Psychiatry and the Catholic Viewpoint

Started by PA_SS, May 16, 2023, 10:01:52 PM

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PA_SS

Hello everyone!

I would just like to ask regarding something that seems to be quite normalized today as mental health issues are on the surge. Sometimes, a consultation with the priest is enough, but there are some who have been affected since birth by mental disorders. And with the usual norms of treatment in today's society, one would often recommend consultation to a psychiatrist.

So here are the questions:
Is Psychiatry against the Catholic Faith?
Health-wise is it the best solution for mental illnesses? (If you know much about this one.)

Would appreciate the answers  :) 🙏

Francisco Javier

Quote from: Gregory_S on May 16, 2023, 10:01:52 PMHello everyone!

I would just like to ask regarding something that seems to be quite normalized today as mental health issues are on the surge. Sometimes, a consultation with the priest is enough, but there are some who have been affected since birth by mental disorders. And with the usual norms of treatment in today's society, one would often recommend consultation to a psychiatrist.

So here are the questions:
Is Psychiatry against the Catholic Faith?
Health-wise is it the best solution for mental illnesses? (If you know much about this one.)

Would appreciate the answers  :) 🙏


the etymology of psychiatry is "doctor of the soul" so there is certainly a reasonable suspicion that surrounds it. Modern man has sought to replace the confessional with the therapist's couch, which will certainly fail to offer the answers needed.

There's also the issue that most of our modern diseases are at least linked to poor situations: obesity, lack of exercise, lack of gratitude, constant stimulation, likely plastics causing inflammation, high rates of childhood abuse. This has coincided with the loss of cultural institutions, the destruction of ethnic cohesion, and a takeover of capital devaluing labor - and with it, a working man's sense of worth.

I think we need to only look at the skyrocketing rates of depression to see that women are most affected of anyone - particularly the single never married women with many ex-boyfriends. They can get chemicals to try to blunt their pain and existential failure, but the ultimate cause will never be solved with psychiatry.

That said, there are certainly people who have what can only be described as diseases. We can see some of this evidence on a genetic level, so it's not entirely situational - although these things can trigger an episode of depression or other serious mental conditions.

Sometimes depression strikes people who have it all from an objective standpoint - they can have a perfect job and family and feel well loved, but feel complete emptiness and struggle to even get out of bed. These people are certainly suffering and really should look into treatment options. 

We have (strong) evidence that anti-depressants reduce suicidality and can offer some relief from the suffering of depression. In some individuals, certain medication can really mess with a person's mood so it's important to be very cautious when starting new medications and tell your doctor immediately how they impact you. It's probable that you might need to try several anti-depressants to find something that works. It also often takes months for any benefit to manifest itself.

This isn't to say that anti-depressants ought to always be first line response to someone having the blues. It should be noted that some benefit of anti-depressants (perhaps 1/3) is due to placebo. We also have solid secular evidence that daily exercise and a gratitude journal can give a beneficial effect equal or greater to half of what we see with anti-depressants. This isn't to say it's either pharmaceutical or natural, but sometimes a both/and approach might be necessary. Many conservative doctors recommend this exercise+gratitude as a first line approach before adding medication. Sometimes medication is necessary to get you out of the slump that allows you to fix your life to the point where you no longer need the medication.

There is also clear benefit for mood stabilizers in the case of bipolar disease, and anti-psychotics in bipolar and schizophrenia.

I'd highly recommend Dr. Aaron Kheriaty's book "A Catholic Guide to Depression." It has an imprimatur and is written by a Catholic doctor who was trained as a psychiatrist. It addresses many of the issues you brought up with great approachability for lay readers.

He's not compromised by the medical establishment either - he lost his job as Director of Medical Ethics at University of California - Irvine because he refused to go along with the Covid vaccine craziness.

PA_SS

#2
Thank you very much for the response Francisco, I'll check out the book if I can.

God bless!