Monday, August 5, 2013

Post-Cult Recovery and Other Life Problems

After leaving cults, many people spend long years in their post-cult recovery - up to 20 or 30 years, sometimes, the rest of their life.

However, it is quite obvious that people may have problems regardless of their cult involvement. People may have various problems during their childhood and adult life. People who have never been involved in cults may have these problems, and obviously people who were in cults may have them too. In other words, not all the problems that ex-members of cults may have are related to their cult involvement in any way.

Some psychotherapists tend to believe that all the people's problems are related to their childhood experiences. So, they take much time, analyzing these problems. However, some people's problems are related not to their childhood, but to various experiences later in life.

In a similar way, some people in the anti-cult field and some ex-cult members tend to believe that all their problems are related to their cult involvement. However, they may have some pre-cult and after-cult problems that are not cult-related at all. If people believe that all their problems are cult-related, they may neglect other problems, and I do not think that it is a correct approach.

Well, during the recent four years and especially recently, the most problems I had to deal with were not cult-related at all. Some of them were pre-cult (including some childhood-related problems), some were after-cult, but not related to my cult experience at all.

I think I should say here that I do not consider that to have problems and to have mental disorders is the same thing. Well, of course, people who have mental disorders have serious problems. But mentally healthy people may also have some problems.

Well, there are different definitions of what mental health is. Moreover, some of them are culture-related. For example, in the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), there is diagnosis "Neurasthenia" (F48.0). This diagnosis is absent in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). Regarding this difference, there is an interesting explanation in Wikipedia article on neurasthenia: 'Americans were said to be particularly prone to neurasthenia, which resulted in the nickname "Americanitis."' Well, in Russia, neurasthenia is still considered as a valid diagnosis, and it is still called "neurasthenia," not "Americanitis." It has never even been renamed to "Russianitis." Most Russians have never been given this diagnosis (that is, of "neurasthenia," not of "Americanitis" or "Russianitis"). However, in Russia, it is not viewed as a serious mental disorder, just a kind of "nervosism."

Moreover, in ICD-10, there is diagnosis "Mental disorder, not otherwise specified" (F99), which can be used if no other code from F00-F98 may be applied. Well, I guess this diagnosis gives a lot of freedom to fantasy of some mental health professionals.

Anyway, my point is that what some mental health professionals consider as a disorder, others may not consider this way, and vice versa. Also, speaking about people who have some problems (including psychological post-cult problems) I do not mean to say that all of them have mental disorders.

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