Fixing Mental Illness


Upstream thinking is the ability to find deeper causes and underlying errors in changing a problem. In our case, we are looking at mental illness.

The neurological approach to mental illness is that there is a chemical imbalance in the brain that results in either depression, anxiety, schizophrenia or other illnesses. However, there is a deeper problem here. The neurological errors indicate that it is really an issue of pleasure and pain. This hits the philosophical question of finding meaning in life. And for most people, that is to find happiness. Today's world revolves around materialism and this drives craving for pleasure in most individuals. A hypothesis is that the pleasure systems and reward areas in the brain are activated and deactivated in a particular pattern that result in mental illnesses. We see this in specific illnesses like bipolar disorder and some personality disorders where there is high burst of enthusiasm and optimism at one point(due to the proper neural networks corresponding to an activity) and low levels of motivation and pessimism at another point(due to conditioned neural responses to particular types of activities). 

The fundamental problem here is the analysis of pleasure and pain. The brain does this voluntarily and involuntarily and the major issue with most people suffering is coming from the fact that the brain has been autonomously conditioned(in an improper way) to react to these responses. Whether that be due to trauma, anxiety, fear of the future, or any other maladaptive behavior/thought, the individual has created neutral networks that code for pain and pleasure based on the environmental conditions. In order to solve this issue, we should experiment whether individuals are able to change their judgement towards stimuli. This can be done psychologically through treatment, but a more direct way is to slowly increase gamma ways(low frequency) to produce calmness when the individual is faced with a traumatic thought/ stimuli. The involuntary judgement of fear or depression will slowly become null due to the dehabitualization of repeated calm events in face of painful neural signals. The person is then guided through several steps in order to cope with their mental illness by making sure they are consciously paying attention to their stimulus and response. Instead of changing the stimulus or the environment that produces pain or pleasure and is responsible for mental well being, the individual is taught how to change their own mindset, hence their own neural networks to how they judge their pain and pleasurable activities. In this way, the root problem is annihilated as the individual doesn't just get rid of one of their maladaptive behavior or thought but completely changes the fundamental way they look at life and specifically how they judge their environment. The hypothesis is that by directly affecting neural networks of pleasure in the reward system of the brain, we give the brain a sense of high feeling to alter its maladaptive thinking to a painful stimulus resulting from perhaps delusional thoughts. In this way, we use classical conditioning in a more direct manner to condition our clients to be more aware and less judgemental of their environment, eventually creating a mindset, a long term neural network, that creates long term benefits and truly gets rid of the problem from its roots.