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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Who Is Crazy?

Mental illness is rampant in human society. A great deal of crime is committed by the mentally ill, and clearly many of the world's worst leaders - if not all - were and are paranoid sociopaths. We all know their names. But huge numbers of seemingly ordinary people also suffer serious disorders of the mind. A shocking report from Europe was issued in September, 2011:

Nearly Four In Ten Europeans Are Mentally Ill

(Reuters) - Europeans are plagued by mental and neurological illnesses, with almost 165 million people, or 38 percent of the population suffering each year from a brain disorder such as depression, anxiety, insomnia or dementia, according to a large new study.  (Italics mine).



With only about a third of cases receiving the therapy or medication needed, mental illnesses cause a huge economic and social burden -- measured in the hundreds of billions of euros -- as sufferers become too unwell to work and personal relationships break down.... At the same time, some big drug companies are backing away from investment in research on how the brain works and affects behavior, putting the onus on governments and health charities to stump up funding for neuroscience.


"The immense treatment gap ... for mental disorders has to be closed," said Hans Ulrich Wittchen, director of the institute of clinical psychology and psychotherapy at Germany's Dresden University and the lead investigator on the European study.... Wittchen's team looked at about 100 illnesses covering all major brain disorders from anxiety and depression to addiction to schizophrenia, as well as major neurological disorders including epilepsy, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis....


Wittchen led a three-year study covering 30 European countries -- the 27 European Union member states plus Switzerland, Iceland and Norway -- and a population of 514 million people. (end of report)

The situation is almost certainly as bad in the U.S. and the rest of the world. This is equivalent to the great plagues of history, which were common until antibiotics were invented. Mentally ill people suffer terribly, and they also cause others around them to suffer. Many will 'project' their disease outward, and accuse normal people around them of being ill. If they are in positions of authority this is extremely dangerous.

The really tragic thing is that we don't have a cure. In spite of deep scientific study since Sigmund Freud in the late 19th Century, mental illness persists. It's true that many advances in drug therapy have controlled the symptoms, and people can often live almost normal lives if they have access to them. But cures remain elusive.

This author's experience is that religious faith is a cure for all illness, pain, and suffering. With willpower and faith in God's goodness the human mind can work miracles within our bodies. God is life, and life is good. Goodness and life can conquer all disease, even the disease of death. Prayer is extremely powerful, and faith will come with prayer. That faith will magnify prayer, and the effect will build and strengthen.

Now is a good time to pray.This is as good as any prayer ever written:

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee

Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so:
For those whom thou thinkest thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death; nor yet canst thou kill me.
From Rest and Sleep, which but thy picture be,
Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow;
And soonest our best men with thee do go--
Rest of their bones and souls' delivery!
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke. Why swellest thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
 And Death shall be no more: Death, thou shalt die!

- John Donne  (1572 - 1631)