Learn about the real causes of mental illness and why it has nothing to do with a chemical imbalance in the brain. Find out about the dangers of psychotropic drugs and how they can cause more suicides. And discover how to withdraw from psychotropic drugs and fix mental health problems.
The Rise Of Mental Health Disorders
Mental health problems are common in the United States and around the world. Over 44 million American adults have a mental health condition. The rate of young people experiencing a mental breakdown continues to rise.
We're told that mental disorders are chemical imbalances in the brain. This theory began in a tuberculosis ward in New York City in 1952.
A new drug named Marsil came to the market to treat tuberculosis. It turned out it didn’t have much effect on the disease. Instead, doctors noticed something else. The drug made the patients joyful and euphoric.
It wasn’t long before somebody decided to give it to depressed people. Other drugs came along that seemed to have a similar effect. Scientists started to ask why these new drugs improved the mood in patients.
Nobody knew where to look, so nothing happened for a decade. In 1965, a British doctor called Alec Coppen came up with a theory. What if these drugs increased levels of serotonin in the brain?
In the 1970s scientists could start to test these theories. They gave people a drug to reduce their serotonin levels. In the vast majority of patients, it didn’t affect their mood at all. The chemical imbalance hypothesis still continues even if it's false and unscientific.
There Is No Chemical Imbalance In The Brain
There’s no evidence that there’s a chemical imbalance in depressed or anxious people’s brains. We don’t know what a chemically balanced brain looks like. There are no blood tests you can take or biological markers you can measure.
Comparing anxiety, depression, and mania to diseases like diabetes is false and misleading. Diabetes is a real disease that you can measure. Diabetics have elevated fasting blood sugar and reduced insulin production. Psychiatric disorders meet none of these criteria. They have no known physical causes.
Almost all U.S. general practitioners use The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) when they diagnose depression or anxiety. To get a diagnosis of depression, you have to show at least five out of nine symptoms almost every day. Some examples include depressed mood, decreased interest in pleasure, or feelings of worthlessness.
As doctors started to apply this checklist, they discovered something embarrassing.
Is Grief A Mental Disorder?
Almost everybody who is grieving matches the clinical criteria for depression. This revelation made many doctors and psychiatrists feel uncomfortable. So the authors of the DSM invented a loophole, which became known as the grief exception.
They said that you were not depressed if you mourned the death of a person. But if these symptoms continued for a year you were mentally ill. Different versions of DSM came as the years passed.
In the beginning, you had to show signs of depression for six months before you got a diagnosis. But the time limit changed. Later on, they cut it to three months, then one month, and finally two weeks.
The grief exception revealed something that the authors of the DSM didn't want to admit. They said that it was reasonable to show the symptoms of depression, in one specific case.
But why is the death of a loved one the only event where depression is a reasonable response? Why not if your husband has left you after 30 years of marriage? Why not if you have a meaningless job you hate?
The psychiatrists who wrote the fifth edition of the DSM came up with a solution. They got rid of the grief exception. In the new version, it’s not there. There’s just a checklist of symptoms, followed by a vague footnote.
We assess human distress through a checklist and label them as brain diseases. Life with all its trials has somehow nothing to do with depression and anxiety. But why do we push the use of psychotropic drugs?
Mental Health Is A Huge Industry
Mental health is a huge industry created by drug companies. They were not satisfied with the billions of dollars they already made from treating illnesses like cancer. So they wanted to expand to a new market.
They also targeted children so that they could tap into a brand-new segment. Many children in the U.S get an ADHD diagnosis. Attention disorders are not diseases. You can change the behavior by working with children or changing their diet, not by drugging them.
The DSM has a mental illness for every condition possible. By having such a broad spectrum of mental disorders, it is possible for anyone to get a diagnosis. 69% of DSM-5 task force members had financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
Drug companies, psychotherapists, the FDA, and other federal agencies work together. They use propaganda to convince people to take psychiatric medications.
Drug companies give financial support to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Or they provide grants to the American Psychiatric Association in their educational efforts. They do this to alert the public to the need for psychiatric drugs.
The drug companies want us to believe that drugs are the only way to treat our mental illnesses. It is the same tactic they use with ordinary diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Most drug tests are also fraudulent.
How Drug Companies Use Fraudulent Drug Trials To Sell Their Medications
Drug companies run their own clinical trials and decide who gets to see any results. It is easy for drug companies to get a drug approved. They only have to produce two positive trials. So they can have a thousand scientific tests done and 998 of those trials can show negative results.
If two studies find a tiny effect, drug companies can start selling their drugs. The positive effects of their clinical trials are often because of the placebo effect.
In 2002, a team led by psychologist Irving Kirsch analyzed studies submitted to the FDA. They used data for six of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants.
The FDA received two positive studies for every drug. All drug companies conducted many more trials before they found two positive ones. Kirsch and his colleagues looked at 47 studies, an average of almost eight per drug. After examining all the reviews, they only found negligible effects of psychotropic medications.
The typical psychiatric-drug study lasts only four to six weeks. Psychiatric medications are so toxic that patients drop out before the study can last four to six weeks! There is no science to back up any positive long-term use of psychotropic drugs.
Psychiatric drugs don’t correct biochemical imbalances. They cause them.
Psychotropic Drugs Cause Patients To Commit Suicide
Psychotropic drugs are not only ineffective, but they also have serious side effects. Many people feel better under the influence of drugs when in reality they are doing worse.
Serious drug-induced changes often occur soon after medication starts. Or after you increase the dose or try to withdraw from it. The addition of other drugs can also worsen the condition. In some cases, the changes do not show until taking the medication for many months or longer.
The spellbinding from medications range from mild to severe. Millions of cases are mild but still impair or ruin the person’s quality of life. Some patients have more manic-like behavior.
They can destroy their marriages, friendships, or abuse their children. Some lose their jobs or get caught shoplifting. Medications can make otherwise loving mothers and fathers murder their children.
School shooters are often on some psychotropic drug or have serious withdrawal effects. Antidepressants also cause increased suicidality in children and young adults.
Drug companies conceal the harmful effects of their products from everyone. Most physicians who prescribe psychiatric drugs underestimate the adverse effects of these drugs. They are ignorant about the violence, mania, and psychosis caused by various medications.
Physicians often fail to recognize that the recommended dose of a drug is when you use it alone. When combined with other medications, a small dose can become a large one, and a hefty dose can become an enormous one.
We have to fix mental conditions like depression or anxiety without medications. A better way is to work on our emotional trauma and stress that are behind these conditions.
7 Causes Of Mental Illness
One big reason why we suffer more today than before is because of environmental changes. We started to believe in certain concepts that destroyed our world view and life. People have lost connection with their true selves and follow more materialistic ideals.
Much of these conditions are due to the way our society works today. There are several ways that society changed that increased the suffering in the world. One of the reasons is meaningless work.
1. Meaningless Work
We learn from a young age to get a great education and then find a job. Most jobs today become repetitive and dull real fast. Repeating the same meaningless task for eight hours per day takes a toll on your psyche. Humans are not robots. We need to have a meaning or purpose in what we do to feel engaged.
Most employees only go to a job to earn a paycheck. Receiving money won’t make you happy if you don’t see any point in what you do.
Most people work in jobs that do not suit them or honor their personalities and strengths. If you feel stuck in a job you hate it is reasonable to become depressed.
Full time jobs make us into wage slaves so that the rich can control us. Many jobs are useless and have no meaning. After you work all day you have no energy to do anything. Many low-earners collapse in front of the TV when they get home. They have no urge to work on their hobbies or do things they enjoy.
If you have a soul-destroying job and see no way out it is understandable that you get depressed. Another reason why we might feel stress is because of our disconnection to each other.
2. Loneliness And Disconnection From Other People
Our relationships with each other become worse by the day. Our work and individual goals take all our time so that we have no time left for each other.
Parents put their kids in daycare before they have fully matured. It is not uncommon nowadays to put children in daycare from 7 am to 5 pm. How well our parents take care of our emotional needs, affect how secure we feel later in life.
The whole job culture and the break down of our families cause lots of psychological trauma in children. In South America, they enjoy being with their friends and relatives. And in the west, we see our careers and goals as more valuable than our families and friends.
We don’t hang out with friends as much as we did before. The west values individuality more than group thinking. We need to take care of our own needs and problems.
Human beings first evolved on the savannas of Africa, where we lived in small tribes. We figured out how to cooperate. Our tribes shared their food or looked after the sick. If you became separated from the group, it meant you were in terrible danger.
In my previous article, I talked about the book the Blue Zones. Dan Buettner explored the longest living populations in the world. One of the patterns they all shared was the importance of family and friends.
In Okinawa, they maintain a robust social network called a “moai.” It is a lifelong circle of friends that support people well into old age. These safety nets give financial and emotional support in times of need. This social network reduces stress and makes them feel cared for.
The structures for looking out for each other fell apart. We disbanded our tribes. We embarked on living alone. Loneliness hangs over our culture today like a thick smog. More people feel lonely than ever before.
Across the Western world, we stopped banding together at a massive rate. We shut away in our own homes instead. We’ve stopped doing stuff with others. Families eat and spend less time together.
Loneliness isn’t just the physical absence of other people. It’s also the sense that you’re not sharing anything that matters with anyone else. You can surround yourself with families and friends.
But if you don’t share anything that matters with them you’ll still feel lonely. To end loneliness, you need to have a sense of mutual support and protection.
Our materialistic values also prevent us from being happy.
3. Materialistic And Extrinsic Values
We live in a materialistic world. Many people measure their self-worth in tangible results and success. At a young age, we learn that we need to get good grades and have a great career to be someone.
It is this constant pressure to perform that make us anxious and depressed. There is never enough. When we have achieved our big goals, we create a new one and repeat the process. We can’t calm down and feel that we need to do more or leave a legacy.
The more materialistic you are, the more depressed you get. Famous people that have lots of success are not happy.
My friend once told the story of when he went to Kenya to help an orphanage. There were lots of homeless kids that lost both their parents. The orphanage that my friend worked at had not enough resources to feed or take care of all the kids on the street. These children had many days when they didn't eat any food.
What shocked my friend was that these kids were the happiest people he had ever met in his life. They joked around and laughed a lot. Materialistic ideals were not part of their psyche. They had to find happiness from within.
People in first world countries often suffer when they chase materialistic goals that can’t make them happy. If you overvalue money and possessions, or how you look to other people, you will be unhappy.
There are two different ways you can motivate yourself. One is intrinsic motives. You do things because you value them in and of themselves, not because of anything you get out of them. When kids play, they're acting on intrinsic motives.
Then there are extrinsic motives. They’re the things you do because you’ll get something in return. It can either be money, admiration, sex, or superior status.
People who achieve their extrinsic goals don't experience any more happiness than others. High achievers spend a vast amount of energy chasing their goals. But when they fulfill them, they don't feel any better. Your new promotion, car, or iPhone won’t improve your happiness.
Most of us, spend our time chasing extrinsic goals that make us feel empty inside. Our whole culture is set up to get us to think this way. Get good grades, the best-paying job, or rise through the ranks. Display your earnings through clothes and cars.
You do something, not for itself but to achieve an effect. There is no time to relax into the pleasure of a moment. When you are materialistic, you are always wondering what other people think of you. You have to watch yourself all the time.
There are always external comparisons. Somebody still got a nicer house, better clothes or more money. Materialism leaves you constantly vulnerable to a world beyond your control. This system trains us that there’s never enough.
Childhood trauma is another thing that makes us depressed and anxious.
4. Childhood Trauma
Our suffering begins in our childhood. Children do not know how to deal with emotional distress so they suppress it. Kids with good parents become more secure and feel better about themselves. Most families are not that stable anymore. Constant fighting and problems take a toll on children.
The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) exposed this even more. In this study, the participants answered a questionnaire about their childhood. 17000 people partook in this study. The results surprised the scientists.
The more traumatic experiences you went through as a kid, the more depressed you became. If you had six traumatic events in your childhood, you were five times more likely to become depressed. And if you had 7 traumatic events as a child, you were 3100% more likely to commit suicide as an adult.
Depression is a reasonable response to abnormal life experiences. Children almost always think it's there fault if they experience trauma. When you’re a child, you have little power to change your environment. You can’t move away or force somebody to stop hurting you.
Inequality can also lead us to a dark place.
5. Inequality And Status
There is continued inequality between different groups in society. Less than one percent of the population owns the majority of the wealth in the world.
People with lower incomes feel less worthy than wealthier peers. In our society, we praise rich and successful people. If we don’t live up to those standards, we can feel less valuable.
Losing your job can be stressful. Many people attach their self-worth to their title or position. If we lose that title, we feel as though we've lost our identity or self.
Having a good status is vital in countries like South Korea. The goal of most Koreans is to get into top universities. They do it to please their parents and themselves. But it comes at a cost.
To get into the best universities they need to have top grades or test scores. The pressure these kids undergo is unimaginable. Koreans go to school early in the morning and stay until the evening.
Then they get extra tutoring after school. They then arrive home late at night and then repeat this gruesome cycle every day.
The constant pressure to perform is the primary reason Koreans commit suicide. They are not allowed to be kids. When they finally get into a university, they are already burnt out and depressed.
Our status can fade away at any moment. Even the middle class or the rich feel insecure. Depression and anxiety are a response to the constant worry about our status.
Something about inequality seems to be driving up depression and anxiety. Considerable gaps in income and status create the sense that some people are more desirable.
In a highly unequal society, everyone has to think about their status a lot. Am I maintaining my position? Who’s threatening me? How far can I fall?
Humans have a choice. We can dismantle hierarchies and create an equal civilization. Or we can stop seeking our self-worth in our status and find it from within.
Spending time in nature can also make you feel happier.
6. Separation From The Natural World
All humans have an innate love for the landscapes in which they have lived for most of their existence. Almost all animals get distressed if they can't live in the landscape that they evolved in.
Humans dwelled in nature before we created cities. After the industrial revolution, more people moved to the cities. Living in the city is unnatural. Mental health problems are worse in cities than in the countryside.
The University of Exeter studied more than 5000 households for over three years. They looked at people who moved from a leafy green rural area to the city and vice versa.
Communities that moved to green areas saw a big reduction in depression. And those who went away from green spaces saw a significant increase in depression.
The scientists looking at this knew there are all sorts of things that could be playing a role here. Maybe rural areas have stronger communities and less crime? So another British study decided to screen out that effect.
They compared two deprived inner-city areas. One area had some green space and the other didn't. Everything else like levels of social connections was the same. It turned out there were less stress and despair in the greener neighborhood.
Scientific evidence shows that exercise reduces depression and anxiety. People who run on treadmills in the gym or run in nature see a reduction in depression. But the effect is higher for the people who run in nature.
Another reason why we become depressed is because of an unpredictable future.
7. Hopeless Future
Depressed people see no hope for the future. If you live in a community with no control over your destiny, it’s hard to see a bright tomorrow.
The job market is more unstable than ever. Our ancestors could work at the same job forever and didn't need to find a new job. Having a job that pays based on your performance is stressful.
Or work where you don't know if you will get shifts or not. More jobs move to China or other countries with lower salaries.
Not knowing how much money you will get each month can make you anxious or depressed. It can feel hard to plan ahead or see light at the end of the tunnel
So how do we fix all these issues I talked about?
How To Fix Your Mental Issues
If we want to fix our mental issues, we have to look at our life in a different way. We need to create a society that follows our true values. Happiness must also come from within.
Mental disorders are not permanent or who we are. Spiritual teachers such as Byron Katie and Eckhart Tolle suffered from extreme depression. They both had awakening experiences that made them see through the illusion.
What they found was that love and unity was their true self. It was when they stopped believing in their false ego self that they could feel joy.
Our true selves are infinite consciousness having an experience. Happiness is part of who we are. Every action we take is to feel joy. But we seek it in all the wrong places.
It is only when we look inside and work on our negative thoughts and concepts that we can truly see who we are. Our existence is the only thing needed to feel love and joy. There is nothing we need to do and have to deserve it.
In 2003 Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz wrote the book The Power Of Full Engagement. This book says that to feel happy you need to balance your emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual energies.
Physical energy means eating a healthy diet, sleeping enough and taking care of our needs. Emotional energy refers to fixing the emotional baggage that bogs us down.
Spiritual energy implies looking within and having a higher purpose in what you do. Mental energy means how we organize our lives and focus our attention.
You need to balance all these energies. If you take care of all your physical needs but ignore your emotional problems, you feel terrible. But when you're engaged on all four energy levels, you're the happiest and healthiest.
The chemical imbalance theory began in a tuberculosis ward in New York City in 1952.
There’s no evidence that there’s a chemical imbalance in depressed or anxious people’s brains.
Drug companies, psychotherapists, the FDA, and other federal agencies work together.
If two studies find a tiny effect, drugs companies can start selling their drugs.
Meaningless work can make you depressed.
Loneliness and not sharing anything that matters with others can make you suffer.
The more materialistic you are, the more depressed you get.
Childhood trauma and inequality can also make people unhappy.
Almost all animals get distressed if they can't live in the landscape that they evolved in.
Depressed people have no hope for the future.
You have to look at your life in a different way and find happiness from within.
How To Let Go Of Psychotropic Drugs
1. Inform yourself about the drug
2. Get help from a health professional
3. Inform your friends or family
4. Rely on your judgment
5. Eliminate one drug at a time
6. Change your lifestyle
In this blog post, you learned about the real causes of mental illness and the dangers of medications. It is not only dangerous to start taking psychiatric drugs but also quitting them.
Taper off medications gradually and do not go cold turkey. Some drugs pose life-threatening risks during withdrawal, such as seizures and blood-pressure spikes. It might take a month of withdrawal for every year of drug exposure. So if you’ve been on medication for five years, you might need five months to become free from it.
Seek an experienced detox expert, during the withdrawal period. Don’t quit overnight without good reason and do not push yourself beyond your emotional limits!
You should follow six basic steps if you want to become free from psychotropic drugs:
1. Inform yourself about the drug, including withdrawal risks.
2. Ask a health professional with experience in drug removal to monitor your progress.
3. Inform your friends or family that you are weaning off medications and ask them to keep a daily eye on you.
4. Seek advice but rely on your judgment about your withdrawal effects.
5. If you are stopping several medications, you may want to taper them one at a time to avoid added side effects.
6. Try to change your life on the emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual plane. Learn how to do it in the link below.