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mental illness - Dhamma Wheel

mental illness

Tell us how you think the forum can be improved. We will listen.
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altar
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mental illness

Postby altar » Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:54 pm

Dear Dhamma Wheel,
I find the some of the following, which I was once directed to in a thread, and appears in the terms of service, disheartening:

-- Members who are suffering a serious mental illness should seek diagnosis and treatment from a qualified medical professional within their community. Members who are suffering from an acute phase of a mental illness, including intention to self harm and/or suicidal should seek immediate assistance. http://www.befrienders.org/index.asp
-- Members who are experiencing an acute phase of mental illness or suicidal ideation welcome to seek referral to medical and crisis services from administrators and moderators.
-- Members are asked not to use Dhamma Wheel as a platform to express intentions of self harm or suicide, the experience of voices or other hallucinations or other artefacts of acute mental illness.
-- When encountering a member suffering an acute episode of a mental illness, we should treat that member with compassion and refer that member to medical/emergency services within that person's community and to Dhamma Wheel staff.

The third section is fine I just included it because that's how it's displayed. I guess I'll go through this point by point.
"Members who are suffering a serious mental illness should seek diagnosis and treatment from a qualified medical professional..." Many people who are diagnosed have worse lives because of that diagnosis, many are significantly harmed by treatment, and psychiatry very much harms the lives of many. Many reports from people with experience in this area indicate this, as do some studies by "professionals." That people are encouraged to ubiquitously point people down this potentially very harmful path, discouraged from warning them about the dangers, blindly looking to those labelled professionals, is, I think...crazy.
The second section is similar. It might be sensible if people were asked to refrain from all sorts of advice regarding mental illness. However, as it stands, people are asked to forgo any honest advice they might have and only point people towards professionals.
The fourth section is similar.
Particularly strange to me, given that this forum caters to people who appreciate the dhamma, is that the dhamma is not recommended as a cure to mental illness, that capable monks are not listed as agents of help, and that professionals, who often use methods quite contrary to the dhamma, are suggested.
On a final note there is (no small amount) of evidence that modern psychiatric care intensifies and prolongs the very things they intend to help. There are many similar points that can be made, but I think for now I'll leave my case at this.
Please respond if you care to.

Thank you,
Zachary

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Annapurna
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Re: mental illness

Postby Annapurna » Sat Dec 12, 2009 6:34 pm

Zachary, I hope this doesn't sound uncaring, but forum staff and members are not a hospital nor proper medication when people are hallucinating, suicidal or a potential threat to others through severe illness phases.

We are not skilled enough to deal with people who are seriously ill where ONLY medication can reduce the onslaught of hallucinations or great desperation, I am sorry I have to say this.

Compassion and loving kindness and the dhamma are certainly very very helpful, but there is a time for everything and somebody psychotic or depressed may not be able to catch it online.

Like, when somebody breaks a leg, he needs surgery, and the medication he needs, like antibiotics, may have very bad side effects for a while, but this shall pass too. ..

And while recovering, he may study and find out how to avoid circumstances which bring him back into the hospital.


See? :namaste:

Kindly,

Annabel
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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Re: mental illness

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Dec 12, 2009 6:41 pm

it isn't an appropriate place for a number of reasons!
people come here to discuss Dhamma topics, not help people suffering mental health problems,
too many cooks spoils the broth! or to many therapists not enough therapy!
it could alienate members, or side track the focus of the forum,
some inconsiderate members could taunt or try to belittle members with mental health conditions (for what ever reason), or pretent to have one in order to make fun of others compassion thus make it unlikely those who actually need it are believed or members end up being fed up and ignoring these types of posts,
legal consequences for the forum 'staff' & 'owners'
the forum isn't a mental health advisory, and the advise may not be appropriate for the person thus have consequences.
discussing mental health treatments on an open forum where the person involved is present would not be the best way to go about it,
There are organisations which have treatment focus both one to one on-line/telephone and in real life which are better equipped to help those looking for help, both legally and in resources.

The moderators and administrators may have other reasons but I think this covers what was mentioned when these TOS were outlined


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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altar
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Re: mental illness

Postby altar » Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:05 pm


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Re: mental illness

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:30 pm

hi Zack
People aren't discouraged from discussing these issues here [but it has to be in an appropriate way] they are discouraged from seeking help here, they are however pointed to somewhere where they can recieve help! the medical profession has problems in every area, it is unavoidable due to the very nature of medicine (including surgery) but it is completely inappropriate to send someone who needs urgent treatment or prolonged treatment to somewhere namely for the legal reasons I mention above!

the TOS are there so people go to [are directed to] somewhere where they can get help, not for speculation on where they can.

EDITED in [...]


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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altar
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Re: mental illness

Postby altar » Sat Dec 12, 2009 7:50 pm

Manapa,
For the most part this sounds okay, however an attitude has been espoused here, including by a moderator, that people here are not able to give advice on this issue, however advising one to seek assistance from doctors seems regularly permitted or encouraged. Doctors in this case means psychiatrists I think. I think this results from unfamiliarity with just how our modern psychiatric system works and ignorance regarding how deficient and harmful, and misinformed it is.
So, some kind of rewording of the TOS might be a good idea, otherwise I guess leave it as is...
Zack

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Re: mental illness

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Dec 12, 2009 8:27 pm



He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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Annapurna
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Re: mental illness

Postby Annapurna » Sat Dec 12, 2009 8:48 pm

Hello, Zack,

it is obvious, that you have a bone to pick with psychiatric hospitals and specialists, perhaps from own sad experience, who knows, and no system is perfect, and you also may have points, but again, there is little or no alternative, and this forum is not it.

This forum is for dhamma discussion, and nobody should expect or seek sound mental advice here.

It also can't be given, -it is unprofessional and illegal to counsel strangers without a proper diagnosis, examination, etc.

I know a case of schizophrenia with a person ending up cutting his throat, because he refused to seek professional help.

The authorities of Vipassana retreats ask people to not attend if they are currently mentally ill.

I also witnessed only recently how a good friend lost it due to great pain, and became psychotic, like believing that member XY was actually the Dalai Lama, and she was advised to go offline, before she upset herself and others even more.

People who didn't know her took great offence, called her a troll, all the while we tried to help her go off line and seek help.

It was for her best, and she is back to normal.
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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altar
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Re: mental illness

Postby altar » Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:57 pm


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Laurens
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Re: mental illness

Postby Laurens » Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:21 pm

I think those rules are in place simply because we are Buddhists, not doctors. If a person is suffering from mental health issues we are not qualified to offer advice. Because the majority of us are unqualified to treat or offer advice to people suffering from mental illness, it could potentially result in someone giving harmful advice (I don't mean that people here might offer malicious advice, rather that the person due to their mental health issues may interpret advice wrongly and this could create more problems etc).

I believe the most compassionate advice a Buddhist can give to anyone who is ill, is to say 'go to the doctor', there is no exception with mental health problems, just because we meditate doesn't mean we are qualified to treat them.

All the best
Laurens
"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

Carl Sagan

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altar
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Re: mental illness

Postby altar » Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:40 pm

Laurens, I am not insisting that we are qualified to treat them (some of us might be, some might not). I am insisting that the mental health system's competency in this area be taken into question, or else not recommended. The techniques used today have poor success rates, and are not as tried and true as more physically related medicine. It is a simpler issue with physical health; the problem is more or less confined to the body. For instance, you have frostbite, you cut off the foot. In mental health, most doctors wish to treat the mind through the body. As for the other half--treating the mind with the mind; this is very much a part of the Buddha's teaching, so it's really not so inapplicable as people are making it out to be.
Even many doctors criticize common psychiatric practices.
I think that it is actually maybe necessary for someone to research modern psychiatry before recommending people go to them, and I would appreciate if people would take the time to do this before saying, "doctors are the appropriate place to go if you have mental health issues." Most likely they will find that it is not something as reliable as other fields of science, and that, whereas in some fields of science, I think, studies support their methods, in psychiatry, this is often not the case.
People are insisting that doctors are the right place to go. Doctors who deal with mental health are generally psychiatrists, I think. So I'm simply questioning psychiatrical practices, stating that they are often harmful and not in accordance with the dhamma, and people should not be pointed towards them [exclusively and unreservedly] as the by-line.
Zack

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Re: mental illness

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:49 pm


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altar
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Re: mental illness

Postby altar » Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:01 pm


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Re: mental illness

Postby Laurens » Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:03 pm

"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

Carl Sagan

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Re: mental illness

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:14 pm

Hi Zack,
the ToS are about Acute, severe, and dangerous episodes of mental health problems, modern mental health treatments don't fly in the face of Dhamma, even ultra conservitive monks with take morphine when a doctor prescribe it, and there are many approaches which incorporate or are conductive with Dhamma, some are MiCBT (Aus), MBSR (US) MBCT (UK if I remember correctly), Sati Therapy (Cz), Morita therapy (sp?)(Japan), ACT, REBT, and DBT.

The majority of people here are not therapists, or counsellors, myself having experience of mental health issues, and studied CBT (awaiting final results) for dhammic study purposes can honestly tell you severe cases of mental health problems need professional help, not a forum giving 50 different sometimes conflicting advise, or sugesting members put themselves in a potentially unwanted predicament of having to tell another member to back off.


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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LauraJ
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Re: mental illness

Postby LauraJ » Sun Dec 13, 2009 1:18 am

I think it would be careless to try to give mental health advice over the Internet.

:anjali:



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

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Annapurna
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Re: mental illness

Postby Annapurna » Sun Dec 13, 2009 1:03 pm

Dear Altar,

medication is not intoxication. It is a remedy. So it doesn't conflict with the dhamma.

You're certainly right that there are sometimes bad circumstances in our psychiatric hospitals, no doubt.

But we also have bad restaurants, where you catch food poisoning, bad lawyers, who lose a case and rip you off, and bad plumbers, who set your house under water.

Fact is, you have good and bad people in each profession, but you still need them sometimes.

You learn from experience. Sometimes you lose money, sometimes something else.

Perhaps it is a case of karma as well.

If people are unhappy with their therapy, it is up to them and friends and family to seek help elsewhere, but a forum really can't put disclaimers in the TOS...at least that is how I feel.

Mentally ill people can participate here, unless they upset members with suicide threats and their hallucinations that simply overchallenge and scare medical lay people.

I feel it is ok to tell members so and also to point them to people who we feel are better equipped to help, but of course we can't know details...

Mental illness is a sad chapter, yes, absolutely...and I can't really encourage alternative methods here as completely safe as well.

I could recommend healthy food, healthy relationships, feeling loved, hair mineral analysis, hormone status, homeopathy, (yes) etc, but we can't put those in the TOS, can we. Not really.

But thank you for your good intentions! May you be happy and have peace of mind.
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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Re: mental illness

Postby PeterB » Sun Dec 13, 2009 2:16 pm

As a psychiatrist I can tell you that there as many psychiatrys as there are psychiatrists. Just as with mechanics, gym teachers and vets etc etc.

PeterB
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Re: mental illness

Postby PeterB » Sun Dec 13, 2009 2:19 pm


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Re: mental illness

Postby Monkey Mind » Sun Dec 13, 2009 4:42 pm

I am not sure what the agenda of the OP was, but When I first read this post it touched on a concern I have.
In my therapy office, I've encountered people who refuse to take pain meds, psychiatric meds, even HIV or cancer meds because they believe to do so is inconsistent with Buddhist teachings. Most of these folks have been the "do it yourself" variation, I encourage them to seek monastic guidance. However, there is a Tibetan Rinpoche in my area who promotes an anti-med agenda. All I can do is shrug and say that's not what I learned in Buddhism 101.
"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


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