Boinkie's Blog

Universalis

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Depression

Prozac joke.

Actually, prozac usually doesn't make people high or happy (although tranquillizers can do that). It merely makes people feel more normal.

However, a small subset of patients with the tendency toward bipolar illness (what used to be called Manic depressive) can flip from depression into a manic mood when treated with an antidepression medicine.

So yes, it's funny...not quite true but funny.

But depression is serious. And I have a long post about it at Bloggernews LINK

The spiritual part of the article is excerpted below:

Most mild depressions that go along with life go away with no treatment. So many of those we docs see and prescribe medicine never take the pills, and get better simply because we listened to them.

But I used to remind my patients that they couldn’t separate the head from the body, nor the mind from the body and the body from the soul. And that is where a good doctor comes in handy if a simple depression doesn’t go away.

Medical problems can cause depression, and so can chemical imbalances in the brain.

There is no talk therapy that cures a major depression, or the depressive phase of a bipolar illness. Some things need psychiatrists and strong medicine. If you don’t treat a person with severe depression, some of them commit suicide. You don’t tell a person with pneumonia to “put up with it so your body will get stronger” because people die of pneumonia. Similarly we don’t tell a deeply depressed person: put up with it and you’ll get over it, because some of them don’t get over it, they get dead.

.....Part of the exam is to check for medical causes of depression. Several times I have diagnosed “depression” only to have the lab tests come back later and show thyroid problems or anemia or diabetes or mild hepatitis. Which is, of course, why I did the lab tests in the first place: to check out problems that didn’t show on exam.

But sometimes more subtle reasons for the depression are revealed:unresolved grief, unforgiveness, or guilt over doing something wrong.

I remember one lady who was in counselling and on prozac who came to me for her refill. She was not feeling better, and since the appointment with our psychiatrist was not for another six weeks, I started probing various issues. I knew she was active in a certain church, and I asked if she had asked for them to lay hands on her to ask God to heal her…and she began to cry… for behind her depression was a terrible and unresolved anger against God after watching her mother die of lung cancer. She was ashamed to admit this anger, and indeed she saw it as the unforgivable sin. This ended up in a long discussion and suggestions to make an appointment with a different pastor who was good in grief counselling. Alas, not all pastors have ever gone through the crisis of faith that leads to a more mature concept of God, but there are some, and every good doctor and psychologist have a list of which pastor is good for this type of counseling.

For guilt, unforgiveness/anger and grief, a mature religion is better at these things than psychology. And many traditional religions and belief systems have Sacraments, prayer services, laying on of hands, cermonies and sings that have a communal aspect and a connection to the deity that helps a troubled soul by assuring them of love of their fellow man, love of the deity, and that there may be no easy answer, but there will be an ultimate answer.

In summary, depression has physical, biochemical, mental, and spiritual roots, but we docs are better at treating the biochemical and physical aspect. But often this is enough, since by decreasing the lethargy of depression, a person then is able to work on the psychological roots (i.e. cognitive therapy) or the spiritual ones.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Latin mass

I suspect is has more to do with reverence and worship than with language.

When I lived in an area where "we celebrate outselves" stuff was going on, I was half tempted to hear mass at one of the PiusX chapels. If the chapel had been closer I very may have done so.

But for Asia, it's less of a problem. Ditto Africa. Latin in Europe/US reminds us of our roots, going `1500 years back to a time when Latin was the language of most people.
But now English would fit that bill in Asia and Africa (and French to a lesser extent).

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Ten commandments of the road...well, duh.

About a week ago, Vatican bureaucrats issued the “Ten commandments of the road”. Well, duh.

One blog I read wondered what the “average” Catholic thought of them, and I commented: we don’t think of them at all. The dirty little secret is that the Vatican bureaucracy is full of people who rverify the truth of the Peter’s principal:
In every hierarchy, whether it be government or business, each employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence; every post tends to be filled by an employee incompetent to execute its duties.Robert Miller in FirstThings is even more cynical about the paper, perhaps because unlike myself, he actually had to read it. His impression:

Now no one denies that, while driving, we ought to be safe and courteous, try to avoid accidents, and generally observe the traffic laws. In fact, that is precisely my point—everyone knows we ought do these things. No one has a brief for unsafe roads or drunk driving or road rage. In an era of the most profound and heated moral disagreements over truly life-and-death issues, safe driving is one of the extremely few things that everyone agrees on. Hence, a lengthy disquisition on the subject backed up with pompous theological bloviations is utterly bizarre.

What we have here, in fact, is a bureaucracy wildly out of control. It’s as if some ecclesiastical Dr. Frankenstein patched together a high school drivers-ed manual and the Compendium of Catholic Social Thought to produce some raving intellectual monstrosity let loose on the world to announce most solemnly the most absurd banalities decorated with irrelevant quotations from Scripture and the Second Vatican Council.

Poor man. He hasn’t figured it out yet. The trick is to take an EvelynWood’s Speed reading course, skim the papers at 3000 words per minute, put check marks next to paragraphs that you think are good (or in this case inane), and summarize it in three words:
Drive carefully, stupid. when catholics drive too fast
(Illustration at right: When Catholics drive too fast)

Having worked in the Federal and state systems as a doctor, I am aware of such things. We always were sent loads of stuff to read that were carefully filed in the round “file cabinet” beneath my desk.

When there was actually something we needed to know, one of us would plow thru it and summarize it for the rest. For example, when there was the smallpox scare, since I have third world experience I was the one plowing through the intricate plans on what to do, which had everything thought out in detail down to the number of bathrooms needed.

Now, one does need some of these things: one of the tradgedies of Hurricane Katrina is that the public hospitals didn’t bother to figure out that you need to evacuate before the hurricane, and that if your hospital is twenty feet below sea level, you don’t put your generators in the basement.

But a lot of the regulations are merely filed so that when bureaucrats inspect your clinic or hospital, you can show them that you have the information..

So who writes these things? In medicine, the joke was they were written by Pediatricians who got tired of midnight phone calls from mothers about things like headlice or teething…so they went into administration.

People at the head offices have to justify their salaries, so they make regulations and reports that no one reads. In one meeting room, an entire wall was filled with such reports and regulations: and they only were the regulations for the past five years. And that was just the federal registry, not including all the medical regulations.
Hopefully, instead of killing trees, we will now fill the walls with CD’s of PDF files, so that in the remote case we need to find something, our fingers can do the walking using Google Desktop instead of spending hours trying to figure out where it is.

As for the Vatican, they now can congratulate themselves that their pronouncements received attention, and that Catholics now will drive more safely because Cardinal Martino said they should.

And if you believe that, you’re obviously a Baptist.

(posted on Bloggernews.net)



Labels:

Ten commandments of the road...well, duh.

About a week ago, Vatican bureaucrats issued the “Ten commandments of the road”. Well, duh.

One blog I read wondered what the “average” Catholic thought of them, and I commented: we don’t think of them at all. The dirty little secret is that the Vatican bureaucracy is full of people who rverify the truth of the Peter’s principal:
In every hierarchy, whether it be government or business, each employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence; every post tends to be filled by an employee incompetent to execute its duties.Robert Miller in FirstThings is even more cynical about the paper, perhaps because unlike myself, he actually had to read it. His impression:

Now no one denies that, while driving, we ought to be safe and courteous, try to avoid accidents, and generally observe the traffic laws. In fact, that is precisely my point—everyone knows we ought do these things. No one has a brief for unsafe roads or drunk driving or road rage. In an era of the most profound and heated moral disagreements over truly life-and-death issues, safe driving is one of the extremely few things that everyone agrees on. Hence, a lengthy disquisition on the subject backed up with pompous theological bloviations is utterly bizarre.

What we have here, in fact, is a bureaucracy wildly out of control. It’s as if some ecclesiastical Dr. Frankenstein patched together a high school drivers-ed manual and the Compendium of Catholic Social Thought to produce some raving intellectual monstrosity let loose on the world to announce most solemnly the most absurd banalities decorated with irrelevant quotations from Scripture and the Second Vatican Council.

Poor man. He hasn’t figured it out yet. The trick is to take an EvelynWood’s Speed reading course, skim the papers at 3000 words per minute, put check marks next to paragraphs that you think are good (or in this case inane), and summarize it in three words:
Drive carefully, stupid. when catholics drive too fast
(Illustration at right: When Catholics drive too fast)

Having worked in the Federal and state systems as a doctor, I am aware of such things. We always were sent loads of stuff to read that were carefully filed in the round “file cabinet” beneath my desk.

When there was actually something we needed to know, one of us would plow thru it and summarize it for the rest. For example, when there was the smallpox scare, since I have third world experience I was the one plowing through the intricate plans on what to do, which had everything thought out in detail down to the number of bathrooms needed.

Now, one does need some of these things: one of the tradgedies of Hurricane Katrina is that the public hospitals didn’t bother to figure out that you need to evacuate before the hurricane, and that if your hospital is twenty feet below sea level, you don’t put your generators in the basement.

But a lot of the regulations are merely filed so that when bureaucrats inspect your clinic or hospital, you can show them that you have the information..

So who writes these things? In medicine, the joke was they were written by Pediatricians who got tired of midnight phone calls from mothers about things like headlice or teething…so they went into administration.

People at the head offices have to justify their salaries, so they make regulations and reports that no one reads. In one meeting room, an entire wall was filled with such reports and regulations: and they only were the regulations for the past five years. And that was just the federal registry, not including all the medical regulations.
Hopefully, instead of killing trees, we will now fill the walls with CD’s of PDF files, so that in the remote case we need to find something, our fingers can do the walking using Google Desktop instead of spending hours trying to figure out where it is.

As for the Vatican, they now can congratulate themselves that their pronouncements received attention, and that Catholics now will drive more safely because Cardinal Martino said they should.

And if you believe that, you’re obviously a Baptist.

(posted on Bloggernews.net)



Labels: