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March 10, 2008


David Strumfels

I half agree with Levine (well, more than half). There really are disorders of the brain (schizophrenia, b-polar disorder, certain depression and anxiety disorders. This would only make sense: the brain is an organ, and can become diseased like any other organ. The half+ I agree with him is that (1), depression and anxiety can be natural reactions to many situations (my marriage was one), and people can suffer because of incorrect ideas they have about themselves (again, I spent most of my life thinking there was something terribly wrong with me simply because I was different from most people in a variety of ways; something my marriage only exasperated). I think this is why therapies such as cognitive-behavior and even talking therapies help as often as medications: it simply depends on why the person is suffering. But I agree fully that the almost total reliance on medication is a tragic mistake: I too anti-depressants and other meds for years and they did very little good for me -- no doubt because my problem was never a "chemical imbalance in the brain" -- whatever that means. The bottom line is, I went through a dozen years of hell before I started finally figuring out what my problems were, and no psychiatrist did this for me, I had to do it myself. I am still in some pain because I of what I went through, but am finally emerging from my hell. I also think most therapists do little good as well; this is mainly because they cannot know you simply by seeing you for an hour or so a week, and so cannot discover what the problem is. You pretty much have to figure it out for yourself. I have also found that my psychiatrist and even some psychologists are quite arrogant in thinking they know what your problems are and how to help you. It is, as far as I am concerned, practically a criminal situation.

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