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Distrust of antidepressants

Thrashymachus

Re: Distrust of antidepressants
May 21, 2010, 02:13:12 AM
I like psychedelics, too.  How is using them to escape reality better than using anti-depressants?

What is reality? Our brains are always subject to neurochemistry, in the normal state or in a drugged state. We don't know whether our perception of reality is more "real" under certain drugs than when we are in our normal state, so how can you confirm that drug use=escaping reality in all cases? Opiates and ssri's are different, since they simply make you feel good.

Re: Distrust of antidepressants
May 21, 2010, 02:53:03 AM
Quote from: Thrashymachus
What is reality? Our brains are always subject to neurochemistry, in the normal state or in a drugged state. We don't know whether our perception of reality is more "real" under certain drugs than when we are in our normal state, so how can you confirm that drug use=escaping reality in all cases? Opiates and ssri's are different, since they simply make you feel good.
Drug use isn't escaping reality in all cases.  For example, giving a schizophrenic anti-psychotic medication can allow them to see the world normally.  However, psychedelic drugs are a subcategory of hallucinogeons.  When you take them, they mimic neurotransmitters and artificially distort your perception of reality.  So yes, using psychedelics is escaping from reality.  They are excellent for inducing creative, contemplative, or "spiritual" states, and they can even disrupt certain neurotic or projective thought processes, but saying they allow for a more real perception of reality is simply delusional.

Thrashymachus

Re: Distrust of antidepressants
May 21, 2010, 03:06:28 AM
Quote from: Thrashymachus
What is reality? Our brains are always subject to neurochemistry, in the normal state or in a drugged state. We don't know whether our perception of reality is more "real" under certain drugs than when we are in our normal state, so how can you confirm that drug use=escaping reality in all cases? Opiates and ssri's are different, since they simply make you feel good.
Drug use isn't escaping reality in all cases.  For example, giving a schizophrenic anti-psychotic medication can allow them to see the world normally.  However, psychedelic drugs are a subcategory of hallucinogeons.  When you take them, they mimic neurotransmitters and artificially distort your perception of reality.  So yes, using psychedelics is escaping from reality.  They are excellent for inducing creative, contemplative, or "spiritual" states, and they can even disrupt certain neurotic or projective thought processes, but saying they allow for a more real perception of reality is simply delusional.

Not if we accept that our perception of reality is already skewed. Until we know what 'reality' is we can't assume our brain is a keyhole to reality in its normal state. The psycho may very well have a more accurate perception of reality than the sane person. Lovecraft anyone?

Re: Distrust of antidepressants
May 21, 2010, 03:40:17 AM
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Not if we accept that our perception of reality is already skewed.
Of course our perceptions of reality are imperfect.  How could they not be?

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Until we know what 'reality' is we can't assume our brain is a keyhole to reality in its normal state.  The psycho may very well have a more accurate perception of reality than the sane person.
Assuming we're discussing the senses and not other faculties of the brain, we do have a way of verifying whether certain perceptions of reality are more or less accurate than others.  For example, the psycho will often hear voices or see people that do not correspond to anything that is manifest in reality.  These things exist merely as representations in their head and confusing them with reality makes one delusional.  This can be demonstrated any number of ways.  I favor scientific inquiry.

Your logic implies that if you have an imperfect system (our senses in normal state) and fuck it up (take drugs) that it will in some way correct the system.  Maybe that could happen by accident on rare occassions, but we don't write the rule based on the exception.

Thrashymachus

Re: Distrust of antidepressants
May 21, 2010, 03:53:44 AM
Your logic implies that if you have an imperfect system (our senses in normal state) and fuck it up (take drugs) that it will in some way correct the system.  Maybe that could happen by accident on rare occassions, but we don't write the rule based on the exception.

If I implied that, it was not my intention. You say antipsychotic drugs can take a psycho towards a more accurate perception of reality, which I accept. So represented by letters on a scale of A to C, where assuming the most accurate perception corresponding to reality is A and normal person is at B. The psycho is at C and the drugs carry him back towards B. Is it not also possible, for example, that if the normal state of the brain is at B, certain drugs similarly carry us towards A?

Re: Distrust of antidepressants
May 21, 2010, 04:04:16 AM
There are exceptions to every rule. By and large, people just need to learn to deal with their own shit in a proactive way.

Re: Distrust of antidepressants
May 21, 2010, 06:43:52 AM
Various responses;

SSRI's disrupt removal of serotonin from the synaptic cleft, over time causing a steady increase in free serotonin. While the drugs aren't 'habit forming' in the traditional sense they will often cause a rebound syndrome when they are discontinued. Stopping an SSRI abruptly causes a massive shift in the brains chemical equilibrium, essentially shorting it of the surplus neurotransmitters it's adapted to working with. The rebound leaves the patient with lower serotonin levels and a good two week shit slide of horrible symptoms until the brain can reconfigure itself. Known as SSRI discontinuation syndrome, it's known to occur even when patients are gradually weaned off their drugs.

Cannabis is mentioned in the same context because the cannabinoids also affect the serotonic system (though that is not the only neurotransmitter they affect) and long term inundation will cause a shift in neurochemical equilibrium that causes 'withdrawl symptoms' (ie your brain ran out of lubricant) after abrupt cessation.  Interestingly endogenous cannabinoids are implicated in memory repression and regulation by inhibiting serotonic neurons, each time you spark up your essentially smoking a euphoric amnesiac.

Schizophrenia is thought to be caused by excessive dopamine concentrations in the mesolimbic cortex (amphetamine psychosis approximates schizophrenia, amps increase free dopamine concentrations.) The class of drugs used to treat schizophrenia, the major tranquilizers, work by reducing free dopamine concentrations in the brain. Schizophrenia and it's treatments aren't comparable to depression at all. The major tranquilizers are mighty dangerous drugs with high mortality rates. Patients have mandatory blood toxicity (this is for a specific drug, the name eludes me but it's one of the newer ones) tests each month to check if the drug is killing them. A pharmacist I know who dispenses these medications says that most schizophrenics would prefer to live with the increased mortality rate than remain untreated, self isolated meat sacks who can't cope with reality. Point being, "psychos" are real biological fuckups with real medical treatments to improve their quality of life, Don't lump all medical treatments in with anti depressants, it's the application not the science you should be opposing.

That said with regards to drugs bringing humans closer to reality, or maximizing the potential of our biological engines; hallucinogens don't bring us closer to reality. They take us into our heads, their therapeutic application is giving us a tool to analyze our internal paradigms and bring them into a state that better corresponds with reality. However most trips don't bring you closer to nirvana, it's just another form of (fun) intoxication. Advocating hallucinogens to maximize human potential is kinda like the argument for anti depressants; there are area's where they prove valuable but in the end its just another drug, a tool that can help you along the way but not a substitute for getting there on your own. Cut to Hunter S. Thompsons speech against the hippie counter culture from fear and loathing and trey azagthoth urging us to fulfil our potential..
However the racetam class of nootropic drugs appears especially promising in this regard: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piracetam
 

Re: Distrust of antidepressants
May 21, 2010, 02:09:40 PM
Quote from: Thrashymachus
If I implied that, it was not my intention. You say antipsychotic drugs can take a psycho towards a more accurate perception of reality, which I accept. So represented by letters on a scale of A to C, where assuming the most accurate perception corresponding to reality is A and normal person is at B. The psycho is at C and the drugs carry him back towards B. Is it not also possible, for example, that if the normal state of the brain is at B, certain drugs similarly carry us towards A?
I think your question presents the issue in an oversimplified way, but so as to not dodge the issue...Yes, hypothetically there could be substances that allow people to view the world more accurately, but psychedelics don't do that.  I don't want to derail the thread further, so I suggest we simply "agree to disagree" for now.

Re: Distrust of antidepressants
May 21, 2010, 02:37:40 PM
There's a quote by William S. Burroughs somewhere - in between libraries at the moment - that goes something like: "If mind altering chemicals (such as LSD and Marijuana) were in fact useful then we'd see entirely free states dominating the arts. (He was referring to North Africa).

It's as simple as that.  In general, the ones that do 'em do so because it's an inconsequential escape.  I should also add that the locations he referred to were notoriously decadent and populated by those on the verge of collapse.

Re: Distrust of antidepressants
May 21, 2010, 03:08:50 PM
About the quote, do you agree that: "If a sculpturing kit was useful, everybody that bought one would dominate sculpturing?"

As for the people who don't think psychedelics could give understanding, consider this: Do you think the study of mathematical things like fractals can give some understanding? Fractal visions appear on psychedelics, among other things.

Re: Distrust of antidepressants
May 21, 2010, 03:18:25 PM
It clearly depends on the people.  And in my experience the vast majority of those I've met who need a drug to be or understand something interesting are morons. 

In fact, I've found they go that route simply for pleasure.  I'd even venture to guess that the number of psychedelic users are roughly as creative as those who masturbate several times per day, and I have few doubts that the ambitions match up.

Re: Distrust of antidepressants
May 21, 2010, 06:03:14 PM
Quote from: Walt
Cannabis is mentioned in the same context because the cannabinoids also affect the serotonic system
...
endogenous cannabinoids are implicated in memory repression and regulation by inhibiting serotonic neurons
Really?  I wasn't aware of this connection.  Thanks for clarifying.

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hallucinogens don't bring us closer to reality. They take us into our heads, their therapeutic application is giving us a tool to analyze our internal paradigms and bring them into a state that better corresponds with reality.
Best summary of hallucinogeons' benefits I've ever seen.  This also helps explain why empty headed people gain almost nothing from psychedelics, but highly intelligent people can gain much.

Re: Distrust of antidepressants
May 22, 2010, 01:09:52 AM
About the quote, do you agree that: "If a sculpturing kit was useful, everybody that bought one would dominate sculpturing?"

As for the people who don't think psychedelics could give understanding, consider this: Do you think the study of mathematical things like fractals can give some understanding? Fractal visions appear on psychedelics, among other things.

I disagree with your first statement in that you do not take into account that not 'everybody' can be a good sculptor.  If you were to say that if everyone in a nation were given instruction of some sort on sculpting that that nation would prevail in the art of sculpting, everything else being equal.

On your second statement I would have to say if a person who studied fractals were to take fractal vision inducing psychedelics then that person might gain an understanding of the fractals seen.  This assumes the person is coherent enough to understand what they are seeing.

Re: Distrust of antidepressants
May 22, 2010, 02:55:13 AM
Quote from: Walt
hallucinogens don't bring us closer to reality. They take us into our heads, their therapeutic application is giving us a tool to analyze our internal paradigms and bring them into a state that better corresponds with reality.
Best summary of hallucinogeons' benefits I've ever seen.  This also helps explain why empty headed people gain almost nothing from psychedelics, but highly intelligent people can gain much.

I though you were a man of science. Don't you think you show some actual evidence that substances help people learn or self-reflect?

Keep in mind that your personal experiences can't be used since, not only are they biased by preferences, but your mind is altered while you are using them.

I've heard people say in reference to listening to music while high: "There are things you literally CANNOT hear if listening sober." Maybe those things aren't actually there? And who knows if the user is remembering their experience correctly.

For bonus points: When addressing this issue, few people actually take into account the societal scale. Some people can get on just fine while using, but is the country as a whole better off or worse? Pointing out one case where an individual uses and manages to be successful would be anecdotal evidence.

Re: Distrust of antidepressants
May 22, 2010, 03:01:15 AM
Quote from: AnHero
I though you were a man of science. Don't you think you show some actual evidence that substances help people learn or self-reflect?
Look into the early history of LSD, namely the research done in the 1950's by Canadian psychiatrists with alcoholics and later the LSD sessions run by Aldous Huxley.