Healthwise: Mindfulness can treat mental health issues

After its release in 1992, the selective serotonin receptor inhibitor, Paxil (paroxetine) was widely prescribed by physicians to treat a variety of psychological conditions, including major depressive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, seasonal affective disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and social anxiety.

It seemed like a wonder drug for psychiatry and a profitable molecule for the drug company.

Though the SSRI anti-depressant drugs are not addictive, once patients were taking Paxil, it was hard to stop.

This particular molecule has a very short half life, resulting in prominent withdrawal symptoms.

Over 20 years later, one of my treatments of choice for an even greater variety of problems – including depression, anxiety, teenage angst, midlife crisis, anger management problems, addictions, chronic pain, relationship problems and general unhappiness – is not addictive and it doesn’t profit any organization or individual – just the patients themselves and those who live with them.

What I recommend is mindfulness.

Though it’s not a drug, to be effective, it has to be practised at least daily if not throughout most of each day.

It may seem simple, but it requires practice to stick.

Though many people think of mindfulness as only meditation or just being in the present moment, that’s just one way to start practice.

Meditation can bring you greater insight into your own mind.

It can bring sufficient calm to make you less reactive to your circumstances, the words and actions of others and your own thoughts and emotions.

Though mindfulness is based on the psychological principles discovered by Siddhartha Gautama, who lived in what is now Nepal about 500 years B.C., it is validated by modern neuroscience.

The Buddha was actually a historical individual who discovered the cause of human unhappiness: our aversions and our craving.


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