12972About Drugs and Meditation
- Jun 19, 2004
Comments to Annas and Jasons mail:
I would like to offer my way of looking at this.
To make it short and simple: Anxiety comes in many disguises
with a broad spectrum of symptoms from mild situation-caused
discomfort trough chronic anxiety disorder to full blown panic,
where the person suffering is convinced of imminent death.
There is no real danger involved, but it is very difficult for the sufferer to grasp,
as this fact is in gross contradiction to her very direct experience;
though the relative harmlessness can be perceived in between attacks.
I presume it all starts with a body feeling or an emotion that the mind
interprets as a sign of threat to the body or the self-esteem of the person.
Now, we all experiences this from time to time but are able to stop it from escalating,
whence the candidate for anxiety disorder has lost this brake and are thus incapable
of stopping the process. This gives rise to new emotional responses that can
aggravate the initial body feeling, give rise to muscular tensions,
release of stress hormones and mental catastrophe interpretations.
A circulus virtuosus is set in motion.
The bodily symptoms are often perceived very real, giving rise to unnecessary,
extensive and expensive medical investigations of internal organs.
The symptoms may dominate in the chest region, the abdomen or in various
muscle groups but the basic feeling is that there is something in the body
that is very wrong, that should not be there.
Something I will not accept the way it is.
So I am fighting it. Will get rid of it.
And this very fight is the heart of the problem.
In reality there is no other problem.
Anxious persons often get the advice from friends and even from therapists,
that they need to stop thinking these worrying thoughts,
but as the fact is, that we have no control over which thoughts appear in our minds,
this advice is impossible to practice and is therefore an additional,
not needed burden for the anxious person.
There is something to be done, though.
If we practice to examine the thoughts that appear and question their
truth-value before we accept them.
If we avoid identification with them, they lose their force over us.
So the fear is a part of the individual suvival mekanism.
Understood and acceptet as such it is not a problem.
The fear of the fear, is the problem.
I like to think of a little man sitting in the tunnel to the thought factory.
He is in charge of which thoughts to send up to us
but we have no control over him.
He is not malicious, though.
He just notice which kind of thoughts we prefer, that is,
which thoughts we give attention and time to.
These thoughts he sends up again and again presuming we like them.
If he should notice that we start to discard a certain type of thoughts,
their frequency will diminish. Thats the control we can have.
And as Jason says: The way out of anxiety is through it.
That is, it has to be accepted, not avoided, and once it is accepted
and understood - surrendered to - it is no more.
This thought modification is the essence of cognitive psychotherapy,
and here is help to be found within the medical system.
I am sure that meditation can be very helpful in quieting the mind
and learning to pay attention to whats going on there.
Observing it from the "outside" in a manner of speaking.
I also like Byron Katies simple method for proofreading of thoughts.
Clonazepam is a drug in the group of medications called Bensodiazepines,
used for the treatment of anxiety, epilepsy, sleep disorders and muscular tension.
These drugs have no curing potential and can only be used
for short duration symptom relief (Other than epilepsy).
They are addictive, but not impossible to get rid of.
If used for a long time, they have to be discontinued slowly
and supportively and it is very important that the underlying
anxiety- producing thought patterns are realized and corrected,
otherwise the patient is back where she started.
Bensodiazepines are not known to cause permanent brain damage.
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