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2Timeless

Attitudes towards mental illness and suicide.

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Salam, 

I was just reading through an old thread concerning suicide and I thought that alot of the responses were alarmingly disturbing. Yes, suicide is haram, but does that mean we should have no sympathy or remorse for a suicide victim? Or a victim of any mental illness? I think mental illness in general is a taboo in society, and has been finally talked about and discussed only until very recently in the west. On the other hand, in our communities I think mental illness discussions are absolutely unheard of. What are your thoughts/ attitudes towards mental illness and suicide? What does Islam say about mental illness? 

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I feel sorry for those who are in such despair that they see no other way out. I wish no one got to that point of desperation. But I do understand that they do with all the miseries in the world. And the godlessness in the west is even a worse poison to the soul than the disasters in the rest of the world.

Suicide is haram. At the same time I believe in the case of mental illness only God can tell if the illness can excuse the suicide or not. I have heard that insane people are not held accountable for their deeds under insanity in islam. I don't know if it's true, but if it is then maybe God will excuse them. Even common depression can turn into a psychosis (insanity) if it gets deep enough and is long enough. Depression is one of the highest risk factors of suicide. 

Eating disorders also have a high lethality. They die from malnutrition. Is this insanity? I don't know. It's up to God to decide. 

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24 minutes ago, Carlzone said:

I have heard that insane people are not held accountable for their deeds under insanity in islam.

This is regards to mentally disabled people, like people with down syndrome..

What is insane really?

I have had enough arguments with people here on shia chat about this topic.

But I wish to say it again... 
Mental illness is being away from Allah.

People like to think oh, I randomly have a lack of a certain chemical balance in my brain therefore it is why I feel depressed. As a person who was severely depressed for an incredibly long time and got out of it without absolutely no medication I can tell you, what healed me was simply getting my head in the right direction. 

During my depression the only reason I didnt commit suicide was actually fear of hell... although I wasn't religious I knew that suicide was unforgivable by God. If other people knew this would they commit suicide? 

As for meds, some of you attacked me when I said meds were bad, I can only show you what is happening right now in the USA, with big pharma killing people in the tens of thousands a year and not giving a damn.. I also bet 90% of suicidal people and serial killers these days are on meds..  

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40 minutes ago, abuhaydar said:

This is regards to mentally disabled people, like people with down syndrome..

What is insane really?

I have had enough arguments with people here on shia chat about this topic.

But I wish to say it again... 
Mental illness is being away from Allah.

People like to think oh, I randomly have a lack of a certain chemical balance in my brain therefore it is why I feel depressed. As a person who was severely depressed for an incredibly long time and got out of it without absolutely no medication I can tell you, what healed me was simply getting my head in the right direction. 

During my depression the only reason I didnt commit suicide was actually fear of hell... although I wasn't religious I knew that suicide was unforgivable by God. If other people knew this would they commit suicide? 

As for meds, some of you attacked me when I said meds were bad, I can only show you what is happening right now in the USA, with big pharma killing people in the tens of thousands a year and not giving a damn.. I also bet 90% of suicidal people and serial killers these days are on meds..  

Insanity is jinn possession and mental illness is caused by spirits:

"For The Insane and Those Afflicted With the Falling Sickness

Muhammad b. Ja’far b. Mihran narrated from Ahmad b. Hammad from Abu Jafar al-Baqir, peace be upon him, that he had prescribed cyclamen (bukhur maryam) for his bondmaid and said that it was beneficial for everything caused by the spirits such as possession (al-mass), mental disorder, madness, the falling sickness, ensnarement, etc. It is beneficial and has been proved, by the will of Allah, the Exalted."

https://www.al-islam.org/islamic-medical-wisdom-tibb-al-aimma/insane-and-those-afflicted-falling-sickness

I don't know how reliable this hadith is though.

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32 minutes ago, Carlzone said:

Insanity is jinn possession and mental illness is caused by spirits:

Although there can be unknown reasons for brain disease and mental illness, even certain prescribed medications that cause physical problems in some people, modern science has shown that there are biological or genetic reasons, environmental exposure or accidental ingestion of toxic substances, etc. We can't say that all people who have a brain disease or a mental illness are possessed by jinns or caused by spirits. 

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Just now, Hameedeh said:

Although there can be unknown reasons for brain disease and mental illness, even certain prescribed medications that cause physical problems in some people, modern science has shown that there are biological or genetic reasons, environmental exposure or accidental ingestion of toxic substances, etc. We can't say that all people who have a brain disease or a mental illness are possessed by jinns or caused by spirits. 

Yes you are right. I intended to write about that as well but unfortunately managed to forget. 

Yes there are biological and neurological cases of insanity. The genetic ones can be questioned somewhat as not all identical twins develop schizophrenia although having identical genes. 

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3 hours ago, abuhaydar said:

But I wish to say it again... 
Mental illness is being away from Allah.

I'm not so sure about that... perhaps in some cases. There are many relatively religious individuals who develop some serious adjustment and/or mood disorders in response to life stressors for various reasons, one of the biggest reasons being a poor support system.

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13 hours ago, abuhaydar said:

s for meds, some of you attacked me when I said meds were bad, I can only show you what is happening right now in the USA, with big pharma killing people in the tens of thousands a year and not giving a damn.. I also bet 90% of suicidal people and serial killers these days are on meds

I’ve been on meds for bipolar disorder and they have saved my life by the grace of Allah. Not all meds are bad. You just have to find the right one.

Serial killers are bad people. End of story. 

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3 hours ago, forte said:

Severe, life changing psychiatric conditions are almost always due to a neurochemical imbalance and they are genetically loaded. They are usually treated with long term medications and therapy.

Its important to distinguish between correlation and causation.

As far as I know (i could be wrong) only correlations have been found between imbalances and depression. Has anyone read a study that investigated causation in depression and not correlation? I have only seen correlational studies. This doesn't mean that it is the imbalance itself that is causing the depression. A third unknown variable (for instance the death of a loved one) could be the true cause of both the depression and the imbalance. 

Many people don't understand the difference between causation and correlation, but this is very important in order to understand what studies actually are saying.

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1 hour ago, Carlzone said:

Its important to distinguish between correlation and causation.

As far as I know (i could be wrong) only correlations have been found between imbalances and depression. Has anyone read a study that investigated causation in depression and not correlation? I have only seen correlational studies. This doesn't mean that it is the imbalance itself that is causing the depression. A third unknown variable (for instance the death of a loved one) could be the true cause of both the depression and the imbalance. 

Many people don't understand the difference between causation and correlation, but this is very important in order to understand what studies actually are saying.

You're right, but depression can be caused by biological/ genetic factors. Note, this is only one cause. For example, if a mother is stressed during pregnancy, the foetus is subjected to increased levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) which is unhealthy and is linked to the development of depression in the child in earlier life. I can't remember what the name of the study was, or who conducted it. But is this not evidence that some people are predisposed to developing suicidal thoughts, if not provided with the right support? Does this not affect the accountability of the victim?

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6 hours ago, 2Timeless said:

You're right, but depression can be caused by biological/ genetic factors. Note, this is only one cause. For example, if a mother is stressed during pregnancy, the foetus is subjected to increased levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) which is unhealthy and is linked to the development of depression in the child in earlier life. I can't remember what the name of the study was, or who conducted it. But is this not evidence that some people are predisposed to developing suicidal thoughts, if not provided with the right support? Does this not affect the accountability of the victim?

Genetics can contribute to an increased risk of developing depression, but that doesn't mean that the genes themselves are causing the depression. It means that some genes are linked to an increased vulnerability of developing depression. (Genetics are actually even more important when it comes to bipolar disorder.)

The same thing applies to your example with the foetus and stresshormones during pregnancy. Longitudinal studies can increase our knowledge about the relationship between different variables over time but if i remember correctly :book:  you cant determine causation with such a study. To be able to determine causation you need to do a doubleblind scientific experiment. But that is simply not possible to do with all the things we wish to understand better. How can you randomly assign children to abusive parents versus nonabusive and determine that the abuse causes depression in adulthood? It's simply not possible. Therefor we rely on longitudinal studies that are better than purely correlational studies that are measured during a short frame of time. But these studies will never be 100% certain of whether it was the abuse that caused the depression as an adult, but only that this seems to be a risk factor for depression. What we can say is that there is a good ground to assume that there is a relationship between these two factors, and that for instance that more abuse is related to even higher likelihood of developing depression as an adult. 

But again this is a risk factor and not a direct cause. It's a contributing factor that increases the vulnerability to develop depression. 

The more risk factors one has that are related to depression the higher the likelihood is that one will develop depression. 

In psychology depression is linked to hopelessness while anxiety (that often appears alongside depression) is related to helplessness. 

There seems to be certain childhood experiences that increase the risk of developing depression as an adult. If a child couldn't affect it's environment or had no control, for instance had abusive ruthless parents or parents who didn't let the child have a say or listened to the child's wishes - this increases the risk of developing depression as an adult. The child learns that nothing I do will change my circumstances (called learnt helplessness) and will react the same way when s/he faces difficult circumstances as an adult, even if this no longer is true as an adult. This is detrimental and one of the targets during therapy. 

Now that was a long post  :pushup: 

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12 hours ago, Islandsandmirrors said:

Some people with severe depression and such develop auditory and visual hallucinations and psychosis, which, obviously, makes them become impaired mentally. 

Mental illness is not being away from Allah. You clearly have no idea what mental illness is. May Allah guide you. 

you may need more meds

Edited by abuhaydar

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5 hours ago, Carlzone said:

There seems to be certain childhood experiences that increase the risk of developing depression as an adult.

Yes. Stress during childhood has a major effect on the child. Stress can actually start before birth, in the womb, due to maternal stress during pregnancy. Stress during infancy (maternal stress, depression, and exposure to partner violence) has been shown to have effects on the infant. See the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study). The ACE study's results suggest that maltreatment and household dysfunction in childhood contribute to health, social, and behavioral problems even decades later. Of course it's not bleak, because there are people and organizations to help, such as social services, health care services, therapy, etc. Especially see the section on Resilience and references, articles for further reading and external links here: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adverse_Childhood_Experiences_Study

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1 minute ago, Hameedeh said:

Yes. Stress during childhood has a major effect on the child. Stress can actually start before birth, in the womb, due to maternal stress during pregnancy. Stress during infancy (maternal stress, depression, and exposure to partner violence) has been shown to have effects on the infant. See the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study). The ACE study's results suggest that maltreatment and household dysfunction in childhood contribute to health, social, and behavioral problems even decades later. Of course it's not bleak, because there are people and organizations to help, such as social services, health care services, therapy, etc. Especially see the section on Resilience and references, articles for further reading and external links here: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adverse_Childhood_Experiences_Study

Yes, but again we can't say that they cause depression. These are all risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing depression as an adult. 

I know of the ACE study. It's very good. It shows that the more risk factors a child has the higher the likelihood that the child will suffer various negative long-term effects.

Traumatized women are more likely to give birth to sick children. 

We all know that negative events increase the risk of things going downhill. It's very much common sense. 

My point here was that we can't technically say that they cause depression. That's scientifically incorrect. On the other hand saying that they are risk factors that have been found to increase the likelihood of developing depression as an adult is scientifically correct. 

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44 minutes ago, Reza said:

What about physical illness?

ill ask..

this is tricky.. some are obviously self inflicted.. like for example if I eat too much junkfood.. or dont do enough exercise... but others i believe to be either punishments or tests...

nothing and I really stress on this.. nothing is random.

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1 hour ago, abuhaydar said:

you even inherit bad traits and habits from your parents.. 

our job as muslims is too mend these as we grow older... that is the test Allah swt sends to you.

Sure, in some ways, though it seems like you're not taking a balanced approach with a lot of your claims... which then end up very extreme... or that's at least how it appears.

for example, if you inherit bad traits and habits from parents, it must be the same in regards to good traits/habits - this wouldn't explain why one of Prophet Adam's (a.s) sons killed the other... or why there were people with the blood of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuhf) who were worse than non-muslims.

Of course there are many different unknown effects of certain things that we don't have knowledge of, but to dismiss things like mental illness as simply being distant from Allah or everything is from your parents sounds a little too similar to 'complete predestination' - example - surely if you are born & raised into an atheist family you are very far from Allah and therefore must have some overt mental illness with the worst of akhlaq? Hope my point is clear.

Edited by dragonxx

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On 8/13/2018 at 8:10 PM, 2Timeless said:

Salam, 

I was just reading through an old thread concerning suicide and I thought that alot of the responses were alarmingly disturbing. Yes, suicide is haram, but does that mean we should have no sympathy or remorse for a suicide victim? Or a victim of any mental illness? I think mental illness in general is a taboo in society, and has been finally talked about and discussed only until very recently in the west. On the other hand, in our communities I think mental illness discussions are absolutely unheard of. What are your thoughts/ attitudes towards mental illness and suicide? What does Islam say about mental illness? 

Rasullulah (sawas) refused to attend the janazah for a person who committed suicide, as he wanted to show his ummah the consequences of suicide. 

 Most Mental illnesses are actually from the Shaytan (la),like depression. Most people who have depression derive from the path of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى and lack prayer or reading quran, as the shayateen start to play with your emotions. But of course that isn't the case with every person suffering from it, 

 I've had dealt with OCD roughly two years ago and alhamdullilah I'm over it, I just had to have more faith in Allah and read the Quran more often. I also had to stop isolating myself too much from my family as it worsened the condition

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5 hours ago, Carlzone said:

My point here was that we can't technically say that they cause depression. That's scientifically incorrect. On the other hand saying that they are risk factors that have been found to increase the likelihood of developing depression as an adult is scientifically correct. 

Understood. The association between adverse childhood experiences and illness later in life does not prove that a causal relationship exists, however we cannot discount the strong circumstantial evidence. See "The Lifelong Effects of Early Childhood Adversity and Toxic Stress" from 2011: 

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/early/2011/12/21/peds.2011-2663.full.pdf 

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10 hours ago, dragonxx said:

Sure, in some ways, though it seems like you're not taking a balanced approach with a lot of your claims... which then end up very extreme... or that's at least how it appears.

for example, if you inherit bad traits and habits from parents, it must be the same in regards to good traits/habits - this wouldn't explain why one of Prophet Adam's (a.s) sons killed the other... or why there were people with the blood of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuhf) who were worse than non-muslims.

Of course there are many different unknown effects of certain things that we don't have knowledge of, but to dismiss things like mental illness as simply being distant from Allah or everything is from your parents sounds a little too similar to 'complete predestination' - example - surely if you are born & raised into an atheist family you are very far from Allah and therefore must have some overt mental illness with the worst of akhlaq? Hope my point is clear.

im talking from an islamic perspective and not on my own accord.. 

Edited by abuhaydar

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40 minutes ago, abuhaydar said:

im talking from an islamic perspective and not on my own accord.

yes, but it seems you are taking the very extreme version rather than a balanced/in-context understanding - I would be very interested in any references you can provide in regards to your perspective

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