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rs4000

Has anyone cured psychological disorder through Objectivism?

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Hello there, I'm new here.

My question is, has anyone ever cured a psychological disorder (such as depression or anxiety) through Objectivism? Or, do you know of anyone who has done so?

Are there any books or links as to how this was accomplished? Or any books or links that would shed light on this?

Thanks,

RS4000

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Anxiety is a tough one, and short of some extraordinary life changing event (surviving a plane crash for example), or help from a mental health professional, I doubt it's possible to pull yourself out, regardless of the philosophy...

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Anxiety is a tough one, and short of some extraordinary life changing event (surviving a plane crash for example), or help from a mental health professional, I doubt it's possible to pull yourself out, regardless of the philosophy...

Really? You don't think so?

How about a mild to moderate level of anxiety and a strong study and adherence to Objectivism?

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Standard disclaimer: I'm not a psychologist.

RS4000, It's not merely an issue of mild versus severe. It's also a question of the particular cause in the case of a particular person.

Take your example of depression. Is incorrect philosophy one of the causes, in the first place? Take a (probably atypical) case where the person is saying, "everything I know and believe tells me I ought not to be so depressed, but I am" or (more typically) someone who says, "sometimes I feel depressed and at other times I feel just fine". Something more is going on than incorrect philosophical premises.

There could be psychological issues that are at play, regardless of one's explicit acceptance of a philosophy. There could be old, bad habits at play. There could be physiological issues. So, a philosophy is just one component in the picture; and, it might well be a minor factor.

Having the right explicit ideas is a good base on which to build. So, philosophy provides that base; but it is not enough, if the issue is psychological. Also, there could be the case of a person who has some psychological issue before he learns a particular philosophy, and then he interprets the philosophy to fit that existing world-view -- anger at the world, or depression, or whatever -- using the philosophy as a rationalization for his pre-existing psychological approach.

Edited by softwareNerd

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Hello there, I'm new here.

My question is, has anyone ever cured a psychological disorder (such as depression or anxiety) through Objectivism? Or, do you know of anyone who has done so?

Are there any books or links as to how this was accomplished? Or any books or links that would shed light on this?

Thanks,

RS4000

There´s a great book related to the issue. Basically it states that most psychological disorders are caused by bad thinking and can be cured by improving it. You can see a analogy with curing a disorder by Objectivism. Nevertheless I don´t know any case where was patient cured directly by Objectivism.

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My take on this is that Objectivism gives you the proper method for determining the cause of your disorders, but that this is the science of psychology. However, the ideas in philosophy do not "cure" disorders that are primarily psychological without some understanding of the psychological mechanism of the disorder. That is, it cannot directly cure a disorder, but it give the science of psychology the tools to determine the mechanism of the disorder and cure it.

That all assumes that every disorder that modern psychology has classified is truly psychological in nature which I'm sure they are not. Many disorders today are really "syndromes" which are collections of symptoms that occur together but who root may not be psychological in nature. In that case, right thinking certianly might directly help.

I know that speaking from personal experience I think a philosophically sound and integrated person goes a long way toward a balanced psychology, but it is not the only thing that may be necessary. That is, for certian issues there are psychological techniques that may be required.

Two great Objectivist psychologists are Edwin Locke and Dr. Ellen Kenner. Both have lectured from and Objective perspective on psychological issues, and picking up a few of their tapes would give you a sense of how Objectivism relates to psychology.

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Two great Objectivist psychologists are Edwin Locke and Dr. Ellen Kenner. Both have lectured from and Objective perspective on psychological issues, and picking up a few of their tapes would give you a sense of how Objectivism relates to psychology.
I agree; also check out Edith Packer's lectures.

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In my own experience, while having a proper philosophy will not on its own cure deep-seated psychological problems, it is an absolutely invaluable tool for working around said problems and living a non-impaired life.

I personally suffer from moderate to severe social anxiety, which basically means that I am constantly bombarded with worries about what others think of me, and I have difficulty engaging in face-to-face or telephone conversations. My discovery of Objectivism and gradual integration of it into my life has done little to dispel the anxiety as such, but it has made an immense difference in how I respond to it and act in the face of it. Objectivism has allowed me to identify not only that acting on such emotions is irrational, but exactly why it is irrational, and to see clearly what the disastrous consequences of such action are for my life. I find that this often gives me the strength to act in the proper manner, regardless of my anxiety, and thus to accomplish things I otherwise likely would not have been able to do.

Your mileage may vary, but I think a rational (or at least mostly rational) philosophy is a necessary, although not a sufficient condition for resolving psychological ills. On the other hand, I am pretty new to Objectivism, having been seriously trying to live it for only the past couple of years. Time will tell if over a longer span of time my deepest emotions evolve to conform more to my conscious philosophy.

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I was once severely depressed and masochistic, from which I still have scars. It was applying the principles of rational selfishness that made me respect and love myself, and to seek happiness.

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Hello there, I'm new here.

My question is, has anyone ever cured a psychological disorder (such as depression or anxiety) through Objectivism? Or, do you know of anyone who has done so?

Are there any books or links as to how this was accomplished? Or any books or links that would shed light on this?

Thanks,

RS4000

I have known a couple people, actually who have claimed that sorting out their inner contradictions helped with eliminating anxiety to some extent. Can't speak from first hand knowledge, but it does seem likely to me that believing something which is contradictory to reality would be a constant source of inner turmoil. Because every time that reality confronts you, it becomes immediatly necessary to evade the subject or justify the belief in some way. Not trying to say that, that is the only possible cause of anxiety, but it might be a contributing factor.

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Well I would like to know if Objectivism can help too. I have been diagnosed with depression and am anxious a lot. My problems come mostly from external factors that I cannot control so much like the death of my Father, running a business, raising a 3 year old, and dealing with my Fathers estate. To make things even more interesting I have high cholesterol and am at high risk of having a heart attack young like my Father. Some days I feel like I can handle everything and others I feel like its all too much to handle.

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Well I would like to know if Objectivism can help too. I have been diagnosed with depression and am anxious a lot. My problems come mostly from external factors that I cannot control so much like the death of my Father, running a business, raising a 3 year old, and dealing with my Fathers estate. To make things even more interesting I have high cholesterol and am at high risk of having a heart attack young like my Father. Some days I feel like I can handle everything and others I feel like its all too much to handle.

I am not a psychologist - I however do have an advice to offer:

Both i) realizing that you can be in control of your emotions if you choose and ii) building strong self-management skills can help.

Those include:

1) learning how to deal effectively with stressful or challenging situations

2) avoiding inactivity

3) challenging negative thinking habits

1) structured problem solving helps to deal with stressful and challenging situations

Evading reality is only going to make things worse both in terms of your undealth with tasks accumulating and the stress increasing from feeling guilty about not dealing with them.

- So, identify relevant problems and make an inventory.

- Select a problem from this list that seems relatively solvable – and start with it.

- Brainstorm potential strategies for solving others – develop a plan.

- Break down large projects into smaller manageable, action oriented tasks (action oriented meaning defined in terms of the behaviors you’ll be doing and not the emotions you may feel doing it) and focus on accomplishing them one at a time. Make those tasks specific – detailed steps rather than broad statements (example: go find out about exercise classes rather than “get in shape”).

- Set a time-frame for each (today, this week).

- Don’t think large, instead, focus on more immediate small goals – after accomplishing them acknowledge to yourself that you have done it successfully (give yourself credit) – cross it from your list.

2) There's much to be said for just putting one foot in front of the other every day even when you

don’t feel like you can. Don’t allow yourself to stop.

3) People with depression typically think in ways that are both unrealistic and unfair to themselves. That

is, they tend to judge themselves negatively, they see the world in negative terms, and have negative

expectations in the future.

Identifying your cognitive distortions, your negative coqnitive self-defeating bias is the first step in managing your thoughts. Example don't allow for “catastrophizing” – failing in a small project DOES NOT mean you can’t do any part of your work well. Make effort to think in more balanced and realistic manner.

Last, recognize the importance of good diet and exercise to your health both physical and mental. Take steps toward incorporating both if you have not already.

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Excellent advice there Sophia. As someone whom has in the past had to deal with such things, I can vouch that I have had to do pretty much as you describe above, and it is rather effective, in a relatively short time-period.

That second to last one is quite an important one, as failing there can I think in some minds, undermine some of the stuff above, which is why thinking small is wise, and using lots of small steps to work up to large goals, that tends to help one beleive large things are indeed possible, and is good for those inclined to be impatient as well.

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Thanks for the replies. I am doing lot of that already but its good to see it reinforced. I have been looking over some of Dr. Hurd's advice on stress management in the last few days as well and its seemed to help bring things into focus as well.

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Thanks for the replies. I am doing lot of that already but its good to see it reinforced. I have been looking over some of Dr. Hurd's advice on stress management in the last few days as well and its seemed to help bring things into focus as well.

You are very welcome.

If you find anything interesting in your investigations, post it by all means, as this subject is still of some interest to me.

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Yes will do that. This might be confusing but I got tired of not being able to log in with my previous account so I just made a new one with a new name. This is Erik. I had wanted to change the viewable name a long time ago but never could figure out how.

Edited by Circulogi

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My question is, has anyone ever cured a psychological disorder (such as depression or anxiety) through Objectivism? Or, do you know of anyone who has done so?

Yes, I once suffered from anxiety and/or depression. I never met with a psychiatrist, but my doctor had put me on prescription anti-depressants, mostly to help me sleep because my anxiety was so bad it was physiologically making me feel like I was having a heart attack every night. And then a wonderful human being turned me on to Objectivism by giving me the gift of Atlas Shrugged. I read it right after I graduated college, and it immiediately gave me a sense of hope and resolution. It made me believe that what I believed was not only right, but possible to implement in this world as all. In retrospect, I think my anxiety largely stemmed from my inability to integrate my true beliefs with the liberal ones everyone in my life expected me to have (every other belief was, and still is, regarded by absurd by these people). Needless to say, I lost the need to take the prescription shortly thereafter.

It wasn't a quick fix. Atlas gave me a sense of possibility, and the more I read of objectivism over the next few years, the more it made me think. But it wasn't until I suffered a severe loss in my personal life that the truth of all finally sank in. I think, and correct me if I'm wrong, most people have come to objectivism through some sort of crisis or at some pivotal moment in their life (unless you were lucky enough to have objectivist parents... are there any of you out there?). Some people suffer years of abuse and their endurance gave them the self-confidence that made this philosophy logical to them. Others, like me, tended to have everything given to them in life, but were nonetheless surrounded by people who set a horrible philosophical example. I, therefore, had to gain comprehension of my self-esteem by enduring a crisis I never would have imagined I could. When you're left standing in the rubble of what your philosophical errors have cost you, you have two choices: you can wallow in "if only's" or you can look forward to the "what if's." I have chosen the later. Ayn Rand taught me to do that.

I don't know that I could recommend any specific book or writings; I think that depends on what exactly the individual who needs the guidance is suffering from. I was suffering from a heavy burden of doubt, bestowed upon me by my mother. Doubt of self as well as doubt of others. For me, then, Atlas Shrugged worked perfectly to give me that initial inspiration. But unfortunately the source of my mistakes --my lack of self-esteem-- was so entreched it took more than just objectivism to help me kill that beast. I had to loose a value and admit the loss was my fault. But what objectivism did do was to help me honestly confront why this effect had come about, and what it was in my character that had been the cause. By guiding me through this process, it helped me find me... and that was just the cure I needed: honesty and confidence. And with these new attributes I was able to gain a sense of integrity, which has infused me with an entirely new sense of life. The experiences helped, but the philosophy made the defeat of "my monster" significant.

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