Mental Illness & Faith

Faith Hope LoveI was brought up in a Christian church that frowned on utilizing science and doctors for healing. Not all churches do, but the church I previously attended believed and taught the doctrine of “faith healing”. That is, if you have a sickness, you pray and wait on God to heal you. It was considered a lack of faith to seek assistance from secular medicine.

However, many years ago I began to reason that this didn’t make much sense and started attending a new church which was more open-minded. If God created intellect, doctors, science, and medicine, after all, why wouldn’t He want us to use them? It was not a lack of faith, I reasoned, to utilize the very resources God Himself had provided for my benefit, and for the good of all mankind. If I had a broken bone in my leg I wouldn’t pray for God to mend the broken pieces; that would be pretty ignorant of me. Instead, I would go to a trained physician who would set the bone in place again, apply a cast on the leg, and give me a shot of medicine to numb the pain.

It is never God’s plan for us to suffer mental illness.

His original purpose for our lives included good health, long life, and a sound mind.

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7

He is a good God who loves us and cares for us. Because the Creator of the universe is loving and compassionate, He also created neuroscience* and the mental health professions composed of medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and psychiatric medications to alleviate the suffering of those with mental illness. Anxiety, depression,

Anxiety, depression, bipolarism, anorexia, and many other mental health disorders are treatable, and the God-inspired medicines and mental health therapies developed by science have been of great help to humanity.

Doctors and medicines are God’s gift to us.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:10

As a Christian counselor, I still believe in the power of prayer. I believe we should pray to God in all circumstances, and about everything we may need. But I also believe that He also expects us to be practical and utilize the medical and scientific resources He has provided that are widely available today. They are God’s gift to us.

A man or woman of true faith is humble and asks for help.

If you’re suffering from some form of mental health problem today, it is not a lack of faith to seek the help of a trained professional. On the contrary, it is a fulfillment of faith to search out professional support and therapy. They are God’s ministers who have dedicated themselves to helping others.

That’s one of the reasons I entered this line of work. Like other professionals in my field, I too had a deep desire to be of service to others and help them find healing from mental illness. I was the only one in my family who studied psychology, but I also have numerous relatives who chose to serve as doctors, dentists, nurses, and other areas of healthcare, which are just as important.

God is Love_pngWith God’s grace, and with the help of doctors, counselors, and medicines, I believe that healing from mental illness is indeed possible. I am also of the conviction that true faith is genuinely manifested in the desire to love and help others, for God is love.

I wish you faith, peace, hope, and love,

sincerely,

– L. Joseph Castillo, CPC



If you or someone you know
is struggling with some mental health problem today, CONTACT US. One of our counselors will assist you in finding the resources and getting the help you need.


*Neuroscience – any or all of the sciences, such as neurochemistry and experimental psychology, which deal with the structure or function of the nervous system and the brain.

Marriage & Family Issues

Marriage and FamilyMarital and family issues are very common in today’s society. They include marital conflict, infidelity, depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence, adolescent behavior, and many other mental, emotional, and relational disorders.

Effective counseling must take a holistic perspective to health care and be concerned with the overall, long-term well-being of individuals and their families.

Get help. Marriage and family problems are treatable with psychotherapy, counseling, and medication.

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Phobias

phobiaA phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, defined by a persistent fear of an object or situation. The phobia typically results in a rapid onset of fear. The affected person will go to great lengths to avoid the situation or object, such as flying on an airplane to being confined in a small space to phobias of large crowds. Phobias are often associated with panic attacks. Phobias can be divided into specific phobias, social phobia, and agoraphobia.

Types of specific phobias include to certain animals, natural environment situations, blood phobia, and specific situations. The most common are fear of spiders, fear of snakes, and fear of heights. Generally, they are triggered by a negative experience with the object or situation. Social phobia is when the situation is feared as the person is worried about others judging them. Agoraphobia is when fear of a situation occurs because it is felt that escape would not be possible.

Specific phobias affect about 6-8% of people in the Western world. Women are affected about twice as often as men. Typically onset is around the age of 10 to 17. Rates become lower as people get older.

Get help. Phobias are treatable with psychotherapy, counseling, and medications.

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Psychosis

Van_Gogh_-_Starry_NightVincent Van Gogh’s, The Starry Night, from 1889, shows abnormal perceptions of light and color as can appear with persons with psychosis.

Psychosis is an abnormal condition of the mind that involves a “loss of contact with reality”. People experiencing psychosis may exhibit personality changes and thought disorder. Depending on its severity, this may be accompanied by unusual behavior, as well as difficulty with social interaction and impairment in carrying out daily life activities.

People with psychosis normally have one or more of the following: hallucinations, delusions, catatonia or a thought disorder. Impairments in social cognition also occur. A psychotic disorder may be brief, chronic, or acute.

Before psychosis can be correctly identified, chemical and other physical problems affecting the brain must be rulled out. First, medical and biological laboratory tests should include central nervous system diseases and injuries, diseases and injuries of other organs, drugs and psychoactive substances, and toxins as causes of symptoms.

The term “psychosis” is very broad and can mean anything from relatively normal aberrant experiences through to the complex and catatonic expressions of schizophrenia. In properly diagnosed psychiatric disorders (where other causes have been excluded by extensive medical and biological laboratory tests), psychosis is a descriptive term for the hallucinations, delusions and impaired insight that may occur.

Get help. Psychosis is treatable with psychotherapy, counseling, and medications.

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Caffeine-Induced Anxiety

Caffeine DrinksIt seems coffeehouses are springing up everywhere these days. However, researchers are increasingly concerned about caffeine’s role in panic attacks and anxiety. As a matter of fact, the American Psychiatric Association has added three related disorders to its list of official diagnoses: caffeine intoxication, caffeine-related anxiety, and caffeine-related sleep disorders.

“Caffeine is the most widely used mood-altering drug in the world,” says Roland Griffiths, PhD, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “People often see coffee, tea, and soft drinks simply as beverages rather than vehicles for a psychoactive drug. But caffeine can exacerbate anxiety and panic disorders.”

With people predisposed to anxiety disorders, caffeine can trigger a spiral of sensations like sweaty palms, a pounding heart, ringing in the ears, and full-blown panic attacks. So it’s best to avoid caffeine drinks altogether. Have a glass of juice in the morning, or a hot cup of decaffeinated herbal tea instead.

Caffeine is also addictive. When you stop cold turkey, it can lead to adverse effects like tension and headaches. If you’ve become addicted to caffeine, you can avoid the symptoms of withdrawal by gradually decreasing your consumption of caffeine over the course of a few days or weeks.

– L. Joseph Castillo, CPC

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Grief & Loss

GriefBereavement refers specifically to the process of recovering from the death of a loved one. Grief is a reaction to any form of loss. Both encompass a range of feelings from deep sadness to anger, and the process of adapting to a significant loss can vary dramatically from one person to another, depending on his or her background.

Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time. Some people recover from grief and resume normal activities within a short time. But sometimes people continue to grieve for years without seeming to improve or find relief even temporarily. Grief can be complicated by other conditions, most notably, bitterness, anger, anxiety, intense sadness, feelings of emptiness or meaninglessness, and depression.

Get help. Complicated Grief is treatable with Psychotherapy, counseling, and medications.

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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive DisorderObsessive-Compulsive Disorder, commonly called OCD, appears in different ways, and not every person has the same symptoms; many people have combinations of various OCD symptoms. In general, those who have OCD suffer from unwanted and intrusive thoughts that they can’t seem to get out of their heads (obsessions), often compelling them to repeatedly perform ritualistic behaviors and routines (compulsions) to try and ease their anxiety.

If you or a loved one suffers from OCD, you’re not alone. Millions of people have it, and it doesn’t discriminate: This disorder affects men, women, teens, and children from every background, race, and ethnicity.

Get help. OCD is treatable with Psychotherapy, counseling, and medications.

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Crisis Hotlines

Crisis LinesIf you are in a crisis or if you or any other person may be in danger – don’t use this site. The following resources can provide you with immediate help.

Emergency: Dial 911

Crisis & Emergency:
Dial 211, or go to: www.211.org

Prayer Hotline:
1-877-772-4559
Billy Graham Association

National Prayer Line:
1-800-4-PRAYER

National Domestic Violence Hotline:
1- 800-799-7233

Elder Abuse Hotline:
1-800-252-8966

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

National Hopeline Network:
1-800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433)

National Crisis Pregnancy Helpline:
1-800-852-5683

National Runaway Switchboard
1-800-621-4000
(List of shelters, counseling, food pantries, transportation. Message relay from kids to parents or from parents to kids, 3-way calls arranged, suicide and crisis counseling.)

Lifeline Crisis Chat (Online live messaging):
http://www.crisischat.org/

Crisis Text Line:
Text “START” TO 741-741

Self-Harm Hotline:
1-800-DONT CUT (1-800-366-8288)

Family Violence Helpline:
1-800-996-6228

American Association of Poison Control Centers:
1-800-222-1222

National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency Hope Line:
1-800-622-2255

National Crisis Line – Anorexia and Bulimia:
1-800-233-4357

LesbianGayBisexualTransgender (LGBT) Hotline:
1-888-843-4564

TREVOR Crisis Hotline:
1-866-488-7386

AIDS Crisis Line:
1-800-221-7044

Veterans Crisis Line:
https://www.veteranscrisisline.net

Suicide Prevention Wiki:
http://suicideprevention.wikia.com