In 2003, a very scared and vulnerable actress known to us as Brooke Shields came out publicly to discuss and bring awareness to the debilitating condition that 2 out of 10 mothers experience called postpartum depression. She came forward with this information as a result of her own diagnosis.
In her book “Down Came the Rain”, she opens up about the intrusive thoughts, voices and mental breakdown that she suffered as a result of a chemical imbalance after the birth of her first child.
In her books, Shields discusses her treatment for this disorder which included anti-depressants and intense psychotherapy. As though this was not heartbreaking enough for this new mother, another actor came forward with his ideas on how Ms. Shields should have handled this devastating setback.
Tom Cruise, an avid member of the Church of Scientology, made an alarming and possibly life threatening statement. He told the world that these types of conditions could be cured with exercise and a balanced diet. A combination that any actress as famous as Brooke Shields was probably accustomed to on a daily basis. Her spokesman made in clear to her fans and any other mother enduring this depression to seek medical advice as soon as possible and that Mr. Cruise’s input was not responsible.
This suggestion by the “Risky Business” actor proved to have caused a major backlash against the beliefs of Scientology and Mr. Cruise himself. The psychiatry field returned fire claiming that the mere suggestion of not treating this very serious and deadly condition with anything less than the close monitoring of a medical doctor specializing in psychiatry could put the baby and mother at serious risk. Most Americans agreed and were very disappointed with the stance Scientology took on such a delicate topic.
L. Ron Hubbard and Psychiatry
The founder of Scientology, L.Ron Hubbard (1911-1986), challenged the ethical and standard practices of the medical field of psychiatry, accusing psychiatrists of promoting “fake cures” and committing such crimes as extortion, mayhem and murder. They went up against large scales groups such as NAMI, which is know as the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill, making accusations of cruel and demeaning treatment of the mentally ill.
Scientologists have made no secret about their war against the mental health field. Their alternative to the modern psychiatric medications and psychiatric hospitalizations are somewhat if not completely controversial. The members of Scientology believe that individuals who suffer from mental illness, this being anywhere from chronic schizophrenia to mild depression, should participate in deep healing counseling by members that are trained in reprogramming thought processes.
Most of these members do not hold any mental health license of any sort. The idea that changing one’s diet, increasing physical activity and participating in therapy with any unlicensed therapist will heal someone with mental health issues is extremely disturbing – not to mention viewed as extremely dangerous by members of the psychiatry field. The activities recommended by Scientologists are often encouraged by our medical professionals, however, it is recommended in conjunction with traditional psychiatric treatment.
Although Scientology has had a number of celebrity members who have stood by the religion’s practices, there has been an equal amount who have went public with their thoughts and feelings once they left the religion.
“G.I. Jane” actor Jason Beghe has been anything but discreet about his departure from Scientology.
“Scientology is destructive and a rip-off,” the actor said in a video. “It’s very, very dangerous for your spiritual, psychological, mental, emotional health and evolution. I think it stunts your evolution. If Scientology is real, then something’s f**ked up.” – Huffington Post
Psychiatry Vs. Scientology
Will the attempts of Scientology prevail and take over the long standing foundation of psychiatry?
Medical professionals, psychologists and most practicing psychiatrists highly doubt this new age religion stood any chance of such a challenge.
The most responsible and safest response to any chronic or acute mental illness lies in the hands of psychiatric professionals, however, any person with such a diagnosis should have an active role in his own treatment. Working as a treatment team with everyone’s input have proven to be the most evidence based model for treatment.
Scientology still has major mountains to climb before their approach could ever be considered a safe alternative to modern medicine.