If I had diabetes, cancer, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, etc., and I prayed really, really hard could I expect to be cured without medication? Didn't the bible tell us that "...those that are well need not a Physician, but those that are sick"? You and so many others like you think that problems can be prayed away, and you're right, they can sometimes! Bi-polar disorder is a chemical imbalance in the brain. There are medications that can help some forms of the disease and there are some, like me, that are very rapid cyclers that have no medication that can help. Perhaps instead of telling people that they need to focus on God and prayer you should be telling troubled, suicidal people that God sent Physicians for that purpose and that his answer could be there. To tell a suicidal person that he or she isn't praying hard enough or reading their Bible enough and is selfish is like telling a person with stage 5 cancer that they just haven't prayed hard enough to be healed. It's like telling a person with diabetes that if they pray hard enough they shouldn't have to take that insulin, it's all their fault, right? Please, how about you praying a little bit more for guidance before you do more damage to an already incredibly mislead public. Most mental disorders are treatable with medication. Send these people to Doctors, that's where God said they need to be.
My response is in Green:
Well you have managed to misjudge me and misrepresent mental illness too. I have never told people not to go to doctors or that they should not use medications, however, I have said and I will continue to say that God should be the first place they should go.
You are right that the public is incredibly mislead, but not in the way you think. See the public thinks that everything can be treated with medication and with counseling, but that is not true. Let's take bi-polar for example. You list it with all those other diseases, but you are mixing apples and oranges. See for a disease to be a real disease it has to have a clear cut medical diagnosis. Does bi-polar fit that? No, it is a very subjective diagnosis. Let me explain. What chemical is your brain out of balance with? Which chemical is it that you don't have enough of? How little of that chemical do you have? How did they test for that imbalance. You know as well as I do that the diagnosis is made by what the patient tells the doctor. That is not true of other diseases. No doctor would give a person insulin for example just because of what a person told the doctor. Nor would a doctor treat any of the other diseases without making a diagnosis medically.
That is not to say that bi-polar can't be caused by a chemical imbalance, but I am saying that there are no medical test to confirm or deny the disease, so it is not as clear cut as you make it sound. If you are truly interested in this issue then you should read a couple books on the subject. The first one is Manufacturing Victims by Dr. Tana Dineen who is a secular psychologist. She does not tell people to go to God, but she does tell about how people are bilked out of thousands of dollars in treatments that do no good. The second book is America Fooled; The Truth About Antidepressants, Antipsychotics and How We've Been Deceived by Dr. Timothy Scott
You said that you cycle so fast that medications don't work. What does that mean? Do you mean that the imbalance in your brain changes too fast? One day it is low on one chemical and the next day it is another chemical? Yes I am being overly blunt here, but that is my point. You accuse me of not praying for guidance before I talk to people, although you have no idea how much I pray. You also make statements that are not medical fact and even refute them with your own story, yet you tell me that I am misguided.
I would agree with you that God has given us medical science to improve our lives, but that does not mean that He is no longer helping people. If you have a medical disorder or disease than by all means see a medical doctor, but if you have a problem with your moods and actions then maybe God is where you need to go for treatment. We all deal with ups and downs. Some are caused by medical problems and that should be ruled out by a medical doctor. Things like thyroid imbalances can cause mood swings, but are easily checked medically. Some brain diseases can alter a person's moods, but again they are easily diagnosed medically and treated. There are many more medical conditions that can cause these problems but all of them are easily diagnosed and treated. If none of them are found, the person does not need 'talking' therapy from a godless system invented by godless men. That is what psychology is, it is a godless system invented by godless men. It is not medical science given to us by God.
In fact God is pretty clear what He thinks of man's wisdom: (Jeremiah 17:5-9 NIV) This is what the LORD says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.  He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.  "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.  He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."  The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
I have seen and heard from many people who are just as God describes; a bush in the wastelands, not seeing prosperity when it comes. I don't mean to be hard on you, but I get tired of people trying to tell me I am wrong for pointing people to God. I get tired of people telling me that I am doing more harm than good by telling people not to take medications. That is a lie, because I have not told anyone not to take medications. I have said that medications are over used and often don't do anything other than mask the real problem. I stand by that statement.
It makes me sick to hear from "Christians" who deny God's goodness and mercy and His healing power. Or who tell me that I should just shut up about God and point people to the godless system of psychology. I hope that they tell me that out of ignorance. Just read the messages I have posted on my suicide page; http://www.behindthebadge.net/suicide/index.html and then tell me I am wrong. Many of the people who wrote me state that they have taken medication for years or that they have changed medications numerous times and now nothing works. Many claim to be Christians, yet they are thinking about suicide. If God does not love you enough to help you now or if He is not powerful enough to help you now, why would you trust your soul to Him for all of eternity?
I would encourage you to read the two books that I have listed. They will give you some real insights into this matter. I will not tell you to quit seeing doctors, but I would tell you that you should judge everything they tell you by God's word. Medical science won't go against God's word, but much of psychology does. Find out for yourself what the real medical diagnosis is for your illness; is there a medical test for it? Or is it a subjective best guess and treatment that may or may not work?
Below is an article which appeared in the Washington Post. It pretty well explains itself. Notice that this article does not address God at all, but it does give some very interesting facts. Look at what the experts have to say about this 'medical science.' I am only going to quote parts of the article but if you would like to look it up for yourself it was by By Shankar Vedantam, Washington Post Staff Writer, printed: Tuesday, May 7, 2002
After thousands of studies, hundreds of millions of prescriptions and tens of billions of dollars in sales, two things are certain about pills that treat depression: Antidepressants like Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft work. And so do sugar pills.
A new analysis has found that in the majority of trials conducted by drug companies in recent decades, sugar pills have done as well as --or better than -- antidepressants. Companies have had to conduct numerous trials to get two that show a positive result, which is the Food and Drug Administration's minimum for approval.
Placebos -- or dud pills -- have long been used to help scientists separate the "real" effectiveness of medicines from the "illusory" feelings of patients. The placebo effect -- the phenomenon of patients feeling better after they've been treated with dud pills --is seen throughout the field of medicine. But new research suggests that the placebo may play an extraordinary role in the treatment of depression -- where how people feel spells the difference between sickness and health.
The new research may shed light on findings such as those from a trial last month that compared the herbal remedy St. John's wort against Zoloft. St. John's wort fully cured 24 percent of the depressed people who received it, and Zoloft cured 25 percent -- but the placebo fully cured 32 percent.
His analysis of 96 antidepressant trials between 1979 and 1996 showed that in 52 percent of them, the effect of the antidepressant could not be distinguished from that of the placebo. Khan said the makers of Prozac had to run five trials to obtain two that were positive, and the makers of Paxil and Zoloft had to run even more. He analyzed trials that were made public in the medical literature, which tend to show positive results, and those that were not.
"It speaks to the difficulty we have in classifying and identifying the disorders we deal with," said Thomas Laughren, who heads the group of scientists at the FDA that evaluates the medicines. "Psychiatric diagnosis is descriptive. We don't really understand psychiatric disorders at a biological level." In layman's terms what he is saying is that they don't have a medical explanation for the disorder or for the treatment, it is all subjective.
Patients with similar symptoms, he explained, may have different problems with their brain chemistry. Scientists don't understand the neural mechanisms of depression -- or why medicines like Prozac and Paxil work. See they don't understand the problem or why the medications work, they just use them because it appears they work.
"We like to think we give people treatments and they get better," said Andrew Leuchter, a professor of psychiatry at UCLA. "We have this fallacy of success, but we don't know in any individual why they get better. Undoubtedly one of those factors is the time we spend with people and the connectedness that gives patients." Hum, if it is just the connectedness that is helping these patients, just think what brothers and sisters in Christ could do to help them.
Some observers assert that the medicines themselves work because of the placebo effect, but most psychiatrists believe the drugs do have an effect of their own. Drugs are a "placebo-plus" treatment, said Helen Mayberg, head of neuropsychiatry at the Rotman Research Institute at the University of Toronto. It is possible that the medications only work because people believe they will work. Do you get the irony? If a Christian just believes that God will help them, even if He didn't they would probably get better because of the placebo effect. Now add to that the fact that God will help them and you have a real break through!!
Mayberg likened depression to a room with a hole in one window.
"You are trying to set a thermostat -- it's 100 degrees outside and you want it to be 70," she said. "If you set the thermostat to 70, that doesn't work. But if I set my thermostat to 50, that fools the system and gets the temperature back to 70."
Both drugs and placebos -- chemicals and beliefs -- may impose different chemical pressures on the brain that reset the "temperature." The real problem, of course, is that no one knows how to fix the hole in the window, or even where exactly it is. "This is a thousand-piece puzzle with no picture on the box," sighed Mayberg. 'no one knows how to fix the hole in the window, or even where exactly it is.' These are the people I am suppose to encourage people to seek out for help?
Blackmon, the Washington psychiatrist, said it behooved mental health clinicians to better integrate the power of biological treatments with the effects of belief and therapy.
"We would say it's absurd if an internist says, 'I believe in penicillin, so everyone should get penicillin whether they have cancer or a broken bone," he said.
So there you have it from the experts. "Psychiatric diagnosis is descriptive. We don't really understand psychiatric disorders at a biological level." "We have this fallacy of success, but we don't know in any individual why they get better." The doctors admit they don't know what the disease is, or how it gets better yet they treat it with drugs. Like I said, I will not tell anyone not to take medications but at least I can tell them I do know that God understands their problems and He can help.
E-Mail Ralph (whose comments are in green)
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