“The dispute then... is not about any common matter, but about being mad or not” (M. Aurelius, XI, 38).
I used this quote in my article called Positive Vision No. 3: Transnational Corporations are Extinct from my December 2010 Retreat. I have now come across evidence that this is indeed what the problem is. Lack of mental health due to lack of physical well-being is the reason why humans are destroying nature, and of particular interest for this blog, destroying our food.
Wikipedia has a reference to a study done by psychologists Belinda Board and Katarina Fritzon at the University of Surrey, UK in 2005. It costs £25 to purchase the article and since I have no research monies, I’ll just share what Wikipedia has under Personality Disorders.
Board and Fritzon “interviewed and gave personality tests to high-level British executives and compared their profiles with those of criminal psychiatric patients at Broadmoor Hospital in the UK. They found that three out of eleven personality disorders were actually more common in executives than in the disturbed criminals:
• Histrionic personality disorder: including superficial charm, insincerity, egocentricity and manipulation.
• Narcissistic personality disorder: including grandiosity, self-focused lack of empathy for others, exploitativeness and independence.
• Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder: including perfectionism, excessive devotion to work, rigidity, stubbornness and dictatorial tendencies.”
In the abstract to the article, it states that the findings provide strong support for the continuous distribution of personality disordered traits.
I came across this little gem because I was looking for information about borderline personality disorder which was diagnosed for someone I know who started out with an eating disorder. For some unknown reason, many people do not connect the stomach to the brain and realise that everything that is put in the stomach has an effect on the body, including the brain! I find this especially mystifying considering that mental illnesses are by and large treated with medications that are taken orally. However, when a person with an eating disorder gets worse with signs of personality disorder, a mental illness is diagnosed and the eating disorder becomes obsolete. Why are doctors not trained in nutrition more often?
It seems to be common sense to me that if a person has an eating disorder, the diet needs to be corrected. But even in cases of mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, where a poor diet is not so obvious, there is quite a bit of authority to support the connection starting out with Hippocrates, 460-370 BC who stated that all diseases begin in the gut. Jumping to the present day, Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride, author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome, supports this theory. She refers to the father of modern psychiatry, French psychiatrist Phillipe Pinel who concluded in 1807 that “The primary seat of insanity generally is in the region of the stomach and intestines.” Besides Hippocrates and Pinel she mentions Henderson and Gillepsie who published a Textbook of Psychiatry in 1937 where they call for a thorough examination of all people diagnosed with schizophrenia because of a trend of poor nourishment among such patients. She also says that C. Dohan, R. Cade, K. Rachelt, A. Hoffer, C. Pfeiffer and other doctors and scientists have supported the hypothesis that schizophrenia is connected to the gut with conclusive scientific evidence.
This is why I am so concerned with the present day scale of the destruction of our food. Besides climate change, environmental degradation, obesity and other physical health pandemics, etc etc, mental health is degrading because of the poor quality of food that has become the norm.
To give you some idea of the scale of the problem, I’ve collated a few statistics. I know statistics are inaccurate and unreliable, but they will give you a glimpse of what is happening. Besides the people in mainstream society with personality disorders who have not been diagnosed, we have the following:
According to the Mental Health Foundation in the UK 1 in 4 people experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year, especially depression and anxiety. There's also the case of just wanting something to calm down, as made famous by the Rolling Stones in their song Mother's Little Helper.
Indeed, Stephen Williams (Bristol West, Liberal Democrat) recently asked the Secretary of State for Health in the UK how many prescriptions for (a) individual benzodiazepine drugs and (b) anti-depressants were dispensed by the National Health Service in 2010 and I reproduce the answer in full because it is quite telling.
Table 1: Number of benzodiazepine prescription items written in the United Kingdom and dispensed in the community in England in the year 2010, as classified as hypnotics and anxiolytics in British National Formulary section 4.1.1. and 4.1.2.
BNF chemical name Prescription items (Thousand)
Chlordiazepoxide Hydrochloride 213.9
Diazepam (Valium) 5,148.4
Flurazepam Hydrochloride (1)
Loprazolam Mesilate 88.6
Total for BNF Section 4.1 10,493.7
(1) Less than 50 prescription items dispensed Source: Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) system.
Table 2: Number of benzodiazepine prescription items written in the UK and dispensed in the community in England in the year 2010, as classified as antiepileptic drugs in British National Formulary (BNF) section 4.8.1.
BNF chemical name Prescriptions items (Thousand)
Midazolam Hydrochloride(1) 0.3
Total for BNF Section 4.8 854.3
(1) Oromucosal Hydrochloride pre-filled syringes—a new classification from the second quarter of 2010. Source: PCA system.
Table 3: N umber of benzodiazepine prescription items written in the UK and dispensed in the community in England in the year 2010, as classified as anaesthesia drugs in British National Formulary (BNF) section 15.1.4.
BNF chemical name Prescription items (Thousand)
Midazolam Hydrochloride 83.1
Total for BNF Section 15.1 83.1
Source: PCA system
Table 4: Number of antidepressant prescription items written in the UK and dispensed in the community in England in the year 2010, as classified as antidepressant drugs in British National Formulary (BNF) section 4.3.
BNF chemical name Prescription items (Thousand)
Antidepressant drugs 42,788.0
Total for BNF Section 4.3 42,788.0
Source: PCA system
So lots of prescriptions were given in the UK last year for anxiety and depression (54, 219,100). This in a country with a population of 61,838,154 in 2009. I'm sure that the US, being so much bigger, had lots more such prescriptions dispensed though. Remember, medications all have side-effects and may resolve the symptoms for one ailment, but cause one or more new ones (sometimes more serious than the original complaint as with my example of an eating disorder escalating to borderline personality disorder).
I won't go into it in detail, but alcohol and marihuana need a mention. Alcohol is a poison to the body, including the brain. Causing thousands of deaths every year and countless problems, alcoholism is quite a common condition. Marihuana on the other hand, is touted as a health remedy and used as such in places such as California. However, it's a hallucinogenic drug that can tip the balance for some into becoming psychotic. It's also a possible mental condition all its own, that of being intoxicated. Although mostly temporary, a state of being high, which of course is accomplished with many illegal drugs, is not the picture of mental health that I ascribe to. Over two million people use marihuana, also known as cannabis, in the UK and an interesting video is: Cannabis What's the Harm?
Moving up a notch, 1 in 100 people have schizophrenia, 1 in 100 have autism and 1 in 50 have Asperger’s syndrome. These figures are generally accurate for the UK and the US. Again, these and all mental illness are likely to be treated with medications.
Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million American adults, or about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.
ADD/ADHD generally affects 3% - 5% of American children and adults, but experts warn that many who could benefit from appropriate treatment still remain undiagnosed. Doctors in one study estimated that only one in eight children who qualify for diagnosis actually receive medication for their ADD/ADHD (as if medication is the best way to improve the situation!). It is estimated that 4.7% of American adults live with ADHD.
Anorexia nervosa most commonly affects teens, as many as 3 in 100. “Although anorexia seldom appears before puberty, associated mental conditions, such as depression and obsessive-compulsive behaviour, are usually more severe when it does. Anorexia is often preceded by a traumatic event and is usually accompanied by other emotional problems. Anorexia is a life-threatening condition that can result in death from starvation, heart failure, electrolyte imbalance, or suicide.”
Bulimia nervosa is prevalent in between 1 and 2% of women aged 15–40 years and some men suffer from it too.
Dylslexia can affect between 5% to 10% of a given population and Dyspraxia is thought to affect up to 10% of the population and up to 2% severely.
And then we have a whole slew of other mental conditions. Some are already mentioned above, but I won't even try to give any statistics for these. Just be aware that many people out there suffer from them, whether diagnosed or not:
• paranoid personality disorder
• schizoid personality disorder
• schizotypal personality disorder
• borderline personality disorder
• antisocial personality disorder
• narcissistic personality disorder
• histrionic personality disorder
• avoidant personality disorder
• dependent personality disorder
• obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, and
• intellectual disabilities.
In a video for Wise Traditions, Dr Campbell-McBride explains how the gut and the mind ‘talk’ to one another. By taking this into consideration as well as the power of the mind in recovering from illness, I came to the conclusion that Hippocrates was right from another angle. If the gut is out of balance and unhealthy, it leads to an unbalanced and unhealthy mind which in turn could logically lead to every ailment under the sun. In other words, not only would the body be physically incapable of fighting off disease, but the mind would be too. Just surrender and be assimilated! So say the Borg... Brain washing, propaganda, advertisements and the media are all used to influence us to act against our best interests to the point where a large portion of us have a medical condition.
Another interesting point about all of this is that the psychopathic corporate managers are basically preying on the mentally ill, the number of which appears to be substantial and growing each day. Governments working in partnership with corporations are co-conspirators in this. Not only do the mentally ill have problems with thinking, emotional difficulties and physical problems to match, they are often unemployed or part-time temporary workers living on the borderline of poverty. The cheap processed foods that lack nutrition and even contain harmful substances are targeted at these people who, when it comes to their health, can least afford it. On the other hand, the business/work oriented are also being targeted with quick meal solutions because of their lack of time, energy, and opportunity to cook. All processed fast food is becoming more and more dangerous for health.
In conclusion, my primary diagnosis for the B’org is obsessive-compulsive personality disorder: including perfectionism, excessive devotion to work, rigidity, stubbornness and dictatorial tendencies. And given that most doctors do not have a clue about nutrition, it’s no surprise that those who work in the food industry are just as clueless. And what about the politicians? Maybe instead of lawyers, as is oft the case, we should elect doctors with master's degrees in nutrition to run our governments around the world.
I would highly recommend Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride's current books for natural treatment for illness, whether mental or physical, or simply to improve one's health generally.
Put your Heart in Your Mouth, Natural treatment for Atherosclerosis, Angina, Heart Attack, High Blood Pressure, Stroke, Arrhythmia, Peripheral Vascular Disease (2007)
Gut and Psychology Syndrome, Natural treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia ADD/ADHD/Dyslexia, Depression, Schizophrenia (2010 version)