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Rolfing, or system integration, refers to the so-called body-oriented therapies. These methods originate in the works of the outstanding psychiatrist of the twentieth century, a student of Sigmund Freud, Wilhelm Reich.

Reich suggested that mental trauma can manifest itself at the bodily level in the form of various muscle blocks and clamps. In the end, the suppressed emotions are transformed in the human body into a muscular shell, which prevents the normal flow of mental energy and suppresses the emotional side of the person. Accordingly, removing these clips on the bodily level, it is possible to achieve the release of blocked mental energy, which is subjectively manifested in improving the mental state of the patient.

On the basis of Reich’s ideas there were many different schools of body-oriented therapy, I had the opportunity to get acquainted in practice with one of them – Rolfing. The founder of the method, IDA Rolf, doctor of biochemistry, built her method on the basis of correcting deformities and changes that have arisen in the muscle fascia, a binding tissue that supports and binds together the muscles and bone system. Initially, Rolfing was intended only for work on the physical level, but in the process it turned out that the removal of tension in certain parts of the body often leads to emotional discharge and remembering some long-forgotten and repressed incidents. For me, Rolfing was of interest as a tool to achieve and identify unconscious material that may be relevant to the emergence of my underlying disease.

Certified Alferov, at the time of writing, in Russia. I had two sessions in Berlin, in November 2008, when I was in this city on a business trip. Ideally, you need to take a course of 10 procedures, but I did not have time for this, so I had to limit myself to two. Each session lasted about an hour and a half and felt like a deep massage. At times, the procedure was quite painful, yet the impact occurs at a deep level and with the use of rolfer strong pressures and sprains, sometimes with the help of knees and elbows. Nevertheless, in General, the procedure is quite tolerable and does not cause much physical discomfort.

During the second session, I actually had a childhood episode in my mind related to my relationship with my father. He did not carry a great emotional charge and his awareness did not cause a noticeable mental relief, however, this episode confirmed for me the ability of Rolfing to release long-standing emotional blocks. On the same physical level after each session I felt very good. Posture has improved markedly, the body appeared overall ease her mood has also changed in the direction of improvement.

Unfortunately, these effects were not long, after two weeks, my muscle shell gathered again in its original form. As far as I understand, one physical impact for reliable elimination of corporal blocks is not enough. Without the awareness and experience of the mental trauma that caused the clamp, he comes back after a while. For a sustainable effect, a holistic approach is necessary, along with physical impact, serious psychological work should be carried out to release from traumatic situations. Nevertheless, Rolfing can be a great addition to the method I propose. At the first opportunity, I’m going to take the course to the end and get my missing eight procedures.

Philippine healers

The phenomenon of hilerstvo, or “psychic surgery“, is widespread not only in the Philippines, quite eminent practice live in Brazil and certain other Latin American countries, but the Philippine masters got the greatest popularity. Interestingly, in all countries in which they live and work, the healers, the dominant religion is Catholicism. I don’t know if it matters or if it’s just a coincidence.

About healers, in the Russian-language media, reported in the Soviet era, in a negative, of course, aspect. They were presented as charlatans, oblaposhivaya gullible tourists with the help of simple tricks. At that time, I could not imagine that there would come a day when I would have to verify the relevance of this information to the truth on personal experience. I must say that at present, in 90 or more percent of cases, the way it is; the growing popularity of healerism in the Philippines has become a tourist attraction and led to the widespread opening of many clinics and salons, which are practiced by pseudo-healers, in fact charlatans and magicians.

But before I tell you about my personal experience with Filipino healers, for a better understanding of the subject of this Chapter, I would like to give the story of the famous writer and journalist Vsevolod Ovchinnikov. Ovchinnikov’s impressions are very interesting, and I will allow myself to cite his article in its entirety.

The miracle of the Filipino healers

The Philippine witchcraft surgery documentary captures the video. Was it real, did I saw it with my own eyes? I would never believe anyone that this is possible. Two steps away, a Filipino physician operated on two dozen patients with his bare hands in an hour, spending two or three minutes on each.

No pain. No disinfection. Finally, even without a single question. The patient whispers a few words to the assistant, and he sends him either to the right – on the couch, or to the left – on the chair. And the surgeon comes and goes, barely managing to wipe his hands with a towel.

Collective hypnosis? But a black journalist from Trinidad, standing next to me, was videotaping what was happening, and everything we saw was recorded.

My friends brought me to Alex Orbito, one of the most famous healers in the Philippines, as the masters of this mysterious direction of traditional medicine call themselves. After an hour’s drive, we reached Cason, a suburb of Manila. As I entered the gate, I was surprised at how many people had gathered in the cramped courtyard.

The visitors were eighty men. Many of them came before dawn. Surgery with bare hands is a truly traditional medicine, in particular because it does not involve any pre-agreed fee. It is believed that thoughts of profit lead to a split will and reduce the supernatural abilities of the healer.

The house was adjoined by a canopy under which several rows of benches were placed. It was like a village cinema. Only instead of the screen in the depths could be seen a large glazed opening. He separated the room area of about thirty square meters. There was a wicker couch and a chair covered with white oilcloth.

The Catholic Church was surprisingly sympathetic to the local healers, calling their inexplicable art”faith”. Therefore, on the wall hung a picture of Christ and a religious poster with the inscription:”If you believe, everything is possible.” Nearby on a small table lay a Bible.

At half past nine there was singing from the courtyard. The sick, some of whom sat on benches, and the rest crowded behind, performed the religious Psalms in chorus.

Suddenly a young man of small stature appeared in the doorway. He smiled pleasantly, but there was something prickly in his eyes. His whole appearance left a feeling of a tight steel spring. It was an Orbital.

While the sick continued to sing the Psalms, he put his hands on the Bible and remained motionless for about half an hour. However, his concentrated face changed. The sight became even more rigid, shrill and at the same time is absent. Nervous hands with long thin fingers paled noticeably.

I have heard that healers do not let the audience closer than five or six steps. But when Orbito began to heal, I was Willy-nilly literally next to him. Because in the room, which is conventionally called the operating room, immediately crammed a lot of people. First, a journalist from Trinidad and I stood between the chair and the couch. Second, there were Three orbito assistants. And finally, more than a dozen patients from the beginning of the queue squeezed through the door.

Singing of Psalms lasted more than half an hour. And the assistants of Orbito skillfully conducted the choir, bringing its participants to the state of self-exaltation. Even I felt a shiver run down my spine.

What was happening before my eyes was like a miracle. But perhaps the most striking of all was the pace. Another patient, who was pointed to the couch, lies down on it, without removing his shoes, raises his shirt. Orbito goes to him, and nothing without asking, begins fingers of both hands to massage the sore spot. Then the doctor’s left arm stops moving. And now I can clearly see how the index and middle fingers of his right hand go somewhere deep.

Well visible oblong cavern, opened between the fingers. In this case, clearly heard not the slap, not the splash-about the same sound that you hear when you swipe your finger on the tense lips. In the cavity there appears a reddish liquid. Not blood, but something lighter, perhaps ichor or lymph. Drops of this liquid are sprayed on the oilcloth. Quickly moving the index finger of his right hand and helping him with his thumb, Orbito pulls out of the open wound a piece of brown tissue, similar to the color of a raw liver. His left hand is still motionless, pressed to the sore spot. With his right hand he takes a swab that the assistant has just moistened with water, plunges it into the wound and after a few seconds moves away from the table. The assistant with the same tampon, but already moistened with coconut oil, wipes the patient’s stomach. And I, in disbelief, convinced that it is not even a scar, just a red spot. And Orbital, making two quick steps, already leaning over a patient sitting in the chair. On the neck of the patient is clearly visible zhirovik the size of a pigeon’s egg. Again a few strokes, the fingers of the psychosurgeon go under the skin. And in the bowl flies another bloody piece. The patient feels suspiciously smooth neck where you just had the nodule. And on the couch belly down is a woman. The assistant bares her back, and Orbito, without asking anyone anything, immediately reaches for a small bulge in the patient’s lower back. Again splashes of reddish liquid. This time the Orbit is extracting some particularly large piece of bloodied tissue. And people all go and go. An orbital in the same incredible pace moves from couch to armchair, from armchair to couch. And at once, without asking any questions to the patient and without listening to assistants, finds a sore spot and begins to manipulate with it. According to Orbito, during the healing he seems to be in a trance, his hands move automatically.

“I have to focus deeply,” he says. My body’s getting cold. I feel dead. But then I feel a growing warmth, especially in my hands. And when I touch the body of the patient, I feel that some force is flowing from my fingers.

Only the thumb remained outside. Orbito himself about not looking at your hands. Sometimes he raised his head, and there was an inhuman strain on his face.

I must confess that after witnessing a dozen such operations, I felt bad. Already during the singing of Psalms began to feel dizzy. And after I saw the fingers next to me, sinking into the human body, I heard a strange sound, in which spray flew from the opened cavity, after I saw the bloody pieces of cloth thrown into the enameled basin, it charged in my eyes, and I lost consciousness.

Orbito looked up at me for a split second and said to the assistant:

  • Let him sit in the yard.

Even under the canopy it was hot, about 40 degrees. Staggering, I went out into the yard and sat down in front of the chicken coop. Sweat poured from me. For a while I was as if in oblivion. But suddenly I felt as if I had been showered with a cool shower. I took a deep breath and opened my eyes to see Alex Orbito put his hand on my forehead.

“Well, it’s all right now,” he said, and went back into the house.

I, as if hypnotized, followed him. And just in time, because the wife of Dr. Fava, the doctor from the life insurance company, was lying on the couch, and he brought me to the Orbit. According to her, she told the assistant literally two phrases: “I have a heart. There are interruptions.”

The old woman was laid on her back. She unbuttoned her shirt. Orbito came, put one hand on the forehead and the other on the chest of the patient and remained in this position for a minute. Then the doctor began to massage the base of the woman’s neck. His index finger and thumb went down behind his collarbone. And although he manipulated them for quite a long time, only a thin film of coral color was extracted.

No swab in this case, an Orbital is not used. After the assistant wiped her collarbone with cotton wool soaked in coconut oil, Mrs. Fava got up and came out with me into the yard.

  • I felt the pressure of fingers, as if someone pinched me. But there was no severe pain. And this hour only burning, – she said.

Already on the way back, sitting in the car, I asked Mrs. Fava to expose the collarbone and saw only a small red spot on it.

– How much does it cost to appeal to such a well-known believer?

  • According to custom, everyone gives as much as he can. For example, my assistant advised me to buy a jar of rubbing. But I might not have done it.

Among the Filipino faiths there are charlatans who were convicted of cheating. But in General, their authority among the people is great. Several dissertations are devoted to them at the University of the Philippines. Scientists try to explain the phenomenon of healers by the fact that healing activates some powerful spiritual forces, as if they combine the means of suggestion with surgical intervention. Therefore, by analogy with the concept of “psychotherapy” Filipinos coined the term “psychosurgery”.

The authors of books about Philippine healers argue that they accumulate some unknown energy through meditation and radiating it through the fingers, for a few moments push the tissue at the cellular level to get to the place that you want to remove.

Verbrachten is also credited with the ability to create the aura of the resonance with a magnetic field of the island of Luzon (it really has a strange peculiarities, as evidenced by the behavior of devices on passing ships). According to legend, this island was part of Lemuria-a state that partially sank to the bottom of the ocean, like Atlantis. Legend has it that the ancient inhabitants of Lemuria has been the ability to psychic contacts.

So, it is believed that it is the ability to accumulate some unknown energy and radiate it through the fingertips allows healers to penetrate deep into the body of the patient. And it is this biofield that ensures the sterility of the space above the wound, which remains open only a few seconds.

“I believe that psychosurgery, like acupuncture and herbal medicine, can complement modern medicine,” Dr. Fava tells me. – Acupuncture, for example, has been recognized, despite the fact that the mechanism of its action still has no scientific explanation. So psychosurgery, apparently, deserves to be studied seriously. By the way, specialists in military surgery from the Pentagon, the Bundeswehr and the Japanese “self-defense forces”show an increased interest in the Philippine healers. After all, the “Philippine miracle” is not only the ability to penetrate the body with bare hands, but also the ability to instantly close the wound.

Choosing a specialist, you should be very careful and scrupulous, even widely advertised practices in practice may not be the most effective. In my opinion, it is better not to be guided by the volume of names, it makes more sense to make inquiries in people who have undergone procedures in this or that healer, it is desirable to get acquainted with medical reports and analyzes before and after sessions of mental surgery. I did exactly that.

In Baku, where I live now, the case of a high-ranking official working in the state railway administration has become more famous. He was diagnosed with some special form of urolithiasis, one of the kidneys was literally stoned, and, in addition to the fact that the disease caused him excruciating pain, the diseased organ practically did not function, being on the verge of failure. Eminent experts in Baku and Moscow offered the only solution – amputation. I don’t know how he knew about Romeo, but for him, Romy was the straw a drowning man grasps.

Romeo lives and practices in Manila, but he comes from Baguio, a province in the Philippines, where, for reasons not fully obvious, most of the famous healers occur in this country. On one of versions of, about which mentions and Ovchinnikov, in this district there is any anomaly magnetic field Earth, which and leads to birth relative a large number of people with paranormal abilities.

In any case, the man I’m talking about had nothing to lose, he contacted Romeo and went to Manila, where he went through several procedures. As far as I know, after the first trip he went to the same one or two more times, but I’m not sure that the reason for the subsequent trips was the same disease, perhaps there were some others; perhaps this is not so important. It is important that after the first course of procedures ultrasound examination showed no trace of stones in the patient’s kidney. It is possible that subsequently the stones were formed again and therefore the patient had to undergo repeated courses of treatment in Romeo, if we accept this assumption, it turns out that the healers treat the consequences of the disease, and not its causes, which, however, is typical for any surgical intervention. But isn’t the fact that a large number of kidney stones have been removed or made to disappear by some other means with bare hands, without the use of any cutting tools, sterilization or anesthesia, surprising?

I do not know this person personally, but I know his name, place of work, as I said above, the case became widely known, and several other Bakuvians, among whom was one of my friend, visited Romeo after him. My friend had a problem with a herniated disc. The case was extremely started to walk without canes he was not, the only solution offered by local experts, was the date of surgery and prosthesis of the damaged disc. The same recommendation was given to him at the famous Mayo clinic in the United States, where he was able to undergo examination during a business trip.

Romeo did not restore the integrity of the disk and did not remove the problem completely, apparently, the case was too started or such cases in principle can not be completely corrected, I can not say competently. But the fact is the subjective improvement of the patient’s condition, he still walks with a cane, but, according to him, he experiences much less pain, who had problems with the lower back, will understand how important it is. I give this example to illustrate that in no case is hilarity a panacea for all diseases and, as I will show below, in some cases it is completely ineffective. I am not aware of any other case of complete healing other than the one mentioned above about a patient with kidney stone disease. Nevertheless, the present hilerstvo is not a charlatan, as he is often trying to represent skeptics, and deserves more careful study.

But let’s move on to my personal experience.

The four of us went to the Philippines, each with his own problems. One of us was suffering from low back pain, the second was diagnosed with some kind of education in the gallbladder, called “polyp”, I expected to get at least some relief from depression, tormented me by the time the second year, well, the fourth our friend joined the group out of curiosity.

In Manila, we arrived in December 2003 and immediately realized that, in addition to undergo procedures at the healer, there is nothing to do in this city. Manila is one of the most criminal capitals in the world, in the hands of the population is a mass of firearms, at the entrances to restaurants and large shops is a detector frame for metals and an armed policeman. Add to this the impossibly polluted air, traffic jams, worse than Moscow, the appalling poverty on the outskirts of the city, and you get a fairly accurate idea of the point on the globe, where they live and work the world’s best healers.

Romeo is not fluent in English, and communication with him was maintained through his wife and assistant Bess, with whom the terms and time of our visit were agreed. We stayed in a hotel in a relatively safe area of Manila, and every morning we were picked up by a minibus, which took us to the house where Romy practiced. The round trip took us about four hours every day.

I must say that these healers, among which, of course, was Romy, do not take money from the local population for their services. True healers lead a modest life and are themselves very humble people. All of them believe that their hands are operated by the Holy Spirit, and they themselves are only conductors of the divine will. For the vast majority of Filipinos, the services of modern medical clinics and hospitals are not available because of their high cost, and visiting a local healer is often the only possible medical procedure for them. Every morning to the house of the authoritative healer a huge queue of sufferers is built, none of which the healer does not refuse gratuitous help. Voluntary offerings are not forbidden, someone can donate a dozen eggs, someone a chicken, but the source of income of healers working with the local poor is not. They live at the expense of tourists, such as was our four. Romy has set us a price for his services, quite reasonable, in my opinion, although by local standards, perhaps, and high. I see nothing wrong with this practice. We could afford to pay this money, why not give healer the opportunity to provide for his family for some time and thus make his modest contribution to the treatment of people who can not afford such costs?

So, the day after arriving in Manila, we went to meet Romy and our first procedure. In total, we went through seven such procedures, one daily, on an empty stomach. Romeo’s residence was a small detached house with a small courtyard, where several chickens were walking, probably offerings from grateful patients, who, despite the early hour, had already gathered a sufficient number at the gate of the house. I must say that the number of patients at healer local residents can serve as a good sign, a distinctive feature of the wizard. Given that he’s not taking money from them and that local spend is much more complicated than a naive tourist such interest in healing, he was encouraged. In addition to Romy himself, there was Bess, a wife and an assistant interpreter, a masseur who prepared patients for the procedure, and an old woman of the most mysterious kind, whose appointment remained a mystery to us for a certain time and which we immediately dubbed “the witch”. Unlike Ovchinnikov’s story, I did not see any religious attributes in the house, except for a poster with a very nice image of Jesus in jeans and with a mobile phone, Romeo did not meditate on the Bible either. But more on that later.

The first candidate for the procedure, as the organizer of the trip and the leader of the group, friends unanimously identified me. I suspect that this, from their point of view, was some sense, stories stories, and before you go not even under the knife, and under the bare hands of an illiterate witch doctor, it does not hurt to watch the process personally, from the side.

Well, I, I. No fear I experienced, on the contrary, wanted to complete the session quickly, in the event of a positive result to feel the effects as early as possible.

Procedural itself was a small room in the center of which was a couch, beside her was a chair with enamelled bowl and bowl with a small amount of wool. There was nothing else in the room. There was no way to hide anything under the couch: the edges of the sheet did not hang down from it and the space under the couch was perfectly visible.

The procedure began with a massage with coconut oil, conducted by an assistant. The massage was short, maybe five minutes, probably, and then entered the room himself Romeo.

Heather was a short, hard-built man of forty. Before and during the procedures, he was completely focused and even seemed somewhat sullen, but this impression was completely dispelled during communication with him after the session. Romeo is a very modest, humble and sincere person, like other true healers, he considers himself as a tool that operates the Holy Spirit. He himself can not explain exactly how he manages to push the hands of soft tissue and extract pathological formations, apparently, at the time of intervention, he is in a kind of trance, the nature of which can not explain. Romeo meditated before the operation, did not pray to the Bible or anything, just very focused, concentrated attention.

The procedure was carried out quite openly, my friends were present nearby, surrounded the couch from all sides, filmed the process. Romy was operating in a short-sleeved shirt, so there was no physical way to hide anything up his sleeve.

Immediately before the intervention, healer made a diagnosis, which looked like this – he held his hands over all the organs and dictated to his wife the names of the affected organs: liver, kidneys, spleen. No concretization was not carried out, just called the sick organ, however, expect from the healer of deep medical knowledge would probably not be quite right.

Romeo began by kneading his stomach with his fingers, created such a small hole on the surface of the abdominal cavity, which in a few seconds began to fill with blood. Suddenly Romeo lifted one palm, rested his index finger on my stomach and with a thud abruptly entered the abdominal cavity. The sight was impressive, but I must say that the open cavity and internal organs were not visible, blood interfered. A little digging in the stomach with his index finger, he introduced there is also a large and began to pull something from the stomach with a noticeable effort. It looked like a strip of adipose tissue covered with blood. Just Romeo pulled about four inches of fabric, which is thrown into a basin near the couch. There went and a cotton swab, which he with a quick movement rubbed the surgical site and cleanse it from the blood. At the site of intervention there was only a slight redness, no wounds or bruises. I will say again that neither I nor my comrades saw an open abdominal cavity, only blood and pieces of stretched tissue.

The same procedure Romeo repeated in other parts of the body, sometimes instead of tissue he took out some clots of coagulated blood, when exposed to the heart and lungs through the chest he had not penetrated, manipulated only on its surface, only slightly pressing with the fingers the skin and muscle.

I did not feel pain, but there was a very strange feeling, which was later confirmed by my friends, as if the skin is drilled with steel tools, very hard, but painless. I am convinced that simply pressing your fingers to create such a feeling will not work. Sometimes there was an impression of penetration into the body of some cold energy, dulling sensitivity and possible pain.

After completing the procedure, Romeo handed each of us a large thermos with some warm light red liquid and told us to drink at least six glasses of it every day. The thermoses we passed the next morning back and got a new one instead. Someone from passing at one time treatment of foreigners told us that it was infusion of bark of a tea tree, but I am not sure, I cannot confirm.

So lasted seven days. Of course, it was a shock, a miracle happened not just before our eyes, it happened to us. To explain this phenomenon by natural causes would be a completely meaningless occupation, at least so it seemed to us during our stay in the Philippines. After returning home, the first impressions subsided a little, and it became possible to conduct a relatively objective analysis of what happened and to sum up the results of treatment.

One of us underwent a second ultrasound examination, which showed that there was no trace of the polyp in the gallbladder. This could be attributed to an error in one of the surveys conducted or to the presence of a polyp or the reverse. If not for one fact. Another our friend assistant Romeo, the same “witch”, removed the large papilloma from the chest and keloid scar under the jaw. Without any pain with his bare hands. Scar, however, is not completely gone, 80 percent, but from papilloma was only a small, barely noticeable cleavage. It’s just a fact, no medical error to write it off will not work.

Our third friend, who suffered from lower back pain, felt fine after the procedures in the Philippines, literally flew, rejoiced like a child. But after some time the pain, unfortunately, returned. I suspect that the psychological factor played an important role in improving his health, and in the subsequent deterioration. No wonder all the same foreigner that told us about the infusion of the tea tree, advised us – do not tell anyone anything. It was not the first time he had been treated and he was well aware of the skeptical reaction we might encounter from others. So it happened. People can rarely go beyond the usual worldview, all the unusual, does not fit into an acceptable framework for them, it is easier to declare fraud, to laugh, otherwise you have to admit that your own way of life is not the only true and correct. Skepticism of others was called to my companion of doubt, doubt led to the decline in mental attitude that plays a very important role in the recovery process, it does not deny us the usual modern medicine.

As for me personally – alas, I did not feel any result, neither during treatment in the Philippines, nor on my return home. Hilerstvo not a panacea, there is disease, under which it is powerless to operate the soul harder than the body.

So what it really is, hilerstvo?

In my opinion, this is a kind of bioenergetic therapy, a kind of extrasensory effect on the human body. Healers, apparently, have a special susceptibility, the ability to accumulate energy from the outside world and direct, transfer it to the diseased organs, experiencing for various reasons, a shortage of such vital energy. This is more akin to Reiki procedures or therapy in the qigong system, but in a much more concentrated form. After each session, Romeo sweated, looked completely exhausted, he needed to go out into the fresh air in order to regain strength. We even asked him to somehow not leave the premises to dispel the final suspicions, and Romeo spent the whole day in the room, by the end of which looked like a squeezed lemon.

At the physical level, this energy can contribute to the restoration or improvement of blood circulation in the affected areas of the body, thereby reducing inflammation, swelling, improve the work of organs. As for surgery, the penetration of fingers through the skin and muscle of the body, the extraction of tissues and foreign bodies – here I am powerless to explain anything. I’d be happy to suggest a coherent theory that would put everything in its place, but I don’t have it, I just don’t know. It can be assumed that this part of the manipulation is indeed a clever trick designed to strengthen the patient’s faith in the effectiveness of treatment, a kind of lie in salvation, but after going through this procedure personally and remembering our Romi, it is extremely difficult for me to accept this assumption. Too much he was naive and unsophisticated for such complex combinations, and how it is possible to hold such a focus under the close supervision of the audience surrounded on all sides, shooting the same process on several cameras, I can not imagine.

In any case, so it or not, the true Heather fraud is not, a certain effect in some diseases from it is. Once again – this is not a panacea, in any case should not abandon the services of modern medicine in favor of healing, both methods can perfectly complement each other, about any contraindications for treatment in healers I do not know.


You can find a lot of information about Scientology on the Internet, mostly of a critical nature. What Scientology is not accused of, the religious organizations that classify it as a destructive cult, and its main organization, the Church of Scientology, equating almost with the Church of Satan, are particularly zealous in this regard.

In fact, this is certainly not the case, and Scientology is not a destructive cult or sect. But at the same time there is a certain surprise in the abundance of criticism against her, I do not know any other practice of spiritual growth, causing so much irritation and rejection by society. There is a certain rational grain in this, and it must be said that Scientologists give plenty of nourishment that does not allow this blooming criticism to wither. What is only one, often quoted, statement of the founder of the movement, Ron Hubbard:

“If you want to make a fortune, make your religion.”

On the other hand, it is absolutely impossible to explain the popularity of Scientology, if you perceive it only as a totalitarian sect and a means to extort money from gullible adherents. Commitment to Scientology John Travolta, Tom cruise and a number of other popular Hollywood actors has long been the occasion for endless parodies and sharpness from comedians around the world. But it is hardly necessary to perceive these successful and happy people as round fools who are not able to distinguish the working equipment from obvious deception in mysterious packing.

So what is Scientology?

First of all, it is a practice of spiritual growth, which, in my subjective opinion, is ineffective. I suppose I can afford that kind of judgment. Still, I spent about 50 hours of my time and about one and a half thousand dollars in an online session with one popular in Runet coach in Scientology. And of course it is a business based on learning this practice.

Again, we are interested in Scientology as a tool for treating depression. We can safely escape from the metaphysical worldview of Scientology and Dianetics. Ron Hubbard written many books, thousands and thousands of pages where he talks about the Universe, other worlds, aliens and macarenco. We should not forget that Hubbard was a science fiction writer, perhaps even a good one, so if you are interested in this genre of literature, you can devote some time to his books. Again, we are not interested in this now.

It is no secret that Scientologists are extremely negative about the methods of modern psychiatry, in particular the use of psychotropic drugs, and offer their own alternative methods of getting rid of this disease. There is a scandalous case when Tom cruise attacked with accusations and reproaches against the actress Brooke shields after the public recognition of the latter in the use of antidepressants.

This approach is clearly wrong and, in some cases, extremely dangerous. About the role of antidepressants we have already mentioned above, they are rarely sufficient to treat depression, but very often – necessary. Already one such categorical rejection of one of the main and, undoubtedly, effective methods of treatment of depression and denial of its obvious positive impact on the course of the disease raises doubts about the scientific value of the approach of Scientologists. But let’s take a closer look at what Ron Hubbard’s followers have to offer.

As far as I can tell from my own experience, Hubbard has adopted one psychotherapeutic technique, the so-called psychological desensitization. In practice, this means that an aspiring Scientologist is encouraged, under the guidance of a specially trained member of the Church of Scientology, to review his entire life experience. This procedure is called auditing, from the Latin “audit” – “listening”, “listening”. During the process, painful episodes from the past are revealed, causing unpleasant emotions in the passing auditing. Lead process auditor, offers repeatedly to scroll in the minds of this particular episode, until he is completely emotionally “drained”.

That such discharge has come, the auditor learns on indications of the special device, and-meter. I also had to buy it for the procedure, as a result I paid

$ 200 for a regular ohmmeter to which two hollow metal cans were connected. During the process, I held the banks in my hands, the device was turned to the front of the auditor, who read his testimony. Does that make any sense? I do not know, the feeling was no difference that before the “discharge” that during that after.

As for the method of desensitization, it certainly has a right to exist, although it should be noted that it was not invented by Hubbard. Psychological desensitization has long been used in various types of psychotherapy and is one of the many existing methods in the Arsenal of doctors of the corresponding profile. How correct is the isolation of only one method and its application to all in a row, despite the completely different pathogenesis of the disease in each case, I leave you to judge. I can only say that any psychiatrist would call it absurd.

Desensitization didn’t help me at all. This does not mean that it does not help anyone, by no means. I have no reason not to believe the enthusiastic reviews of practicing Scientologists that can be found on the Internet. For someone, perhaps, this method is ideal, but no statistics on successful and unsuccessful sessions Scientologists will not provide you. Again, we must understand that people can set different goals. It was important for me to get rid of depression, and in my case Scientology was powerless. For some science fiction fan interested in spiritual growth, Scientology may well prove useful. However, even from this point of view, I believe that there are many other, much more effective practices.

I practiced auditing online, with an auditor who works in the “free zone”, that is, has nothing to do with the Church of Scientology and does not pay them any fees. Such freelancers prices are usually lower than the official, which, frankly, was one of the factors of choice in my case. Regardless of the price of services, my auditor is considered to be quite advanced in the Network and has some unimaginable for a mere mortal titles, like “Acting Tetan” of some sort.

Our sessions were held three times a week and lasted about one hour, sometimes up to one and a half hours. It cost one hour of classes 35 US dollars, I stood a little more than three months, that is, only about 40-50 hours. All this time we were engaged in “repair of life”, the first phase of auditing, in which we had to handle all the traumatic situations from the past and from scratch to develop further. Actually, the successful completion of the first phase would suit me quite well, I was not going to become any “Tetanus”. But alas.

My patience has burst, when the auditor declared that the prices for their services, it translates into euros, which at the time meant the increase in the amount of 30 percent. I figured $ 1,500 wasted was enough for 50 hours of exhausting exercise and the auditor’s constant whining about the antidepressants I was taking at the time. It seems to me that the” Acting Tetan ” himself by that time understood that we were going nowhere, and was glad to get rid of such an unpromising student.

Of course, he blamed everything on my pills and said that by continuing to take them, I discredit Scientology and him personally. That’s bullshit. Taking antidepressants didn’t stop me from doing qigong and transcendental meditation, which I really enjoyed.

Summing up, I, based on my own experience, categorically do not recommend Scientology practices for the treatment of depression. For me it was a waste of time and money.

Holotropic breathing

The authorship of the technique of holotropic breathing belongs to the now-living American psychiatrist of Czech origin Stanislav Grof, already mentioned in the Chapter “Psychedelic drugs“. After the legislative prohibition of the use of LSD in psychiatry, the Grof began to search for a legal alternative. Having tried many different methods of changing consciousness, he eventually stopped at a deep frequent breathing, which he called “holotropic” (holistic).

With a sufficiently long and intense deep breathing, the gas composition of the blood changes, carbon dioxide is washed out of it and oxygen saturation. Hyperoxygenation causes the practitioner effects similar to those arising from the use of LSD. In addition to the breathing technique itself, specially selected music and bodily manipulations by the teacher, techniques for overcoming pop-up muscle clamps and barriers are also used.

The session lasts about an hour and a half, the result is the ascent, the manifestation of unconscious material in the minds of holonaut. Grof believes that in this way it is possible to realize not only the deep personal experience, but also to go beyond it, in the area, which he calls transpersonal.

Here is how he writes about Grof:

The content of holotropic States is often spiritual or mystical. We can go through a series of psychological death and rebirth and a wide range of supra-personal phenomena, such as feelings of unity and identification with other people, with nature, the Universe, God, discover something that seems to us memories from other incarnations, meet with bright archetypal images, communicate with ethereal beings and visit countless mythical lands. Our consciousness can be separated from the body and yet maintain its ability to perceive both the immediate environment and the most remote places.

Stanislav Grof’s “Transpersonal vision»
The topic of transpersonal experience is very interesting and extensive, but beyond the scope of this study, those interested in this field of knowledge, I refer to the works of Grof, many of which are translated into Russian and available in electronic form. We are also interested in the practice of holotropic breathing in relation to an important topic for us, the treatment of depression.

Theoretically, if, according to Grof, holonaut experiences are equivalent to the effects achieved by the use of LSD, and also are safer, then this practice should have greater therapeutic value for the detection and study of hidden unconscious material, which plays a significant, as we found out above, role in the development of depression.

Reasoning in this way, I signed up for a seminar to a fairly well-known coach in one of the major Ukrainian cities. The seminar was held for three days, the program included two breathing sessions. Before the seminar, I told about my problem to the coach and received assurances from him that, at least, to eliminate the somatic manifestations of depression, holotropic therapy is the best. He told me his own story of getting rid of a chronic stomach ulcer with just one successful breathing session. During the session in his mind he had a vision of a medieval battle in which he participated and was stabbed with a sword in the area of the right hypochondrium, in right in place of the projection of ulcers on the anterior wall of the abdomen. Needless to say, after this experience, the pain stopped, and the instrumental study showed no signs of a disease resistant to therapy over the previous five years.

I must say that this story and everything I previously read about holotropic therapy, it is very reassuring, but unfortunately, I was waiting for another disappointment. I can’t blame the coach or talk about the ineffectiveness of the method itself, in any way. Just personally, I did not succeed. It was extremely difficult for me to physically withstand a given rate of breathing, especially given my pronounced asthenia. I lost my rhythm after a few minutes and could not return to it, despite all efforts. The same story was repeated at the second session, and as a result I had to come back empty-handed.

Holotropic breathing is a very interesting phenomenon worthy of careful study, but for its successful practice, it seems to me, it is necessary to be in good physical shape, which is rarely possible for a depressed patient. In addition, a certain inconvenience is the impossibility or, let’s say, the undesirability of independent practice. During a session you may lose control over their movements, disorientation in the environment, it can be easy to cause yourself some injury (without control on the part of the sitter?).

As for the analogy between the effects of holotropic breathing and LSD, which is carried out by the Grof, it is certainly an exaggeration. LSD gives almost instant access to unconscious material, which is stored for several hours, in the case of holotropic breathing, in order to gain such access, you have to make a lot of physical effort for at least an hour and as a result, if you’re lucky, to be able to open the door to the subconscious for just a few moments. The difference seems obvious to me.

Later, while doing primary therapy in the center of Dr. Yanov, I realized how naive were my ideas about the possibility of awareness of one traumatic episode from the past and the subsequent immediate recovery. But this is a story for another Chapter of the book.

Light therapy

Light therapy is indicated for people suffering from seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder (ATS). Women between the ages of 20 and 40 are more likely to suffer from this disease. When ATS manifestations of depression are exacerbated in winter and subside in summer, with an increase in the number of Sunny days. It has long been observed that in the Northern latitudes, people are more likely to suffer from depression in the southern us States, this figure is 1-2% in the Northern reaches 10 %. According to some data, the prevalence of depression in Eskimos in Greenland reaches 80% of the total population.

The mechanism of exposure to light therapy is associated with the effect on metabolism in the body of melatonin, the hormone of the pineal gland, the secretion of which increases with the onset of darkness. The function of melatonin is associated with the regulation of human sleep, its secretion contributes to sleep, but at the same time there is an inverse relationship with the level of serotonin, the production of which decreases with increasing amounts of melatonin in the nervous tissue and Vice versa. As in other cases, biochemical disorders are not the only cause of depression, but rather serve as the basis for the emergence of a favorable background for its manifestation.

Exposing the patient to additional artificial irradiation with bright light, in many cases it is possible to achieve a positive result. Therapy usually lasts for a month, the effect is achieved in terms of several days to two weeks, the duration of the session from half an hour to several hours, depending on the response of the patient.

The convenience of this method is the possibility of its independent use, you can buy special lamps, up to 10 Lux, and practice at home. There are no side effects of the drawbacks – requires a certain amount of time, sometimes significantly.

Most recently, in April 2009, the results of a study by a doctor at the Falun psychiatric hospital in Sweden, Cecilia Rastad, were published. Dr. Rastad monitored 24 patients who received a course of light irradiation for 1.5–2 hours daily for 10 days. According to the data, more than half of the patients felt much better after the course, and they remained in good health for another month after receiving therapy. Characteristically, in Northern Sweden seizures of ATS is subject to 20 % of the population.

I personally have not tried light therapy, my depression did not differ seasonality, but the reviews of the method are good, as symptomatic therapy, it may be suitable for patients with appropriate manifestations of the disease. But we must be aware that in this way you can achieve only a temporary improvement in health, because the true causes of depression, the method can not have any impact.

Autogenic training

Auto-training was proposed by the German neurologist Schultz back in the 30s of the last century, but was recognized and widely used in medicine only by the mid-50s. In fact, the method is a combination of meditation and self-hypnosis, Schultz took the most essential, in his opinion, elements of Indian yoga and adapted them for European perception, completely abandoning the religious and mystical component.

Auto-training is quite successfully used outside of medicine; for example, at one time it was part of the Arsenal of psychological training of many athletes. The use of the method allows you to quickly restore strength and overcome psychological barriers and achieve maximum efficiency from the physical capabilities of the body.

In psychiatry and neurology, auto-training is used for the treatment of various phobias and neuroses, in practice, this technique is an alternative to hypnotic effects, with the difference that the role of the hypnotist is the patient himself.

Like most other psychotechnical techniques, it is necessary to learn auto-training under the supervision of a specialist. The matter is not only that at wrong application of a method it is possible to worsen the condition (though small, but such risk really is present), but also in complexity of independent development, especially if there is no experience of similar practices in the past.

The whole process is divided into three stages: entering into a trance, pronouncing affirmations (suggestions) and exiting a trance. Perhaps the most important stage in the development of auto-training is the first, the depth of trance is usually less than the external suggestion carried out by a hypnotist. To enter into a trance, concentration is applied on the physical sensations of the body, alternately causing a feeling of heaviness and heat in the limbs, slowing breathing and heartbeat, coolness in the forehead, heat in the abdomen.

The development of auto-training takes time, rarely anyone can achieve tangible results from the first time. It is important not to force the process, to allow it to proceed naturally, with the manifestation of some perseverance and the correct use of technology the result is sure to be. We will not go into the details of the process now, they are described in detail in the relevant literature, and in any case, as I said, self-development of the method is not recommended, and an experienced coach in live communication will explain everything better than I can do it from the pages of the book.

After reaching the trance state, a mental repetition of the so-called affirmations, self-hypnosis formulas is carried out. In their preparation, too, it is desirable to consult with a specialist, there are a number of rules that should be followed. So, for example, it is not recommended to pronounce affirmations with a negative value, the prefix “not“. That is, instead of “I’m not worried“, it is better to repeat to myself “I’m calm.” In depression, affirmations are formulated in the appropriate direction: “ I’m calm“,” I’m good“,” I’m happy“,” good mood” and so on.

Out of the autogenous state should be gradually, positive affirmations are replaced by pronouncing the formulas of rest: “I rested“, “I am calm“, “I am full of strength“, “I will stand on the count of 3“; start a mental countdown and on the count of 3 or 5 open your eyes and exit the accepted posture for the process.

Conduct anger management ought to be sitting, when lying is a good chance to sleep and disrupt the process. The classic in auto-training is considered to be “the pose of the coachman”: the practitioner sits on the edge of the chair, the forearms of the hands are located on the knees, the hands hang down, the head is lowered. In such pose good relaxation, half-sleep is reached, but it is usually not possible to fall asleep at the same time. To do better in a darkened room, but not in complete darkness, as in the absence of vision, other senses become aggravated, which distracts and does not allow to achieve the necessary concentration. Complete silence is also undesirable for the same reasons, as long as there were no sharp stimuli.

Experts recommend to study three times a day, for 20-40 minutes. With the acquisition of experience, entering into a trance will take less time and, accordingly, the total time of each process will decrease. In addition, auto-training sessions contribute to high-quality rest of the body, as a result, the time allotted for sleep can be reduced, due to which the necessary time for training will be released.

The effectiveness of self-training is individual and largely depends on the suggestibility of a person. Good results can be obtained to overcome various phobias, including social, fear of unusual situation, public speaking. By relaxing you can achieve a temporary reduction in the level of internal tension, anxiety, insomnia. As for the treatment of depression, I am more skeptical.

In the initial period of training I received tangible progress in terms of overall improvement of health, reduce anxiety, increase activity, greater energy. But these phenomena were temporary. First, it is of course symptomatic treatment, the effectiveness of suggestion must be constantly maintained, and, stopping classes, you can quickly return to the previous state. Secondly, in fact, auto-training is the process of suppressing negative emotions by layering the inspired positive, problems and conflicts are not resolved, but only overlap with the constant repetition of affirmations. That is, there is neither a vacuum of suppressed energy, nor the cessation of its further accumulation, it is obvious that this can not be the best method to combat depression.

In order to achieve a sustainable result, positive affirmations alone are not enough, first of all, it is necessary to clear the consciousness, to give an exit to the accumulated tension. But even this does not guarantee getting rid of the problem, a conscious negative, although it loses a significant part of its negative charge, still remains in memory as a negative. In order to finally get rid of it, it is necessary to carry out the practice of replacing the negative state with a positive one, to create a positive emotional anchor to a traumatic situation. In this case, mental or verbal affirmations are not effective enough. Much better results can be achieved by using modern techniques of neurolinguistic programming, which we will discuss in the appropriate Chapter.

In my case, the rise from auto-training was observed for two months, after which the reality took its toll. In addition to short-term rest, I have not received any benefits from classes, too strong were my internal conflicts in order to be able to suppress them in this way. However, the skills obtained as a result of a variety of auditory training, extremely useful in the development of other similar techniques, which requires entering into a trance, such as qigong and transcendental meditation.

Summing up, we can say that, despite the presence of a certain positive effect associated with the training techniques of relaxation and deep rest, as well as a temporary reduction of disturbing symptoms, auto-training can not be a radical means to get out of depression. Too narrow focus of this method and the obvious limitations of the results have led to the gradual oblivion of auto-training as a means of Arsenal of modern psychiatrists and psychotherapists.

Psychedelic drugs

The term “psychedelics” was proposed by psychiatrist Humphrey Osmond and translated from Greek means “manifesting the soul” (psyche – soul, and delic – explicit, manifesting). These include preparations both chemically obtained, such as LSD, MDMA and DMT, and the active substances of various plants found in the wild: Mexican cacti, some species of poisonous mushrooms, vines in the Amazon jungle. Action psychedelics is primarily to change the usual perception of the world and achieve a special state of consciousness. This experience can be both positive and extremely negative, dangerous for the human psyche.

The history of medical use of psychedelics begins with the discovery and accidental use of LSD-25 by Swiss chemist albert Hoffman in 1947. While working in the laboratory, Hoffman spilled a negligible amount of the drug on his hand and, without suspecting anything bad, went home on his bike. Hoffman’s report on how he rode his bike through the streets of Basel under the influence of a large dose of LSD, became a legend. On the way he had a strong change in the perception of the surrounding space, there were fantastic vision, like a dream. The visions intensified and after he got home, Hoffman was scared he was going crazy. His neighbor he took for the evil witch, Hoffman seemed that his conscious possession of demons; deciding that is on the verge of death, Hoffman was asked to call him doctor.

By the time the doctor arrived, the crisis had passed, to his surprise, Hoffman felt himself full of strength and energy, as if reborn into the world. This state of health lasted all day. Hoffman wrote a report on his unusual experiences to the immediate supervisor, Dr. Arthur Stoll, whose son, a Zurich-based psychiatrist, became interested in studies of the effects of LSD in clinical settings. His report on the effects of LSD-25 on a group of healthy volunteers and psychiatrist patients, published in 1947, immediately became a sensation in the scientific world.

Initially, the LSD has high expectations regarding modeling them psychotic States similar to that experienced by patients with schizophrenia. It was assumed that this simulation will help to better understand the causes of schizophrenia, and to find effective drugs for its therapy. It soon became clear that the nature of the visions provoked by taking LSD had nothing to do with schizophrenic psychoses, and such studies were curtailed for lack of prospects.

But suddenly LSD was quite effective in psychotherapy of neuroses. The fact that under the influence of this drug as it eliminates the barrier between the unconscious and consciousness, greatly facilitates access to the displaced material that POPs up in the patient’s mind in large quantities in the form of awakened memories and unexpected insights. This description is undoubtedly a simplification of the mechanism of action of psychedelics, but for the purposes of our study it is enough.

Thus, psychodynamic processes occur much faster than traditional psychoanalysis, the doctor no longer has to break through the protective mechanisms of the patient’s psyche, which are weakened by the action of drugs.

Great work in the field of psychedelic therapy was carried out by the American psychiatrist of Czech origin Stanislav Grof. With this name we still have to repeatedly encounter in the course of our narrative, and so it makes sense to talk about it in more detail.

Stanislav Grof is an outstanding doctor and scientist who has devoted more than forty years to the research of unusual States of consciousness and spiritual growth, one of the founders and the most prominent representatives of transpersonal psychology. Some researchers compare it to the scale of contributions to modern psychology, with such giants as Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung.

Grof was born in Prague on July 1, 1931. From 1956 to 1967, S. Grof worked as a practicing psychiatrist, actively studying at that time the psychoanalytic model of consciousness and its application in the treatment of neuroses. During the same period he was actively studying psychoanalysis. In 1959, the Grof was awarded the Kuffner prize, a national Czechoslovak award given annually for the most outstanding contribution in the field of psychiatry. Since 1961, he has led research on the use of LSD and other psychedelics in the treatment of mental disorders in Czechoslovakia.

In 1967, as a fellow of the Foundation for support of psychiatric research (USA), Grof received the opportunity to undergo a two-year internship at Johns Hopkins University and subsequently continue his research activities at the Maryland center for psychiatric research. From 1973 to 1987, S. Grof lives and works at the Esalen Institute (big sur, California). During this period, together with his wife Christina, he develops the technique of holotropic breathing, an original method of psychotherapy, self-knowledge and personal growth, which we will discuss later in this book.

Grof is one of the founders of the international transpersonal Association (ITA) and has long been its President.

Currently, S. Grof is a Professor of psychology at the California Institute of integral studies. In addition to his main activities, he conducts training seminars for professionals (“Grof Transpersonal training”), as well as lectures and seminars around the world. Stanislav Grof is the author and co-author of more than one hundred articles and fourteen books translated into twelve languages.

The first acquaintance of Grof with the action of LSD occurred in Czechoslovakia in 1956. At that time, Sandoz, a company engaged in the industrial production of the drug, provided free samples to psychiatrists around the world in exchange for information about its effects.

Here is how about this experience tells himself Grof:

“I began to feel the effects of LSD forty-five minutes after taking it. At first it was a slight malaise, dizziness and nausea, then these symptoms disappeared and were replaced by a demonstration of incredibly colorful abstract and geometric visions, alternating in front of my mind’s eye with the speed of pictures in a kaleidoscope. Some of them resembled exquisite stained glass Windows in the medieval Gothic Cathedral, and others – Arabesque Muslim mosques. To describe the finesse of these visions, I would compare them to Scheherazade’s “a Thousand and one nights” and the stunning beauty of the Alhambra and Shanda – these were the only comparisons that came to my mind at the time. Today I am sure that my psyche has somehow generated a wild set of fractal images, like graphic images of nonlinear equations, which can give a modern computer.

As the session went on, my experiences wandered around and around this realm of aesthetic delights and were replaced by an unexpected encounter and confrontation with my subconscious. It is difficult to find the words to this intoxicating Fugue of emotions, visions and illuminating insights concerning my own life and existence in General, which suddenly became available to me at this level. It was so profound and overwhelming that it immediately overshadowed my earlier interest in Freud’s psychoanalysis. I couldn’t believe how much I’d learned in those few hours. A breath-taking feast of colors and an abundance of psychological revelations – they would be enough in themselves to turn my first acquaintance with LSD into a truly memorable event.

This day marked the beginning of my radical divergence from traditional thinking in psychiatry and the monistic materialism of Western science. I came out of this experience that touched my very essence, shaken by his power. At the time, I did not believe that the potential for mystical experience was natural to any human being by right of birth, and attributed it all to the effects of LSD. I felt that the study of unusual States of consciousness in General, and especially those caused by the effects of hallucinogens, as far as I can imagine, is the most interesting area of psychiatry. I realized that, under the right conditions, the conditions caused by the effects of hallucinogens-far more than just dreams, which play such a crucial role in psychoanalysis – really are, if you use the words of Freud, “the Royal way to the subconscious.” And, right there and then, I decided to devote my life to the study of unusual States of consciousness.”

Stanislav Grof, “When the impossible is possible»
His vast research experience on the use of LSD Grof summarized in the book ” the Field of the human unconscious.” In this study, Grof significantly expanded psychoanalytic cartography of the psyche, introducing the concept of transpersonal area, that is, part of the human consciousness, beyond his personal experience. The discussion of this undoubtedly interesting point of view is beyond the scope of this book, and I refer those interested in the topic directly to the mentioned work of the Grof himself.

We are interested in the information presented in the section “Psychodynamic experiences in LSD sessions“, in which the Grof describes the experience of its patients regressing under the influence of the drug in childhood and aware of long-forgotten early traumatic experiences:

“The experiences in this category come from the individual unconscious and from the spheres of personality available in the ordinary state of consciousness. They belong to the most important memories, emotional problems, unresolved conflicts and suppressed material of different periods of human life. Most phenomena occurring at this level can be interpreted and understood in psychodynamic terms. When deciphering, they require knowledge of the basic principles of the dynamics of the unconscious, given by Freud, and especially the mechanisms responsible for dreams, as well as familiarity with certain specific characteristics of LSD States and their symbolic language. Simple psychodynamic experiences take the form of re-living the emotionally intense (traumatic or beneficial) events of infancy, childhood, and later periods of life and re-examining attitudes towards them. More complex experiences are the embodiment of fantasies, dramatization of dreams filled with desires in reality, dreams taken from movies, and a complex mixture of fantasy and reality (highlighted by me. – Primas’. ed.). In addition, the psychodynamic level includes a variety of experiences that contain important unconscious material, appearing in a hidden form of symbolic masks, protective distortions and metaphorical hints.

Psychodynamic experiences are particularly common in the course of psycholytic therapy in mentally ill people and in uncontrolled LSD sessions in people with serious emotional problems. Much less often they occur in sessions of emotionally stable persons, whose childhood was relatively calm. In psycholytic therapy, psychodynamic experiences can predominate in several initial sessions, following each other, before being resolved and integrated, that is, included in the conscious experience, the underlying unconscious material is comprehended and the patient can move to the next level. In psychedelic therapy, such biographical material is worked out in the initial and final periods of the session. Sometimes psychodynamic experiences can predominate throughout a high-dose session, although preprogramming and the overall situation with this form of LSD therapy contribute to experiences at deeper levels of the unconscious. They will be described later (perinatal and transpersonal phenomena).

The phenomenology of psychodynamic experiences in LSD sessions is largely consistent with the basic concepts of classical psychoanalysis. If psychodynamic sessions were the only type of LSD experience, they could be considered as laboratory evidence of the main Freudian prerequisites. Psychosexual dynamics and fundamental conflicts of the human psyche, as they are described in Freud, with extraordinary clarity and vitality are manifested even in the sessions of naive newcomers, never subjected to psychoanalysis, not familiar with psychoanalytic literature and have not experienced any direct or indirect effects of this direction. Under the influence of LSD in these individuals experiencing a regression into childhood and even early infancy, revive in memory the various psychosexual traumas and complexes of sensations related to infantile sexuality, and confronts conflict, including the activity of various libidinal zones”.

S. Grof ” Areas of the human unconscious»
Remember the sentence I highlighted in the text. We’ll get back to him later.

In the Soviet Union experiments with LSD conducted by Kiev psychiatrist Maria Telishevska receiving convincing results in the treatment of patients with alcoholism. It is no secret that in the formation of alcohol dependence psychological factor is important. The results of the research Teleshevsky was published in the monograph published in 1964 by the publishing house “Medicine”.

Further developments are well known. The massive abuse of psychedelics and primarily LSD, which resulted in a whole “psychedelic revolution” of the 60s, could not but cause a response from the authorities, outlawed not only LSD and its analogues, but also imposed a ban on medical research with their use. Without casting the slightest doubt on the correctness of the decision in respect of restrictions on the mass availability of the drug, it is necessary to Express regret about the hasty prohibition of further study promising drugs in psychotherapy.

After reading this Chapter, perhaps someone will be tempted to experiment with psychedelics on their own. You do not need to do this in any case. First, it is illegal, and by purchasing such drugs on the black market, you should be aware that you are breaking the law and can cause serious trouble. Secondly, you can never be sure what exactly you sold under the guise of LSD or MDMA. No one guarantees the quality of the drug, the dosage is also uncontrolled. Moreover, under the name “ecstasy”, for example, sold dozens of tablets with a variety of chemical components, it may very well be that MDMA in the tablet is not at all and it consists of some absolutely you do not need psychostimulators, mixed with heroin.

And most importantly. Even applying yourself clean psychedelics and in the correct dosage, you run the risk of irreparable harm to your mental health. This is no exaggeration. The flow of unconscious material can be so strong and so shocking that the human psyche will simply not be able to bear it, to cope with the volume and intensity of experiences. The result may be an even greater flight into the disease, aggravation of all symptoms, until irreversible changes.

A prerequisite for therapy with psychedelics is the presence of an experienced specialist who can guide you through this test, to prevent, if necessary, a severe crisis, to return to reality, to help correctly interpret what is happening.

I believe in the future of psychedelic therapy. Even now we can observe the gradual rehabilitation of the medical use of such drugs. In Switzerland, since 2008, the use of LSD in the treatment of cancer patients and other terminal conditions is allowed. Dr. Mithofer in the United States provides MDMA-based psychotherapy to sexually abused women with very good results.

Let’s wait for the full legalization of psychedelic therapy, no need to engage in Amateur activities, the risk is too great. In addition, currently there are other, non-drug and completely safe methods of working with consciousness, which we will discuss below. One of these methods is auto-training.


It is generally recognized that the combination of psychotherapy with drug therapy is more effective than the use of each of these methods separately. They are not alternatives to solving the problem, but, on the contrary, complement each other perfectly. When conducting psychotherapy is of great importance the activity of the patient, his involvement in the process. Active participation of the patient allows him to develop certain behavioral skills and mechanisms of self-regulation, which teach to cope effectively with difficult life situations and increase the chances of a person not to fall into repeated depression in the future.

The most common currently and effective in the treatment of depressive disorders are three types of psychotherapy: psychodynamic, based on the work of Freud and his followers and the methods of psychoanalysis developed by them, behavioral therapy and cognitive psychotherapy.

According to the psychoanalytic concept, the cause of depression is unresolved and suppressed unconscious conflicts. This approach was most detailed in Freud’s book “Sadness and melancholy”. According to his ideas, the basis of depression is laid in infancy, when the child is taken from the mother’s breast. The resulting mental trauma and lack of adequate compensation cause a state of dissatisfaction and the development of self-esteem disorders, leading ultimately to the development of depression in adulthood. The views of Freud on depression was developed in the works of Melanie Klein and Donald Winnicott.

The merit of the psychoanalytic school is a detailed study of the core of depression and a correct indication of the role of unconscious factors in its development. The task of the therapist in the conduct of psychoanalysis is the discovery of repressed traumatic situation, the awareness of her patient, re-experiencing and healing. At the same time, the psychodynamic school pays insufficient attention to other sources of unconscious conflicts that are not directly related to the traumatic removal from the mother’s breast. Its big drawback is also the neglect of social factors and traumatic situations from the present, which can lead to the development of a depressive episode. Psychoanalysis is a long process, sometimes treatment can be delayed for many years, which limits the widespread use of this method in successful therapy of depression.

Behavioral psychotherapy appeared in the Arsenal of psychotherapists relatively recently, finally formed into a whole doctrine, it was only in the 50s of the last century, after which it quickly gained popularity and developed in several directions. Common to all types of behavioral therapy is the idea of human behavior as a result of training, which radically distinguishes it from psychodynamic concepts. Behavioral therapy is aimed at solving the current problems of the patient by changing behavioral patterns, passivity, rejection of pleasure, isolation from the environment.

The Creator of cognitive therapy is Aaron Beck, who has tried to combine the best of both approaches. Cognitive psychotherapy combines the work with the actual problems of the patient, and with his deep beliefs and perceptions. Beck believes that the cause of the depressive disorder is inherent in the patient’s worldview and interpretation of the events happening to him. The aim of cognitive therapy is to change the patient’s negative thinking to positive by careful individual work and detection of cognitive, mental errors in the patient’s reasoning.

Currently, the last two methods are often combined into one called “cognitive-behavioral therapy”. From the name it is clear that in this way an attempt is made to combine both approaches, correction and behavioral and mental errors. Perhaps it is no exaggeration to say that cognitive-behavioral therapy is the most common type of psychotherapy now. Its popularity is explained by the relative brevity, especially in comparison with psychodynamic therapy, in which treatment can last for years, and the resulting relative cheapness, a large number of empirical (experimental) data confirming its effectiveness.

On average, ten to twenty psychotherapeutic sessions are required to achieve some result. In my case, it took more than fifty. I visited a therapist for a year and a half, once a week, each session lasted about an hour. During the sessions, we discussed the situations that concern me from today’s life, possible options for their development and what effect they can have on my life.

In favor of cognitive-behavioral therapy, I can say that first of all, some effect is achieved due to the fact of communication with the therapist. If the latter manages to establish reliable contact with the patient, to create a trusting relationship, the very expression of accumulated fears, the opportunity to share them with someone in a safe environment, “pour out the soul” already leads to some subjective changes in the emotional status of the patient. In my case, it happened that way, after a short period of rubbing, I quickly opened up to the therapist and immediately felt some relief. Passing sessions after that was no longer a burden, on the contrary, I was looking forward to them. Also, therapy really helped me to deal with some hypertrophied fears, to realize that their consequences may not be as severe as I initially thought.

The thing is that, being in a depressed state, you do not delve into the essence of your problem, it scares and disarms you so much that you continue to engage in its mental chewing on a superficial level, do not take the next step, just feel that it will continue to be bad and scary. The role of the therapist is to take you by the hand and mentally go through this path, critically evaluate it, do what the patient is not able to do on their own. It is important to avoid any pressure on the part of the therapist, it should only help you to understand the hypertrophy of the problem by asking questions, offering to evaluate the possible variants of development of events.

As a result, your problem does not disappear, but its value, significance, if very roughly, decreases.cognitive-behavioral therapy does not eliminate the source of your pain, but teaches you to live with it. Well, that might be justified, too. Such therapy did not cure me, and I did not take less drugs, but in some situations I began to feel more confident, less fixated on certain problems that worried me at that time.

As for psychoanalysis, I have only a brief experience of this procedure, which I interrupted after several sessions, and I still believe that I did the right thing. For all the fidelity of the theoretical basis of the method, to its practical results, I am extremely skeptical. First, it repels the duration and cost of the process. Secondly, the method is extremely subjective, very much depends on the personality of the psychoanalyst, his ability to correctly interpret the signs that your subconscious mind gives.

I also have strong doubts about the treatment of the depressive disorder itself by psychoanalytic methods. It seems to me that psychoanalysis can be effective in cases where the cause of neurotic disorder is reduced to some one suppressed root episode. This occurs in the pathogenesis of various phobias and obsessive-compulsive conditions. If the therapist manages to get to the displaced episode and help the patient to realize and relive it, then there is a recovery or a marked reduction in symptoms. To illustrate, we can consider the example given by Freud in lectures on the introduction to psychoanalysis, I will allow myself to give this passage as a whole:

“Nineteen-year-old blooming gifted girl, the only child of her parents, whom she surpasses in education and intellectual activity, was an unruly and playful child, and in recent years without apparent external causes has turned into a nervous. She is very irritable, especially against her mother, always unhappy, depressed, prone to indecision and doubt, and finally admits that she is not able to walk alone in the squares and large streets. We will not deal with her difficult painful condition, requiring at least two diagnoses, agoraphobia and neurosis of obsessive-compulsive conditions, but will focus only on the fact that this girl has also developed a ceremonial bedtime, from which she makes her parents suffer. We can say that in a sense, any normal person has his own ceremonial laying down to sleep or requires compliance with certain conditions, the failure of which prevents him from falling asleep; he clothed the transition from a state of wakefulness to sleep in certain forms, which he repeats in the same way every evening. But anything that requires a healthy sleep environment can be rationally understood, and if external circumstances cause the necessary changes, then it is easily obeyed. But the pathological ceremonial is uncompromising, it is able to achieve the price of the biggest victims, and it is in the same way covered by the rational justification and at superficial consideration it seems different from normal only by some exaggerated carefulness. But if you look closer, you can see that the veil of rationality is too short, that the ceremonial includes requirements that go far beyond rational justification, and others that directly contradict it. Our patient as a motive for their night precautions leads to the fact that she needs to sleep and it should eliminate all sources of noise. To this end, she acts in two ways: she stops the big clock in her room, all the other clocks are removed from the room, she does not tolerate even the presence of her tiny clock on the bracelet in the nightstand. Flower pots and vases are made on the Desk so that they could not fall at night, break and disturb her in her sleep. She knows that all these measures can only have a seeming justification for demanding peace, the ticking of a small clock can not be heard, even if they remained on the bedside table, and we all know from experience that the uniform ticking of a clock with a pendulum never interferes with sleep, but rather acts sleepy. She also recognizes that the fear that flower pots and vases left in their place at night can fall and break themselves is unlikely. For other requirements of the ceremony she no longer refers to the need of rest. Indeed, the requirement that the door between her room and her parents ‘ bedroom remain half-open, the fulfillment of which she achieves by inserting various objects into the half-open door, it seems, on the contrary, can become a source of disturbing noise. But the most important requirements apply to the bed itself. The pillow at the head of the bed should not touch the wooden headboard. A small pillow for the head can lie on a large pillow only as forming a rhombus; head then she puts exactly along the long diagonal of the rhombus. The feather bed (”Duchent”, as we say in Austria), before it can be covered, must be whipped so that its edge at the feet became quite thick, but then it will not miss the opportunity to smooth this accumulation of feathers again.

Let me go around the other, often very small details of this ceremony; they would not teach us anything new and would take us too far from our goals. Do not lose sight, however, that all this is not so smooth. At the same time, it does not leave the fear that not everything is done properly; everything must be checked, repeated, the doubt arises about one or the other precaution, and as a result, it takes about two hours, during which the girl herself can not sleep and does not allow frightened parents to sleep.

The analysis of these torments was not as simple as in the case of the obsessive action of our first patient. I had a girl to do suggestive hints and propose interpretations, which every time she was rejected with a resounding “no” or accepted with contemptuous doubt. But this first negative reaction was followed by a period when she herself was engaged in the possible interpretations proposed to her, selected the appropriate thoughts, reproduced memories, established connections, until, on the basis of her own work, she accepted all these interpretations. As it happened, it is also more inferior in the performance of the obsessive precautions and before the end of treatment declined from just ceremonial. You should also know that the analytical work, as we now do, directly excludes the sequential processing of a single symptom until its final clarification. Moreover, sometimes you have to constantly leave one topic in full confidence that you will return to it again in another connection. The interpretation of the symptom that I am about to tell you is thus a synthesis of results that, interrupted by other work, take weeks and months to produce.

Our patient is beginning to gradually realize that during her sleep preparations, she removed the clock as a symbol of the female genitals. Watches, which can be symbolically interpreted in a different way, acquire this genital role due to the periodicity of processes and the correct intervals. A woman can boast that her menstruation occurs with the correct clockwork. But especially our patient was afraid that the ticking of the clock would interfere with sleep. The ticking of the clock can be compared to the pulsation of the clitoris during sexual arousal. Because of this unpleasant feeling she really woke up repeatedly, and now this fear of erection was expressed in the requirement to remove from herself at night running hours. Flower pots and vases, like all vessels, are also female symbols. The precaution that they do not fall and not break, therefore, not devoid of meaning. We know a common custom to break a vessel or plate during the engagement. Each one present takes a shard that we should understand how the waiver of claims for the bride from the point of view of the marriage custom to monogamy. Regarding this part of the ceremony the girls got a memory and some thoughts. Once as a child, she fell with a glass or clay vessel, cut her fingers, and was bleeding heavily. When she grew up and learned the facts of sex life, she had a frightening thought that on the wedding night she would not bleed and she would not be a virgin. Her precaution against the fact that the vase did not break, means, thus, the denial of the entire complex, associated with virginity and bleeding at the first intercourse, as well as the denial of the fear of bleeding and opposite to him the fear of] not to have bleeding. To prevent the noise for which it took these measures, they had only a remote relationship.

The main meaning of her ceremony, she guessed one day, when she suddenly realized the order that the pillow did not touch the headboard. Pillow for her has always been a woman, she said, and the vertical wooden backrest – man. Thus she wanted – by magic, I might add – to share a man and a woman, i.e. to separate the parents to prevent them before the marital act. This same goal she tried to achieve before, until the introduction of ceremonial, more direct way. She feigned fear, or used existing tendency to fear in order not to give close the door between the bedroom and the nursery. This requirement still remains in her present ceremonial. Thus she created itself opportunity eavesdrop on for parents, but, using this opportunity, she once acquired insomnia, which lasted months. Not quite pleased with the opportunity to interfere with her parents in this way, she sometimes made sure that she slept in the marital bed between her father and mother. Then the “pillow” and”headboard” really couldn’t connect.”

From this example, it becomes clear that the success of the interpretation of painful symptoms in psychoanalysis is very dependent on the professionalism of the therapist, requires patient work and really helps in a number of disorders lead to recovery. The problem is that in the case of depression, it is rarely possible to identify any one episode from the patient’s past, which served as the direct cause of the disease. There are many such episodes, they are superimposed on each other, increase internal tension, until it finds a way out in the symptoms of the disease. Obviously, a lot of work needs to be done to identify and work out, one after another, each such traumatic event. And of course, psychodynamic therapy does not help the patient to solve his problems with real events occurring in the present.

Data on the effectiveness of psychoanalysis in depression are contradictory and, at least for me, unconvincing. Effective and reliable tools for detecting suppressed unconscious material in the Arsenal of psychoanalysts today I do not see. But they existed and were actively used in the 60s of the last century. Such tools were psychedelic drugs.



My first antidepressant was Prozac.

I do not know why I decided to appoint him to Cromwell Hospital. Once considered revolutionary, the drug is currently not the antidepressant of choice, there are significantly more effective analogues. In addition, in my case, I needed a drug of a completely different group. But first, let's talk a little bit about the history of antidepressants and their classification.

Nerve cells are connected to each other by means of special contacts, called synapses and consisting of the ends of the connected nerve processes, separated by synaptic or interneuronal gap. When a nerve impulse is transmitted from the end of one of the processes, neurotransmitters are released, which we have already mentioned above, and, migrating through the interneuronal gap, reach the receptor of the cell that perceives the impulse.

All antidepressants, regardless of the mechanism of action, have a therapeutic effect, increasing the concentration in the synaptic gap between the neurons of the brain of one or more neurotransmitters at once – serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine.

The history of antidepressants, like many other drugs, began by accident, with the discovery in 1957 of antidepressant properties in a number of anti-TB drugs and the proposal to use these side effects in the treatment of patients with depression. The first such drug was iproniazid.

Iproniazid, as well as its analogues, refers to the so-called non-selective and irreversible inhibitors of monoamine oxidase (MAO), the enzyme responsible for the destruction of brain-secreted mediators. It is clear that when it is suppressed, the concentration of mediators increases, which leads to a positive therapeutic effect. Other drugs of this series include imipramine, isocarboxazid, nialamide, as well as derivatives of amphetamine – tranilcipromin, pargyline. A big disadvantage of MAO inhibitors is their toxicity and the need to follow a special diet during their use in order to avoid the development of “serotonin syndrome”, poisoning the body with an excess of serotonin.

In particular, while taking MAO inhibitors should avoid eating foods such as cheeses, smoked meats, marinades, bananas, sauerkraut, legumes, yeast extracts and brewer’s yeast, red wine, beer, chocolate, caffeine, dairy products. The fact that these products in the human body do some special amino acids: tyramine, its metabolic precursor Terezin and tryptophan. Tyramine, as well as serotonin, is cleaved by monoamine oxidase and has the ability to increase blood pressure; accordingly, its excessive accumulation can lead to the development of hypertensive crises. Tryptophan also serves as a source for the production of serotonin in the body.

Serotonin syndrome is a dangerous condition, manifested by agitation and confusion, trembling limbs, respiratory failure, fever. In severe cases, it can lead to the death of the patient. MAO inhibitors are also incompatible with a range of medications, such as psychostimulants, antidepressants of another chemical group, cough medicines containing sympathomimetics, and many others.

Work to eliminate these deficiencies of the first antidepressants led to the synthesis of selective Mao inhibitors, the next generation of agents that require less restrictions on their appointment. These include Moclobemide, Pirlindola (Pirazidol) Eprobemide and Metralindol. However, due to the current presence of antidepressants with fewer side effects, MAO inhibitors are now rarely used for special indications. In particular, they are well established in the treatment of atypical depression.

The next group of antidepressants on the market were tricyclic antidepressants. They had less side effects and did not require a special diet. Tricycles are also compatible with a large number of other drugs. These include amitriptyline, nortriptyline, imipramine, anafranil, trimipramine and others.

Part of the tricyclic antidepressants, along with the actual antidepressant, also has an anti-anxiety and sedative effect, this group includes, for example, amitriptyline and trimipramine. In the action of others, such as imipramine and nortriptyline, expressed, on the contrary, the stimulating effect.

In General, tricyclic antidepressants are quite effective drugs for the treatment of depression, they affect the exchange of several mediators and are characterized by a relatively fast time of therapeutic effect, compared with drugs of other groups. Their great disadvantage is the indiscriminate effects and the presence of serious side effects – lethargy, drowsiness, dry mouth, constipation, inhibition of libido and erection.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) became the latest class of antidepressants, which gained huge popularity due to the selectivity of action and the presence of fewer side effects. As the name implies, the drugs of this series inhibit the reuptake of nerve endings already isolated in the intersynaptic gap of serotonin, which leads to an increase in its concentration and enhance its inherent effects. The first drug of this series was the famous Prozac. With his appearance, many predicted the beginning of a revolution in the treatment of depression, the final solution to the problem. This of course did not happen. SSRIs are really convenient to use and less poison the patient’s life with side effects, but the price for this is their lower efficiency, compared to tricyclics and MAO inhibitors.

In addition to Prozac (fluoxetine), this group includes sertraline (zoloft), paroxetine (paxil), fluvoxamine (Luvox), estsitalopram (Cipralex), citalopram (CELEX). Despite the lower frequency and severity of side effects, SSRIs are all the same from them is not free. The most common are insomnia or, conversely, drowsiness, headache, tremor, fatigue, sweating, nausea, libido and potency disorders, ejaculation delay.

Subsequently, selective drugs with the same mechanism of action as SSRIs acting on the exchange of other neurotransmitters were synthesized:

Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSRIS))

Reboxetine (Edronax), Atomoxetine (Straterra) are usually well tolerated and have a pronounced activity in melancholic depression.

Selective inhibitors of reverse takeover serotonin and noradrenalina (Sossin)

Venlafaxine (Effexor), DULOXETINE (Cymbalta), Milnacipran (Ixelles)

Modern antidepressants with small side effects, are more effective than SSRIs and SSRI, are approaching in this respect to tricyclic antidepressants. Proved to be effective in the treatment of severe depression.

Selective reuptake inhibitors of norepinephrine and dopamine (Cesnid)

Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban)

A very interesting drug, has a pronounced energizing and stimulating effect, some researchers even treated previously to psychostimulants. It is effective in melancholic depression, has a disinhibiting effect on the libido, which distinguishes it from most other antidepressants that have the opposite effect. An interesting feature of Bupropion is to reduce the thrust to the use of nicotine, for use for this purpose it is produced under the commercial name “Zyban“.

Noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressants (Nassa)

Mianserin (Lerivon, Bonseron) and Mirtazapine (Remeron)

Drugs in this group affect the metabolism of norepinephrine and serotonin, it is blocking the serotonin receptors responsible for the side effects at prima SSRIs, such as nausea, decreased libido, nervousness, insomnia. However, they have a pronounced sedative effect and contribute to weight gain, through the effect on insulin metabolism, increased appetite and water retention in the body.

Specific serotonergic antidepressants (SSA)

For drugs in this group include Trazodone (Desyrel, Trittico) and its newer derivative of Nefazodone (Serzon).

SSA, as well as Nyssa, block the “bad” receptors of serotonin and do not cause some side effects inherent in the classic SSRI. Trazodon, for example, has a stimulating effect on potency in men and can even lead to the development of priapism, painful long-term erection, requiring, approximately in every third case, surgery.

Nefazodon has a strong hepatotoxicity, which limits its use, it is currently banned for sale in the United States.

In General, there are several common stereotypes about antidepressants. Some patients believe that taking psychotropic drugs or even a consultation with a psychiatrist are equal to recognizing themselves as crazy and continue to endure their suffering, hoping that everything will resolve itself. This is self-deception, and self-deception is very dangerous. In any case, it is impossible to allow the chronification of the process, the earlier adequate treatment is prescribed, the more likely the positive outcome of the disease. It should be understood that depression is the same disease as hypertension or gastric ulcer, and requires appropriate therapy, the disease can not be anything shameful.

Another common opinion is the hypertrophied danger of taking antidepressants, an exaggeration of the degree of harm they cause to the body. Many people think that a serious dependence develops to antidepressants, almost as to drugs, and, having hooked on them once, it will be almost impossible to get off. This is certainly not the case. Antidepressants are designed for long-term use, and most of them do not cause any undesirable effects after completion of treatment and discontinuation of their use. There are some exceptions to this rule, which I will discuss later in this Chapter.

There are also concerns, mainly from creative professionals, about the possible negative impact of psychotropic drugs on creativity. What can we say about this? Yes, a number of drugs (not all!) has a sedative effect and enhances the braking processes in the brain. But if you suffer from depression, your creativity will be weakened in any case, and it is in your best interest to get out of this state as soon as possible. Antidepressants, with all their shortcomings, make it possible to bring your mind in order in the shortest possible time, compared to other treatments. In addition, the positive effect of their reception in most cases overlaps the negative and creative abilities can even improve on the background of taking drugs, compared with the same abilities in the absence of adequate treatment.

A big disadvantage of almost all antidepressants is the slowness of the effect, in most cases it takes at least 2-4 weeks to start the actual antidepressant action. Anti-anxiety or, on the contrary, a stimulating effect, may develop earlier. This feature causes certain difficulties in the selection of the drug for the treatment of a particular patient.

First of all, the doctor should evaluate the type of depressive disorder and prescribe an antidepressant to the patient, which has the necessary characteristics to combat this type of disease. For example, in case of anxiety depression should choose a drug with a sedative component of the impact, with inhibited, on the contrary, with stimulating.

Specific drugs are selected depending on the degree of disease. With mild depression, it is even possible to dispense with the appointment of herbal preparations based on St. John’s wort, which have moderate antidepressant activity.

St. John’s wort has practically no side effects, except for the phenomena of photosensitization, increasing the sensitivity of the skin to ultraviolet radiation: during its reception, it is contraindicated to sunbathe and visit the Solarium.

At an average, and in some cases of mild depression the drugs of choice are inhibitors of reuptake neurotransmitters, the SSRI, NARI, Sossin, Sioned. In severe depression, large doses of tricyclic antidepressants are prescribed, combined with drugs of another group. MAO inhibitors have proven themselves in the treatment of atypical depression, in which the symptoms of classical depressive disease are not expressed, vegetative disorders, anxiety prevail, the reverse cycle of daily mood fluctuations is characteristic, in the morning the emotional state is better than in the evening.

Two important factors should be taken into account when assessing the effectiveness of antidepressant action on a particular patient. It’s time and dosage. To develop the effect, it is necessary to give the drug a time of at least a month, after which, depending on the results, you can adjust the dosage upward or downward. If the result is unsatisfactory and after adjustments, which may be several, the doctor should either change the drug, or Supplement its effect with the appointment of another antidepressant.

It is clear that the selection of the drug occurs by trial and error, it may take many months before it is possible to determine the optimal scheme of drug treatment. The General rule of drug therapy for depression is to achieve the disappearance of all its symptoms, after which treatment continues for at least six months, after which a gradual decrease in dosage begins, until the complete abolition of the antidepressants used.

Unfortunately, this tactic is not always effective. Antidepressants do not treat the cause of depression, they only remove its symptoms, and if during treatment nothing has changed in the patient’s life, the traumatic factors have not gone or have not been worked out, the likelihood of relapse is very high.

It is important to keep in mind that antidepressants are incompatible with alcohol. First, there may be a cumulative sedative effect from the simultaneous intake of alcohol and a number of antidepressants used to treat anxiety depression. Can develop serious poisoning of the body, up to the suppression of the respiratory center and death. Secondly, alcohol further enhances the processes of inhibition in the brain of patients with melancholic depression. And thirdly, the interaction of alcohol and a number of psychotropic drugs has not yet been fully studied and the neurotoxic effect on the brain tissue of their metabolic products is not excluded.

As I said above, most antidepressants are not addictive and addictive. Antidepressants are designed for long-term, in some cases even life-long use. Very many of them do not cause any withdrawal syndrome. But for some drugs, there are certain difficulties associated with discontinuation of their use. Of those antidepressants that I have taken, these include Paxil and Effexor (Venlaflaxine).

The paxil by itself, the drug is very effective. It belongs to the SSRI, inhibits the reuptake of serotonin in the synaptic cleft and is in this respect stronger than Prozac and Zoloft. An additional advantage of Paxil is its positive effect on the treatment of social phobia, patients become more sociable, social activities frighten them to a lesser extent. At the same time, Paxil has a short half-life from the body, and therefore the risk of withdrawal syndrome at the termination of its reception is quite high.

I took paxil for about two months and was dissatisfied with its effect, but trying to switch to another drug, experienced serious unpleasant effects, the mood has deteriorated, increased the frequency of panic attacks, I almost could not normally perform their social functions. I had to go back to him, given the fact that the second time to remove the drug is already under the supervision of a doctor and with great caution.

The effector did not come to me from the first days, I had difficulty sleeping, severe dizziness and stopped taking it less than a week after the start of the course. Personally, I didn’t have withdrawal syndrome, but I’ve met a few reviews online from people who have taken it significantly longer than I have, and for whom the rejection of the Effector has become a big problem.

Below I will briefly describe my experience of taking other antidepressants.

As I said, Prozac was my first psychotropic drug. I knew that the action of SSRIs, to which he belongs, develops slowly, but nevertheless laid great hopes on him, believing that bringing back to normal the disturbed balance of serotonin will eliminate all manifestations of my disease.

Prozac was released on the pharmacological market in the mid-80s of the last century and quickly gained immense popularity, becoming a cultural phenomenon, imprinted in several popular works of literature. With the advent of great hopes were linked, there were concerns about the decline of psychoanalysis, the uselessness of all the others that existed on the day of antidepressant drugs. Minimal, compared with MAO inhibitors and tricyclics, the number of side effects allowed to take it daily, without making significant changes in your lifestyle, a kind of lifestyle drug.

But it turned out that for better portability you have to pay less efficiency. I took Prozac for three months, initially 20 mg in the morning, then this dose was doubled. It was the most useless antidepressant I’ve ever been prescribed. It did not have any positive effect on me, these three months I add to the previous six, conducted without receiving adequate therapy.

As a result, I changed not only the antidepressant, but also the attending physician. The next in the list of my drugs was zoloft, the same SSRI, but more modern and considered more effective. I took it for a few months, and it had some antidepressant effects. Do zoloft stronger than Prozac, but the normalization of the exchange of serotonin for me was not enough, and I switched to Remeron.

The advantage of this drug is the effect on the metabolism of not only serotonin, but norepinephrine. Don’t know why, but it was in my case practically useless. In addition to some anti-anxiety action, I did not feel anything and two months later was transferred to the drug from the same group Lerivon (Mianserin).

Lerivon has a strong sedative effect, he removed the alarm, but with it eliminated any desire for any activity during the day. I had a feeling that I was wearing a helmet on my head, which protected my mind from any influence of the outside world, both negative and positive. On Lerivone I first felt a good antidepressant effect, in General, the drug for me was quite effective, and I took it for about six months. Its huge drawback is the water retention in the body and increased appetite, leading to rapid weight gain. For the first three months I added 10 kg, instead of 75 kg I began to weigh 85 kg. Before the therapy I did not think it was a big problem, but very quickly I realized that this weight strongly poisons my life. Dissatisfaction with my appearance and physical discomfort did not contribute to the improvement of my emotional state. In addition, the complete reduction of symptoms has not occurred, despite the constant increase in dosage.

As a result, I decided to turn to tricyclic antidepressants and started taking amitrip-Tylin. This is a very effective drug. With the right dosage, it can really eliminate all the symptoms of depression. In my case, this happened at 150 mg per day, which is not a very large, average dose. Amitriptyline affects the exchange of all three major mediators and has a pronounced sedative effect, in some sources indicate its stimulating, at a certain dosage, the effect, I did not notice.

Together with depression, amitriptyline cuts off all the emotions from a person, most of the day I was half asleep, slept for 10-12 hours a day. About any pleasure from life of the speech and could not be, I turned into the robot which did not test not only sufferings, but also in General more than anything. Besides, I have developed a normal weight for tricyclics, the side effects: constant thirst and dry mouth, severe urinary retention, confusion in thought and action, slow speech, almost totally killed libido and potency. The most unpleasant was the feeling of dullness, each thought had to be formulated with difficulty, suddenly the vocabulary became poor, writing a short e-mail became a big problem for me.

With all this, depression and anxiety was not, objectively, I no longer felt related to them of torment, the life of the vegetable was preferable to constant fear and depression. This went on for another 8 months, in full compliance with the existing medical doctrine, my doctor (the third in a row) and I achieved a complete reduction of symptoms in two months and waited another six months before the start of the dosage reduction.

With a decrease in the amount of amitriptyline taken, the symptoms began to return strictly in the same order in which they disappeared. I wasn’t just disappointed. I realized that drug treatment in my sense is simply meaningless without addressing the real causes of depression, which I still had a long time to understand. But this was still far away, and I had to think what to do next. I did not want to return to the previous dose of amitriptyline and drag out my former existence. All this time I was supported by the hope for a cure, the fact that in six months or a year everything will end and I have to endure this time, only temporarily live the life of a vegetable. The prospect of a permanent existence in this mode did not suit me.

I changed another psychiatrist. In fact, such throwing does not make much sense, in drug therapy of depression there is a certain pattern, which is followed by more or less versed in the subject of doctors. I see my behavior as another manifestation of illness, a break from reality, in the hope of finding a miraculous deliverance.

In this state, I began to combine drugs. Having reduced the dose of amitriptyline twice to feel something, I consistently added fluvoxamine, zoloft, paxil to it, without achieving a satisfactory result.

So here is a blind I picked up for myself an effective drug. They found Trazodone (Desyrel). These days, this antidepressant is not very popular, preference is usually given to serotonin drugs like Zoloft and Paxil, but I suddenly went very well. Expressed antidepressant effect I felt a few days after starting, which is unusual for most of these drugs. It was combined with a good anti-anxiety effect, due to the sedative nature of trazodone, but softer, not causing total dullness, as in the case of amitriptyline. Another advantage of trazodone was its positive effect on sexual function, as I wrote above, because of this effect, it is sometimes prescribed as an auxiliary drug for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, including that caused by taking other antidepressants.

In this combination, Amitriptyline + Trazodon, I lasted quite a long time. There was some compromise between depression and emotional stupidity, I was somewhere in the border area, not falling in any direction. Health is of course the name was not, moreover, such a therapeutic approach is wrong, because of incomplete reduction of the symptoms of depression leads to its stable of chronification. But what was I supposed to do?

The last time you start taking the drug in my case was Wellbutrin. Unfortunately, today it is not officially delivered to Russia and can be purchased only on Western websites. The drug is very interesting, and we can only regret that it is not available to most Russian patients. Its peculiarity is the effect on the exchange of dopamine and norepinephrine, as a result of Wellbutrin has a stimulating effect and is effective in the treatment of anhedonia, the inability to enjoy life. This is manifested in the disinhibiting effect on the libido, and in the General increase in human sensuality.

Wellbutrin suited me, I took the usual therapeutic dose, 150 mg every morning, combining it with trazodone and amitriptyline. The dosage of the latter varied depending on the effectiveness of other methods used by me at different times to combat the disease. For this cocktail I continued to hold on to the last two years. Manifestations of depression at the same time significantly reduced, but still not completely disappeared. I did not experience more panic attacks due to the sedative effect of trazodone and amitriptyline and could remain relatively active due to the stimulating effect of Wellbutrin. Actually tonight I took sadatoki to sleep, and stimulants to Wake up.

This regime is by no means universal, and the selection of antidepressants should be made individually in each case. But I hope that the information in this Chapter has given you some insight into the mechanism of action of various drugs and can help you in finding, together with your doctor, a suitable antidepressant or a combination of them.

Can antidepressants cure depression? In some cases. If the depressive episode occurred for the first time, was diagnosed in time and has not yet had time to be chronicled, if the correct treatment is prescribed from the beginning of the disease, and the traumatic situation was resolved during the course of therapy, then Yes, there is a chance that only drug therapy can defeat depression.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In most cases, antidepressants allow the patient to gain time, give a break, during which it is necessary, using psychotherapy and other methods, to cope with the cause of the disease, to deal with their own mental blocks and change the attitude to the traumatic situation.

To do this, it is important to undergo courses of psychotherapy.

Do you have depression?

Do you have depression?

Many people think that depression is a bad mood. This view is certainly wrong, if you are a living person, then you have inevitable periods of emotional decline and recovery. Depression begins when you lose the ability to cope with such downturns. If a healthy person is yelled at by the boss, his mood will certainly deteriorate, this is completely normal. Such a person will stay in a bad mood for some time, but then inevitably he will be distracted, will work this negative on an unconscious level and will live on. There may be situations when the" precipitate " will still remain for a long time (how to deal with this, I'll tell you below), but nevertheless this episode will not poison the rest of a healthy person's life.

When depression is different. The most common signs of its presence are causeless bad mood, loss of the ability to enjoy life and increased fatigue for at least two weeks. Under the wanton here refers to the lack of daily traumatisierung factor causing an emotional depression. It doesn’t mean that if you’re rude on the bus, you have a reason to fall into melancholy for the next two weeks.

It should also be borne in mind that depression can be masked, that is not manifested through bad mood, and any somatic factors, disorders at the level of organs and systems of the body. Such depression is also unpleasant because it is poorly diagnosed. This is exactly what happened in my case, six months I was treated for anything, but not for depression. During these six months, I managed to undergo treatment for thyroid insufficiency, gastroesophageal (gastro-esophageal) reflux, gastric erosion, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic myocarditis, giardium and a number of other diseases.

Fortunately, there are quite objective methods for diagnosing depression. To assess the presence and severity of the disease, specialists use several scales, such as the Hamilton, Beck or Gotland scale. All of them are a set of questions, for each of which there are several possible answers, estimated by a different number of points. It is believed that the assessment should be made by a psychiatrist, and this is correct. It is always easier for a specialist to objectively assess the accuracy of your answers, clarify unclear points, ask leading questions.

At the same time, if you suspect that you have a depressive disorder and think that you are able to answer the questions as honestly as possible, it makes sense to test yourself before you run headlong to a psychiatrist. A negative answer may not always be correct in the case of self-test, but a positive is a sufficient reason for a visit to a specialist.

For independent work more than others suitable scale Zang.

Zang scale for self-assessment of depression (ZDRS)

Zang scale for self-assessment of depression (The Zung self-rating depression scale) was first published in the UK and subsequently received international recognition. It is developed on the basis of diagnostic criteria of depression and the results of a survey of patients with this disorder. Assessment of the severity of depression on it is based on the patient’s self-assessment. The scale contains 20 questions, each of which gives an answer to the frequency of occurrence of a particular feature, ranked in four gradations: “rare”, “sometimes”, “often” and “most of the time or constantly.”

Method of application: before starting the procedure, the subject should be acquainted with the method of working with the scale. The scale is filled in by the subject, and the specialist does not take part in its filling. The time required to fill in takes a few minutes.

The total score is determined by the results of the answers to all 20 points.

How it all began

Analyzing now my past, trying to find the causes of depression, I understand that there is no one traumatic situation that led to the development of the disease. Undoubtedly, my childhood experiences played a huge role. I was quite a weak physically and sickly child, and although I’m still not fully aware of everything that scared and traumatized me in the deep past, the intensive therapy I went through at Dr. Janov Center in Los Angeles and months of practice of my method convinced me that the roots of the problem grow from childhood.

At the same time, in full accordance with the causes of depression, set out in one of the previous chapters, in my mind there were a lot of quite conscious traumatic episodes from the less distant past and even the present. All this tension grew like a snowball and did not find a way out, in the end the psyche had to not withstand such pressure and break. That is what happened in August 2002.

At that time, I only suffered from the flu and was still in the recovery period, was weakened physically, residual effects continued to manifest themselves. It so happened that in the same period I was under the influence of chronic stress associated with problems at work and difficult relationships with his girlfriend. Problems have not been resolved for several months, and if the complexity of the working order, I objectively could not have any significant impact, the solution to the problems in my personal life was not due to the blocks, beliefs, blinkers, if you like, that existed in my mind at that time. All this mental stuff accumulated for decades and did not allow me to breathe calmly and carefully analyze the emerging life situations.

One fine morning I woke up and was surprised to find that my heart was beating faster than usual, without any physical or intellectual stress. Without paying special attention to it, I went to work, by the end of the working day to heartbeat the expressed shortness of breath was added. This went on for a few days, but I was really worried when I started daily bursts and drops in body temperature, with nothing obvious associated and not following any sustainable pattern.

My medical education played a cruel joke on me. The emotional sphere at that time had not yet been touched, and I was looking for the cause of ill health in anything but a depressive disorder. By the third week, my condition began to bother me seriously, I developed severe asthenia, I was tired very quickly and could not concentrate on doing any, even the most simple work.

The trip to the therapist and the General examination revealed no abnormalities, except for palpitations. There was a suspicion of myocarditis, which was rejected after a special instrumental examination. The next stage was the elimination of hormonal disorders, a detailed analysis revealed a slightly reduced level of thyroid hormones, and the next stage of my epic began.

On the recommendation of an endocrinologist, I started taking thyroxine, the main product of the thyroid gland, with regular blood tests and monitoring of hormone levels. I must say that the process is not fast and we spent another month to fix the minimum violation that was found in me. Needless to say, it did not produce any results.

Since I did not receive adequate treatment, my condition continued to deteriorate, and now he added disorders of the digestive system. The first was a stable heartburn, after taking almost any food, it quickly led to the development of pain in the stomach and the emergence of erosion of the gastric wall. In addition to thyroid hormones, I started taking drugs to reduce the acidity of gastric juice and was treated with antibiotics for the eradication of Helicobacter pilory, a bacterium that causes stomach ulcers.

As soon as I heal one manifestation of the disease, as she found a way out in something else, now I had to deal with gastroesophageal reflux, an extremely unpleasant disease, manifested by the casting of undigested food and gastric juice from the stomach into the esophagus. Another series of examinations, unsuccessful drug therapy and the proposed surgery aimed at narrowing the diameter of the gastro-esophageal valve. All this against the background of continuous deterioration of the General state of health.

I understood that the operation would not solve anything and would not save me from suffering. It was necessary to find the root cause of the disease, and I went to London, for examination in Cromwell Hospital, one of the best private hospitals in the UK. By this time, I looked so depressed that, to the credit of my therapist, he didn’t have to exhaust me with numerous and unnecessary tests. First of all, looking at my hormonal tests and conducting an external examination, he immediately said that my thyroid is all right, and advised me to immediately throw out all my pills for hypothyroidism.

Then, after asking me in detail about the symptoms of the disease and the effect of the treatment (or rather, its absence), he was the first to utter the fatal word: “Depression”. In other circumstances, I would have been extremely upset by such a diagnosis, but by that time I was so exhausted that I was even glad to see him. Anything to get some certainty and the right treatment. I had no idea what was ahead of me. I was sick by this time for about six months.

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