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Dear Dr. Matt,
My name is Brad. I'm 32 and single, living in Baltimore, Maryland.
I am diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I am taking oxazepam for the anxiety, and paroxetine for the depression. I went to my doctor and asked if there was any medications I could take to help with concentration problems. I can read a whole chapter of a book and not recall hardly any of it. My doctor said that he doesn't deal with that type of thing, and I should just keep reading the same information over and over until I can remember it. Whether it is pills or some kind of exercise, I need help.
Related Articles: The Myth of Mental Illness
Here are the common side effects of Serax, also know by the generic name oxazepam:
Clumsiness or unsteadiness; dizziness or lightheadedness; drowsiness; slurred speech blurred vision; changes in sexual desire or ability; false sense of well-being; headache; unusual tiredness.
Here are the common side effects of Paxil, also know by the generic name paroxedine:
Decreased sexual ability; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; headache; trembling or shaking; trouble in sleeping; unusual tiredness; Anxiety or nervousness; blurred vision; decreased sexual desire.
Side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, headache, tiredness, blurred vision, lightheadedness, slurred speech — all these effects are closely associated with one's inability to concentrate, or slurred thinking. I suggest that your inability to concentrate is due to the drugs you are taking.
For thousands of years of human history there were no drugs available for people to take when they felt depressed or anxious, so how did they make it through without drugs? Just fine, thank you! Why?
Because certain emotional states, like depression and anxiety, are actually tell-tale signs designed by our Creator to let us know when we've failed to live true to God-given intuitions of truth. And exactly what is that intuition? The Bible explains:
"After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people." (Jeremiah 31:33)
A truth echoed in the New Testament:
"This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them" (Hebrews 10:16)
When you and I live in harmony with the Law written on our Hearts, then "peace" is the promised harvest:
"Forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee." (Proverbs 3:1-2)
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith" (Galatians 5:22).
A former client wrote the following about taking an antidepressant drug prescribed by a doctor:
"Mainstream psychiatry has cause and effect reversed. I believe brain chemistry is affected by our behaviors, actions, and choices, more than those things are affected by brain chemistry. I used to try to lose weight and be thin, push myself too hard at work and at play, didn't trust anyone, didn't have any close relationships, was critical of myself and others.
I'm convinced that all of these choices resulted in reduced serotonin levels. But when I went to a doctor, rather than talk about my behaviors, he gave me a drug to raise serotonin levels. Then I was even worse off, stuck in bad behaviors and living an unhappy life, yet I was numb to my misery. The drug took away the pain that should have motivated me to change. Looking back on it, I can see that now; but at the time, I had no idea."
On the other hand, there are some bodily ailments that have purely biological causes, and what we choose to think and do has no effect upon the biologically-based disease. In such cases, a drug may cure the cause. For example, if a person has Malaria, then taking an anti-Malaria pill is precisely the right remedy — the Malaria goes away, because the cause has been cured by the medication.
Based upon my experience counseling with many people diagnosed with depression and anxiety, anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drugs do not cure the root cause; instead they merely mask symptoms. These drugs help a person temporarily cope with depressed and anxious emotions.
Better than masking over symptoms of depression or anxiety, is to fully feel our depressed or anxious feelings, and listen to what they are trying to teach us. Examine your Life and discover the choices and behaviors that correlate with your unwanted emotions.
Now when you discover the correlation, YOU will NOT be able to make your Life better simply by THINKING your way into a new direction. Why so? Because of truth taught by Albert Einstein: I call it Einstein's Mind Bind: You Can't Change Your Mind using the Same Mind that Needs Changing.
Drop the Drugs that are masking and muffling your symptoms, feel your pain and let it teach you what it will. Find the correlations between your pain (your depressed and anxious feeling). Discovering this correlation will be the KEY to curing the cause of your depression and anxiety.
Matt Moody, Ph.D.
thanks for your response, but the meds that i take are in fact helping me, i found doctors who listen and help, instead of just pushing their pills on you. i have been on other meds for bipolar disorder, which isn't what i have. Before you go and try to turn people away from all pills, maybe they do need them to make their lives better. If I didn't have my pills I might have lost it when I was watching my father die of cancer in our living room last July.
God might be your answer, but I need help to better my life. Thank you for your time, but I need something to help me focus on what I am reading so I don't have to read chapters 2 to 3 times at a time.
I hope you have a good day.
My intent was not to "try to turn people away from all pills." If you reread my answer, I recommended the anti-Malaria Pill. Why? Because the anti-Malaria Pill actually cures the cause of Malaria.
But drugs cannot cure the cause of depressed and anxious emotions; again, they can only mask the symptoms. Such drugs can help people temporarily cope with depressed and anxious emotions. Evidently, certain drugs have helped you cope through a trying time — but did not cure the cause.
My deceased father was a Medical Doctor and so is my oldest brother. Modern medicine offers many wonderful benefits.
Having a Ph.D. in Social Psychology, I am just smart enough to know that God is infinitely more intelligent and wise compared to the smartest of all human beings. I humbly acknowledge this truth:
"For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." (1 Cor. 3:19)
God's promise of "peace" (see Galations 5:22) will come to you even during the most trying of circumstances, as you are your faith in God is unwavering— I've experienced this is my own life, and have seen this blessing of peace in the lives of others, over and over again.
Above all, my intent is to turn people to their Creator — something you will eventually find is vitally important, if not in this life, then in the afterlife where you will reunite with your deceased father.
Matt Moody, Ph.D.
So what kind of Religion do you practice, my parents are Christian, I myself don't have a religious preference. I don't know what I believe, but I can't say that I believe in nothing at all. If heaven is there it is a nice dream, but why for every good dream is there a bad one, hell. Was organized religion just to keep people in line, easy to control. Is faith enough, but what if it is faith that keeps us down. I am also studying ethics, I am reading Ethics for Modern Life and I can't understand all of the back and forth points. All of my books seam to want to break things down so far that I get lost in the meaning. I did read your email, but like I said, I can't comprehend so much, because of my concentration.
Making a distinction between Religion and Spirituality is helpful:
Religion = Organizations that teach and support one's belief in God and developing a relationship with God.
Spirituality = A word to represent a person's close and continuing relationship with God.
My words were about "Spirituality" — apart from any particular involvement with religious organizations. Spirituality is about You & God: what you say to Him & what He says in response.
Quoting words from the Bible can teach a person how to have a close relationship with God. When we draw closer to God, He draws closer to us; it is then that we experience His promised blessings.
The Bible teaches that Jesus is the Son of God: Because He was without sin, only Jesus could fulfill the requirements of Divine Justice by suffering for the sins of the world. We take advantage of Christ's atonement in our behalf, as we believe in Him — which means to follow Him (see John 14:12)
The Bible teaches us why the possibilities of good and evil exist in this mortal world. Good and Evil are made possible through the exercise of human free will. Heavenly Father has given His children free will because the ability to choose good or evil is central to His purpose for mortal life (see Duet. 30: 14-16)
The evil that you see in this world is created by mortals who willfully choose actions that are malicious, unkind, abusive, and unloving. But without the freedom to choose evil, human beings could not choose good, of their own free will.
Virtue is only virtuous when it is freely chosen. God the Father wants to know which of His children will be faithful in choosing good — choosing to be kind, patient, and compassionate — when the opposite possibility is freely available.
That is one central reason why God has created a world where the possibility of choosing good or evil exists. The pathway to finding our Purpose is discovered in a Journey:
For this is the Journey that mortals make:
Pay attention to the correlations in your Life: Pay attention to the consequences that result from your choices:
Choose well and your life will be well.
Matt Moody, Ph.D.
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