“I once read about a Muslim man who was locked up in a Psychiatric hospital by his family. He begged a young Psychiatrist for help and repeated the Fatihah over and over again. What really got to me was the response of the Psychiatrist. He brushed the man off and could not see how that the man was calling for spiritual help. The most disturbing part for me was that the Psychiatrist himself was a Muslim.”
Popular 21st century medicine categorizes mental health and mental health problems along narrow and highly mechanical definitions of social, psychological and brain functioning. Mental health “problems” are identified being either of a neurotic nature (psychological disorders without physiological cause, such as certain forms of phobias) or psychotic. A psychosis can be caused by outside factors such as social problems, as well as by internal factors such as metabolic problems, as well as by brain damage. The lines between what is considered neurotic and psychotic are very flux and get constantly re-defined by medicinal, psychiatric and psychological professionals.
“While some psychiatric medication can be valuable to intervene with self-destrutive and debilitating mental distress symptoms they are only in exceptional circumstance justifyable as a permanent treatment.”
Psychotic disorders (the list is not exhaustive) include Schizophrenia, Bi-polar disorder (manic-depressive), Depression, Drug-Withdrawal Symptoms, Manias, Dementia, Personality-Disorders and various forms of Amnesia. All too often very common symptoms of mental unwell-being get declared to be psychotic without proper diagnosis of the entire medicinal, social and personal spectrum of a patient. In other words: Who ever shows signs of mental or social unwellness, however short a period that may be and for whatever reason, can very quickly find themselves labelled as “psychotic”. While some psychiatric medication can be valuable to intervene with self-destrutive and debilitating mental distress symptoms they are only in exceptional circumstance justifyable as a permanent treatment.
“All psychiatric medication come with a wide range of side effects and most patients take a cocktail of psychiatric medications (cocktails of 8 different drugs and more are not unheard of) to counter the various side effects and end up being both drug addicted and debilitated.”
The common treatments for both neurosis and psychosis used to be either talk-therapy/psychotherapy within the various established guidelines of the psychological profession combined with a treatment of psychiatric medication. Medication is favored by psychiatrists. However, medication is increasingly also favored by psychologists. Psychiatric medication can be prescribed by anybody with a medical degree, which includes general medical practisioners who have no in-depth training in neither psychology nor psychiatry. Unknown to many is the fact that most prescriptions for psychiatric medications such as for tranquilizers (such as valium), barbiturates (sleeping pills) and neuroleptika (such as Haldol) are issued by these general practisioners. All psychiatric medication come with a wide range of side effects and most patients take a cocktail of psychiatric medications (cocktails of 8 different drugs and more are not unheard of) to counter the various side effects and end up being both drug addicted and debilitated.
The drastic increase in the diagnosis of psychotic disorders in the populations world-wide has a couple of reasons, ranging from financial interests of the medicial professionals (who tend to be on reward schemes of pharmaceutical companies), the pharmaceutical industry and their marketing strategies, the discovery (or invention, depending on the point of view) of ever more psychotic disorders that require medication (ADD, Autism and so on), to the targeting of individuals, families and children through the State run social and medical care systems that increasingly enforce psychiatric medications on people to ensure “normal (mechanical) functioning”. Add to this a general mood of crisis, instability, war and diplacement, the worldwide financial crisis and so on and so forth, and the role of psychiatry in all this becomes rather questionable.
One wonders how anybody can deny any Muslim the belief, that torturers are possessed by evil ideas. Such evil ideas can also be described as spirits as they have in many ways a life on it’s own and have an overall occult signature to them. Certain dimensions of cruelty leave the human realm and appear other worldly for good reason.
The psychiatric profession is regularly critisized to be a tool of political groups and State interests and it is indeed so, that personal, political and social problems are not dealt with any longer in the liberal market dystopia, but are controlled through tools such as surveillance and psychiatry and it’s arsenal of medications, and “treatments” such as electro-shock which has gone through a disturbing PR make over since the 90s. It is more then just a side-note when I add here, that psychiatrists are part of the regular staff at Guantanamo Bay and that inmates are regularly ‘injected with mind altering drugs such as Haldol as well as chemically “restrained”. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/sj.2015.7
One wonders how anybody can deny anybody, not just Muslims, the belief, that torturers are possessed by evil ideas. Such evil ideas can also be described as evil spirits as they have in many ways a life on it’s own. Certain dimensions of cruelty leave the human realm and appear other worldly for good reason. Terrorist, drone soldier, torturer, populist politicans, conflict stirers, weapon dealers – what absurd and appaling, yet ever so powerful evil possesses them?
The Islamic believe in Jinn and other spirit beings has become a standard stereotype about Muslims when one starts talking about “Islam and Psychosis”. On the other hand one discovers quickly that Modernity’s (I use this term in a traditional sense, although I am not per se Anti-Modern) relationship to Muslims and the Islamic believe-systems reveals an endless amount about it’s own psychotic functioning, and the “bad spirits” and bad ideas that possess certain aspects of modern medicine and it’s “Menschenbild” (definition of humanity). It is for this reason – to look closer as the relationship of “Islam and Psychosis” – that I am writing this short series on “Islam and Psychosis”. If you want to receive updates please subscribe to the newsletter.
In this series:
Islam and Psychosis, Part 1: The Psychiatric Dystopia
Islam and Psychosis, Part 2: Islamic traditions of mental health care and treatment
Islam and Psychosis, Part 3: Sadqa eats the Demon