Michael Craven Christian Blog and Commentary

The Freudian Century

A once-in-a-decade survey of the mental health of Americans has found that disabling mental illness is as common as such chronic diseases as heart disease and cancer - but strikes people at a much younger age, with more lasting impact on their lives.

The findings, reported in the June issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, were based on 10,000 face-to-face interviews with people 18 and older. The survey, known as the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, is taken every 10 years to assess the mental health of the country.
According to the survey, "About half of Americans will develop a mental disorder at some time in their lives - with half of those cases starting by age 14, and three-quarters by age 24."

Ronald Kessler, a Harvard Medical School epidemiologist and one of the study's leaders said "Mental disorders are really the most important chronic conditions of youth in America." Kessler goes on to say that "it is just staggering that many of these disorders are occurring so early in life."

The average age of onset for anxiety disorders and impulse-control disorders is just 11 years old, the survey found, while substance abuse and mood disorders start later -- at average ages of 20 and 30 years old, respectively.

Alex Barnum, staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the researchers say that "occurrence of these problems early in life interferes with achieving important milestones, such as graduating from high school or college, staying in a close relationship, or holding down a job. Those problems, in turn, can cause lifelong problems." Kessler added. "These illnesses have a fundamental effect on how people's lives turn out. They are impaired before they have a chance to get their adult life on track."

So here at the end of the "Freudian century" what can we learn about psychoanalysis and Freud's attempt to explain and resolve the human condition?

Recall that Freud put forth the theory that the repression of "natural" sexual impulses regardless of how deviant was a principal source of "guilt and pathologies." Seizing this concept of "repressive sexual morality" others soon began to build the case for the elimination of these "antiquated religious restraints" on the promise of better mental health.

Dr. Mary Calderone, co-founder of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) and architect of modern sex education beginning in 1964 wrote this, "A new stage of evolution is breaking across the horizon and the task of educators is to prepare children to step into that new world. To do this, they must pry children away from old views and values, especially from biblical and other traditional forms of sexual morality - for religious laws or rules about sex were made on the basis of ignorance."

This point was recently reaffirmed at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in Atlanta where delegates approved a statement calling for the legal recognition of same-sex "marriage." They called same-sex "marriage" a way of "maintaining and promoting mental health."

Pitirim Sorokin, the noted sociologist and founder of the Social Sciences department at Harvard University points out, "If the Freudian approach is correct, then an increase of sex freedom among members of a society should be followed by a decrease of mental disorders." Suffice it to say that the verdict is in. Freud's premise has proven to be completely false and contrary to human experience. Instead of ushering in an era of mental health we are experiencing epidemic levels of mental illness commensurate with the dissolution of traditional sexual boundaries.

Sorokin points out (in 1956) that "in the U.S. our population has doubled since 1880. During the same period the number of patients in mental hospitals has increased by twelve times." Of course with the release of this most recent survey the problem has only continued to worsen.

Despite the dismal failure of modern psychology and its foundational Freudian premises regarding sexual morality we as a culture continue to trust in pseudo-science as the means of addressing humanity's dilemma. The ancient Greeks defined insanity as "acting in contradiction to reality." Clearly, sex outside the natural design for human relationships and procreation produces deleterious consequences and yet we, as a culture continue to act and promote a mode of living that continually demonstrates its contradiction to reality. Apparently mental illness is indeed a far greater problem than we realize because according to the ancient Greeks our entire society is insane!

© 2005 National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.

S. Michael Craven is the vice president for religion & culture at the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families and leads the work and ministry of Cultural Apologetics. The Cultural Apologetics ministry works to equip the Church to assert and defend biblical morality and ethics in a manner that is rational, relevant and persuasive in order to recapture the relevance of Christianity to all of life by demonstrating its complete correspondence to reality. For more information on Cultural Apologetics, additional resources and other works by S. Michael Craven visit: www.CulturalApologetics.org

Michael lives in the Dallas area with his wife Carol and their three children.

Send feedback to: mc@nationalcoalition.org

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