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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all

A few years ago I used to go to a monday night meeting of a anxiety and depression support group. I often found the experience there somewhat frustrating because it always seemed that the focus of the discussions would end up centered around the medications they were taking, what their doctors think, and rarely did the disscussions deviate from the parameters of the "brain chemistry" medical model. I have noticed that we have alot of that perspective on this fourm as well. This is not meant as a criticism of this site or anyone of its posters. But personally I have always had a hard time viewing my feelings of DP/DR as being the result of a "brain chemistry" disorder. It has always felt psychological to me or even a sort of "spiritual" condition.

Because the psychiatric "medical model" seems so "all pervasive" and dominant in western thought when dealing with altered perceptions of "self" and ones relation to "reality", particularly when accompanied with feelings of fear and anxiety, it is easy to fall into the assumption that the medical model somehow or other is the sole explanation, the "authoritative voice of science" to explain the depersonalised/derealised state of conciousness.

I once took an abnormal psychology class at college and the instructor told us that the "cure rate" of psychiatrists and therapists in western society was comparable to that achieved by "witch doctors" and shamans" in other cultures.

Well anyway I have in recent years felt this sense of uneasiness around the medical model
treatment of my DP/DR experiences and have begun in recent years seeking alternative theoretical explanations. It is just my opinion, but i believe we should keep an open mind about the causes of our DP/DR condition and not try and force ourselves artifically to embrace one particular (the medical model) perspective because "doctor" says so.

In this vein I came across something written by Stanislav Grof (and yes he is an M.D.former Freudian type) in his book "The Holotropic Mind" which i found interesting and took the time to type out for you so you could read it as well.

What do you think?


"Through specific historical developments, psychiatry became a medical discipline. This process was set in motion in the last century, when biological causes, such as infections, tumors, defieciencies, and degenerative diseases of the brain, were found for some -- but by no means all--mental disorders. Although further scientific studies failed to prove the existence of biological causes for most neuroses, depressions, psychosomatic diseases, and psychotic states, medicine continued to dominate psychiatry because it was able to control the symptoms of many mental disorders.

At the present time, the medical model continues to play a paramount role in psychiatric theory, clinical practice, the education of physicians, and forensics. The term 'mental disease' is loosely applied to many conditions where no organic basis has been found. As in medicine, the symptoms are seen as manifestations of a pathological process, and the intensity of symptoms is viewed as a direct measure of the seriousness of the disorder. Much of mainstream psychiatry focuses its efforts on suppressing symptoms. This practice equates the alleviation of symptoms with "improvement" and the intensification of the same with a "worsening" of the clinical condition......"

and one last brief paragraph which I found of particular interest:

"When we start experiencing symptoms of a disorder that is emotional rather than organic in nature, it is important to realize that this is not the beginning of a "disease" but the emergence into our conciousness of material that was previously buried in the unconcious parts of our being. When this process is completed, the symptoms associated with the unconcious material are permanently resolved and they tend to dissappear. Thus, the emergence of symptoms is not the onset of disease but the beginning of its resolution...."

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167 Posts
Yes its always best to keep an open mind. Ive spent most of my time as a sufferer looking to philosophy, art and Buddhism for answers or some 'way out'. Its only recently that i even discovered there was a 'medical model' describing my condition. One thing in favour of it is that it is seen as more 'credible' or acceptable in western society at least, as a way of explaining an unusual mental state to others.

Its much easier to able to tell people about DP/R and have them accept that theres 'really' something going on in my head than to try and invent my own terms of description or classification (which i used to try).

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207 Posts
Yes. What's weird is that while people believe all kinds of bizarre things (various gods, healing crystals, ghosts...) , they think it's odd if you try to describe, just describe, a mental state, without relating it to anything mystical, but explaining it in terms of the emotions and the feelings involved. Which are ones with very clear links with spirituality, whatever you take that to mean.

Maybe it's because it challenges a safe 'faith,' or whatever they think they feel, if there's some relation between religion and mental disorders. I think our heads are quite interesting. We can intuitively understand all kinds of things written by religious people or philosophers, or drug takers, or madmen.. Well, it isn't worth the price, obviously. But even knowing where the concept of hell came from is rather interesting.
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