According to the World Health Organization (WHO) by the year 2020, depression will be the number two cause of "lost years of healthy life" worldwide. However, the cost in human suffering cannot be estimated.
Scientologists believe that chemical imbalances do not exist. In their view manic episodes should be treated with periods of introspection and audits; a notion which is particularly bizarre and scientifically untenable.
Chemical imbalances do exist in the brain. Everyone has them, not just those with clinical instances of mental illness. A perfect chemical balance would be unnatural. However, every balance goes through a series of sinusoidal curves, these are commonly known as mood swings. Mood swings can leave the charted path of the sinusoidal normality and become instances of depression or mania. While small shifts in mood are normal, and a complete lack of them would point to a certain psychosis and a lack of balance in the brain, large shifts can be devastating.
Scientologists believe that these large swings can be controlled without chemically interfering with the brain. This is utter nonsense. From one of my case studies a patient with an acute manic episode was hospitalized for two weeks and given a heavy does of psychotropic drugs, such as haldol, seryquil and depacote. If given to a person in the natural swing of emotion, seryquil for example would knock a healthy person out for about a day. These drugs had no effect on the patient in the study. As time passed the patient convinced the doctors that he could be released, however the relapse was swift and within two weeks the subject was once again in a mental hospital.
Although the medications could not prevent the subject from going off them, what eventually saved him was the realization that perhaps it would be best to seek help and more drugs to control the condition. While the hardest part for the patient was to come to grips with the diagnosis, the only thing that was able to eventually bring down the mania was a heavy drug cocktail and several weeks of lockdown.
Arguing that such severe episodes can be controlled through meditation is absurd. Depression, like mania on the other end of the spectrum, can be an equally debilitating condition. While a manic patient exhibits uncontrollable amounts of energy, one that is depressed lacks this very energy. Depression can lead to suicide, just as mania could lead to reckless behavior and end with equally grievous consequences. Not medicating a severe case of depression can mean the difference between life and death. The quality of life of people on medication is significantly better then of those who are not on medication and are attempting to self medicate. Scientology claims are largely based on science fiction, claims that are highly harmful those suffering from mania or depression.
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