It’s just mental

Lynne McTaggart

The whole of modern psychiatry rests on the platform that mental illness is, in fact, mental—a sickness that occurs in the brain. Nowhere is this more evident than with depression, a catch-all term used to describe individuals who are excessively sad, listless and lacking in the will to carry on with life as usual.

This notion—that mental illness is essentially a sick brain—is the perfect justification for the current psychiatric approach to mental illness, with its armament of powerful drugs, surgery and electroshock.
In the 1990s, the sick brain theory reached its apex with the theory, first proposed in the early1990s, that depression amounted to a deficiency of the important neurotransmitter serotonin, and the cure for it was one of the class of antidepressant drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac, which are thought to increase the availability of serotonin.
An imbalanced brain
That depression was the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain was an ingenious marketing ploy by the drug companies, with absolutely no evidence to support it. But in the nearly 30 years since the release of SSRIs, the theory has gripped the whole of psychiatry, becoming its standard explanation for the illness and also its rationale for SSRI drug treatment.
In the US, antidepressant prescriptions doubled between 1996 and 2005, as they did throughout Western Europe; in the UK, for example, prescriptions for antidepressants—up to 57 million for 2014 alone—increased fivefold since 1992 and were up by 7 percent since the previous year.
Although the depression business is booming for the drug industry, all this pill popping doesn’t reflect an increase in the patient population. The incidence of depression has remained steady over those 10 years that prescriptions for the drugs doubled. Only drug use has grown.
Furthermore, all this drug-taking hasn’t made one bit of difference. The latest evidence shows that antidepressants—at best—work no better than a placebo, and actually often make the problem worse.
Increasingly given out to children and adolescents (despite stiff warnings from the US Food and Drug Administration about the drugs causing an increase in thoughts of suicide and actual suicide among this population), antidepressants can prove harmful to this age group, and in adults, those taking an antidepressant often suffer deeper and more frequent depressive episodes.
Luckily, a few brave psychiatrists are stepping forward and going public with the fact that psychiatric drugs of all varieties just don’t work. Jürgen Margraf and Silvia Schneider, professors of clinical psychology at Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany, claim that most psychiatric drugs for everything from anxiety to ADHD and even schizophrenia are having at best only short-term effects but not curing the problem.
A body out of balance
Medicine is largely correct in blaming body chemistry, but by limiting the cause to the brain itself, it is fingering the wrong culprit. Dr Pam Shervanick, an American psychiatrist, says that, based on her experience, most cases of mental illness, including depression, are not mental, but rather the result of other biological imbalances.
For instance, some 200 other prescription drugs can cause depression—sleeping pills and tranquilizers, certain heart drugs like beta blockers and blood pressure-lowering drugs, steroids, anticonvulsants, painkillers, statins and even drugs for indigestion—have long been linked to depression and risk of suicide.
Besides these drugs, an underperforming thyroid, a diet without the right balance of fats, too-low levels of cholesterol, allergies to certain foods, low levels of certain micronutrients like B vitamins, especially folate and B12, or magnesium, zinc and selenium, even dehydration, all can cause crippling depression.
As Dr Shervanick says, depression starts elsewhere in the body—usually with some form of inflammation. Even environmental poisons like fluoride can wreak havoc with your body—and eventually your brain.
Clearly the answer to depression—and all forms of so-called mental illness—is to recognize that mental illness is simply the final symptom of a body out of balance.
Once the root causes are identified, it will become clear that you aren’t crazy, and depression isn’t all in your head—and neither is the solution to it.
Thinking otherwise is, well, just mental.

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Lynne McTaggart

Lynne McTaggart is an award-winning journalist and the author of seven books, including the worldwide international bestsellers The Power of Eight, The Field, The Intention Experiment and The Bond, all considered seminal books of the New Science and now translated into some 30 languages.

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11 comments on “It’s just mental”

  1. Thank you for your clear explanation that the first thing needed for depression and all forms of so-called mental illness—is to recognize that mental illness is simply the final symptom of a body out of balance.

  2. So many people suffer permanent brain damage after being prescribed these dangerous
    SSRIs and antipsychotics. Too few psychiatrists are speaking out about it.

  3. It is true that the answer to mental illness is not all or just in your head. That applies to all types of illness. In fact, as research shows whether it's used or not, illness is caused by physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual factors. As a hypnotherapist, I always encourage my clients to take a look at their physical situation but to say that depression is mostly in the body, rather than the mind is not only disempowering but takes the same approach as the medical model (ie - pointing absolute thinking in a different direction). The problem is really that not enough people realize that they have to change their mindset in order to get better, be better, live better. This article is really discouraging and hurts those of us who are working so very hard to empower people to train their minds, like they train their bodies. I'm disappointed, considering the source.

    1. Hi Elliot, I just said a lot of it starts there. I believe that depression has many sources, and much of it has to do with the past, negative thinking etc. It is covered in depth in my 4 books (The Field, The Bond, The Intention Experiment and The Power of Eight®). What people don't appreciate is that depression is caused by all sorts of situations in the body that go awry.

  4. I so wish my beloved daughter would have had more help, other than pills shoved at her. She took her own life October 2017. Miss her terribly everyday, but I know she is finally at peace.

    1. Lynne M.,
      Another brilliant article, thank you. Hopefully, in the future health care providers will address the imbalance in the patients body instead of pushing pills.
      Lynne G., I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your daughter. May G-d comfort you and your family.

  5. A former boyfriend told me his college-era "depression " was "cured" when he finally was no longer chronically sleep-deprived.

  6. Thanks so much for this and all your research, and for sharing it with us. I'm sharing this too...
    Heart's compassion to you and your child, Lynne G. Change is on the way.

  7. I can't wait to hear how negative intention affects people, that's what I think a lot of mental illness is about is negativity , also unliberated situations that people are in and the lack of feeling they have power over the situation itself, the unseen forces against women and blacks to keep them subjugated.....

  8. I believe there’s another factor that can be taken into further consideration, when discussing depression: expression. Many years ago, Dr. David Viscott offered this: He described a descending scale of emotions, in which an individual experiences an unexpressed, psychic pain or hurt. Anger builds while dwelling on the suppressed situation, guilt follows & depression is the final destination. Withholding feelings is denying our inherent right & responsibility to be authentically self-expressed. So, next time, try saying, “Ouch!”

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