patients from mental suffering without teaching them about their relationship with Krishna, is ultimately artificial and cannot do any lasting good. The material modes of goodness, ignorance and passion influence the activities of the conditioned souls who are none other than those souls who have taken birth in this material world. It is the attempt of the Hare Krishna movement to take people of the world who are mostly infected by the material mode of ignorance (characterized by excessive sleep, madness, illusion and intoxication) and elevate them through the mode of passion (characterized by the intense desire for sensual gratification), goodness (characterized by the attachment to mundane morality and mundane intellectualism), and up to the transcendental plane of direct association with the Supreme Lord. Only when one is in direct contact with the Lord through loving devotional service, he transcends the effects of the ailments caused by the three modes of nature which results in the mental disorders aforementioned. The process of Krishna consciousness is summarized as engaging the diseased person in the devotional service of the Lord under the direct supervision of an expert spiritual master. The spiritual master teaches the student how to remember and worship the Lord 24 hours a day by the process of dovetailing all of ones activities in Krishna consciousness. Krishna consciousness is not an artificial adjustment on the mind; rather it is the original condition of the living entity whose consciousness, when contaminated by material desires, becomes covered over with a false identification with his material body. Everyone, without exception, has an eternal relationship with the Lord in the mode of service. By the process of Krishna consciousness, which is chanting the holy names of the Lord like: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare; the form, instructions, pastimes, associates, paraphernalia, etc., of the Lord are gradually revealed to him in the heart by spiritual realization. It is said in the Vedic literature that the mind is just like boat on the water that is tossed about by strong wind and waves without any resting place. However, when one focuses the mind on the lotus feet of Krishna by engaging in devotional service, the mind becomes anchored and is no longer able to be tossed about by the various forces of mental speculation. Prabhupada showed directly how the process of Krishna consciousness worked even amongst the hippies and bohemians of the '60s. Practically they were all infected with the modes of ignorance, but by the process of Krishna consciousness, they began to make progress in spiritual life having renounced the sinful habits of illicit sex life, taking intoxication, eating animal flesh and gambling and thus were able to advance in Krishna consciousness. When a person cannot find any meaning or enjoyment in life due to his attachment to illusion by thinking himself as the material body, sometimes he becomes addicted to taking intoxication in the form of drugs and alcohol and therefore finds a little temporary relief from the stress and anxiety of material life. However the quick fix of prescription or illicit drugs cannot do any lasting good for the welfare of the conditioned soul. The Vedic literature suggests that sober men should avoid any artificial means of relief from mental anxieties and take directly to the real process of devotional service to the Supreme Lord. The process of taking drugs to relieve temporarily one of mental anxiety is not the ultimate cure for the problem of man's mental distresses, whereas purification of the mind of all dirty things involves redirecting its energies toward its personal creator, Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.


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