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The Brain Is Not The Mind

The Thomas Tribune of Thomas, Oklahoma

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With every tragedy, "mental illness" gains greater publicity and plausibility.

From Mayo Clinic: "Mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions that affect moods, thinking and behavior: depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviors."

This vague, subjective definition allows almost anything that disrupts "normal life" to be labeled mental illness. This illogically puts deep sadness and schizophrenia in the same category. Accepting that definition has permitted unrestricted pharmacological intrusion into our culture.

Realistically, "mental health" simply describes mental thought patterns, with the attending emotions. The mind is not a physical entity that can be medicated. It must be renewed. There is a vast difference between a medicated brain and a renewed mind.

The brain can suffer such things as Alzheimer's, cancer or trauma injuries that require physical medical treatment because it's organic; a bodily part subject to malfunction or injury.

But how does "mental" become ill? The mind is the faculty by which one feels, perceives, thinks, remembers, and imagines, and is not physical or tangible. Even after the body and brain dies, the mind continues to work. Luke 16:19-28 tells of the rich man and the beggar, Lazarus. Both died. In torment, the rich man begged Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his five brothers to avoid this torment. Abraham said, "Son, remember that in life you received good things as Lazarus received bad things." The man clearly remembered his earthly life, even though his brain was buried with his body.

Even believers quickly accept the world's physical solutions for emotional struggles growing from a spiritual root. Chemicals produce a quick effect — sometimes negative, but always noticeable. But even though drugs quickly affect the physical body, they cannot affect the non-physical mind.

Taking pills is certainly easier than changing deeply rooted beliefs and thoughts. The huge increase in drug use is driven by the erroneous belief that medicating the brain is the same as renewing the mind. Believing this has created unsurpassed dependence on prescription and street drugs in America. As long as we believe drugs are the best solution, the demand for more and stronger drugs will increase

Depression, grief, addiction and anxiety are real, but not mental illnesses. The best solution for life's pain is not in a pill that numbs, but in retraining the mind so that our confidence in God's desire and ability to comfort, heal and provide in life's difficulties grows consistently. This Biblical approach is not a simplistic "just pray more" Band-Aid. It's a call to believers to stop thinking the way the world presses us to think; instead thinking in agreement with our Heavenly Father.

Wrong thinking always produces fear, depression and anxiety. Retraining our thoughts is hard work, but pays great dividends — not only in Heaven; on earth as well. The battle is lifelong, but becomes easier as new thought-habits gain strength.

Ask the Lord for wisdom, then listen. Jesus deeply desires that we increasingly enjoy the freedom He died to give us: including freedom from control of anxiety, depression, grief and drugs.

If you choose to make this change, don't stop taking medications suddenly. They are powerful chemicals, and stopping suddenly can have a dangerous physical effect. Talk to your doctor about the changes you desire, and follow his advice on how to carefully wean off the drugs as you seek discipleship with a mature believer



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Original Publication Date: November 5, 2015



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