If you were to visit a doctor for a serious injury, and the extent of the treatment was analyzing why you had the accident, and reliving the play by play of your mistake, would you continue to pay substantial fees for their services for the next couple of years? Probably not, yet this is the accepted norm for mental health treatments.
Worldwide, mental illness represents more than 15 percent of the disease burden “in established market economies such as the US.” according to NIMH this “is more than the disease burden caused by all cancers.” Approximately 26 percent of adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. Factor in the families of the ill and the irregular methods by which these problems are reported and the impact of this statistic is far-reaching beyond what is measured.
How many people with mild disorders do not seek treatment and instead laugh it off in a “join the club” culture that recommends numbing the pain with alcohol and drugs? No one should be blamed for not wanting to seek treatment. We have become conditioned to accept the methods of therapy which span for years, and notoriously do not deliver verifiable results or only offer subjective improvements which quickly fade after therapy ends.
To make matters worse, a diagnosis from a professional is likely to amplify existing mental problems by labeling behaviors as a disease, where only a behavior disorder exists.
In some cases, drugs designed to alter the chemical make-up of the brain are prescribed. This is despite recently published evidence, which says 68% of the positive effects are placebo related. Another study, conducted a year earlier, suggests Prozac, Effexor and Paxil “offer no clinically significant benefit over placebos.” [Time.com] The physical risk these pills represent, however, is very real. Such changes in the brain operate in cascading ways, which have yet to be fully understood by anyone, including the doctors writing the prescription. Is it acceptable to be effectively experimenting with the very core function of their patient's lives, especially when these drugs are presented to them as a solid solution?
These problems are compounded by hard science which suggests the mind can be changed, physically, by our own thoughts. In other words, it’s a software problem, not a hardware problem. This notion was inadvertently discovered and showcased in a PBS documentary titled “Depression: Out of the Shadows.” Dr. Helen Mayberg, who was featured in the special, discovered a region of the brain known as “Area-25,” a critical intersection of the brain responsible for mood, sleep, motivation and drive. Depression would wreak havoc on this area of the brain while patients who were recovering from depression would consistently show this area “cooling off.” Every form of successful treatment would have the same effect.
Dr. Mayberg then asked healthy volunteers to ponder sad thoughts. Area 25 became overactive while the frontal cortex, responsible for personality, quieted down. When volunteers discontinued sad thoughts, Area 25 returned to normal. As Dr. Mayberg states at the end of the experiment, “And I always say, the machinery is in a state, the software is in a-- is in a bad loop.” The software, however, continues to be largely ignored.
In 2007, CDMRP dispersed 277 million dollars in an attempt to resolve PTSD. There was not one evidence-based program process for changing depression, the primary symptom of PTSD. In the end, despite enormous amounts of money and professional resources, NIMH and the mental health industry remain an observational enterprise, without delivering clinical results. The industry, it seems, continues to mire itself down in theories and experiments, while attacking only the hardware to fix a software problem.
It is time for this to change and to start expecting results. With the amount of information we have to process in the Information Age, these problems will continue to grow. We cannot accept behavior disorders to be the norm, with chemical intervention as the only anticipated treatment. The science is in place to produce different results. We need to start expecting the positive results that any other industry is required to deliver.
The Subconscious Restructuring® Institute
SR® Life Coach Certification
SR® Online Counseling & Coaching