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Keeping Our Mind

July 21, 2014
  • No Side Effects

    No Side Effects

    A mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life. […] Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion or income (source: National Alliance on Mental Illness)

  • The social stigma associated with mental disorders is a widespread problem. The US Surgeon General stated in 1999 that: “Powerful and pervasive, stigma prevents people from acknowledging their own mental health problems, much less disclosing them to others” (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_disorder#Perception_and_discrimination)
  • In many ways, our brain is the least understood part of the human body. An “enchanted loom” is how Charles Sherrington described the interconnected net of cells that makes up our three-pound control center. Indeed, there is something almost magical in the notion that all our mental processes, from perception to memory to consciousness itself, can be described entirely by cellular activity in the brain. The basic functional unit of the brain is the neuron, a special cell that sends electrochemical signals to other neurons and thereby creates those patterns that make up what we think of as the mind. The complexity of the task requires a fairly inconceivable 100 billion neurons, interconnected via trillions of synapses. A single firing neuron might communicate to thousands of others in a single moment. No computer comes close to the complexity of these communicating bits of organic matter (source: http://www.livescience.com/32311-how-many-cells-are-in-the-brain.html)
  • In an effort to help people with mental illnesses, pharmaceutical companies are looking for ways to suppress or mitigate the impact of mental illness. In 2010, one in five adult Americans took at least one psychiatric medication. Because we still understand so little about the brain, many of these solutions can address only the symptoms. While these drugs help, there is a risk that prescribing drugs are an easy “fix”. The side effects of these drugs can be serious.
  • Because of the social stigma around mental disorders, those with this medical condition run the risk of living in secrecy or even living isolated lives. Community is an important element in helping people cope with mental illness. A caring community is one of the ways God has given us to face the challenge of mental health. And there are no side effects to surrounding those in need with the love of Jesus.

 

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