Cults: The Drug Analogy

for concern over cult-related damage, institutional abuse & psychological problems.
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ex-l

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Cults: The Drug Analogy

Post24 Jul 2013

the Family Survival Trust wrote:"Cult membership is similar in many ways to drug addiction. Both can cause financial problems. Both can cause physical health problems. Both can cause long term psychological problems ...

Say the Family Survival Trust who have had more than 30 years of dealing with cult victims.
    And, of course, both make a lot of money for the dealers peddling them.
Reading over the list, there are good arguments to suggest that Brahma Kumari adherence is categorised by almost all of the following.

My advice? If you want to indulge (in religion), grow your own rather than buy them from secretive, unaccountable foreign networks based on the exploitation of workers in the developing world, and who adulterate their products with hidden and unknown ingredients.
From: Cults: The Drug Analogy by The Family Survival Trust.

Parents, other family, friends and associates of those trapped in cults (or helping those who have recently left cults, and who have been damaged by the experience) report of a "living bereavement". This is the sense of loss, similar to grieving for the death of a loved one, but with the difference that the person being mourned is still alive.

It normally falls into one of two categories:
[url]The cult member may be absent, secreted from their family and friends (and the wider world) in the dissociative, abusive world of the cult.
Just as bad, sometimes worse, these cult members may be able to see friends and family outside the cult, but the change in personality (induced by psychological conditioning) makes them unrecognisable to those who know and love them[/url].
Unfortunately, those who have not experienced the harrowing ordeals of those families and friends afflicted by cults may find it difficult to fully understand these difficulties. But the parallel of drug abuse and its horrendous addiction is something which society takes seriously, and which people may understand better. Its similarities to the abusive world of cults, and its impact on families, friends and wider society, are many.

Whilst drug and alcohol abuse have a chemical addiction element, cult membership could be considered to be "social addiction", rather like addiction to gambling. From our experience of helping victims, their families and their friends over more than thirty years, we have observed that:
    • The victims of drug abuse and cult abuse suffer dissociative experiences, and their scope for decision-making and human interaction is severely limited.

    • The people surrounding cult victims and drug victims will give poor advice and support, because they are also victims of the same experience.

    • The self esteem of all individuals within addictive environments will be lower than is healthy.

    • The capability to make balanced decisions about lifestyles and careers will be severely reduced.

    • The social circles of drug addicts and cult victims give less chance to meeting people with a variety of interests and world views.

    • The drug addict and cult victim both put all resources, including time, money and energy, into the source of the addiction. This means they are poorer and more prone to being tired or lethargic.

    • Both drug addiction and cult involvement present health risks.

    • Less time and money tends to be available to spend on a healthy diet.

    • Addicts and cult members are more likely to develop illness, have limited access to proper healthcare, and suffer malnutrition than people in mainstream society.

    • There is less awareness, in both the drug addict or cult member, of the development of illnesses and mental health problems.

    • Lack of sleep, sometimes severe and enforced sleep deprivation, in both cultists and drug addicts, increases the risk of psychological problems.There is an increased risk of chronic addictions developing and getting worse. Addictive personalities will often get worse with drug and cult involvement rather than staying stable.

    • There is a serious risk of chronic or malignant personality disorders developing.There is a serious risk of chronic stress or depression developing.

    • There is a serious risk in the development of chronic mania or manic depression.

    • There is a very real and dangerous risk of the development of psychosis, paranoia and schizophrenic behaviour. These can be especially alarming and chronic problems which outlast the drug addiction or cult abuse itself.Neither drug addict nor cult victim leaves all of their problems behind when they ditch their abusive and addictive substances, environments and fellow-victims. It can take years to recover, depending on the length and depth of abuse suffered, and sometimes families and friends should be aware that damage suffered may be permanent.

    • The vast costs of rehabilitation, treatment, and attempts to prevent drug abuse and cult abuse, are paid for by the general public through taxes, by charities through donation, and by families and friends through personal sacrifice. The drug producers, suppliers, pushers and addicts - and the cults, their gurus, their masters and their slaves - pay nothing towards this drain on society.

    • The perpetrators of drug crimes and cult crimes are able to make money and spend it on enriching themselves and causing havoc.

    • Since they pay nothing towards the cost of cleaning up after their mess, they are the worst of social parasites and criminals.
These are some of the observations The Family Survival Trust has made over the years. More research and rehabilitation, and prevention education, has been given to the subject of drug addiction and abuse. For example, many studies are beginning to make clear the link between chronic psychosis and the consumption of "skunk", whereas there has been little or no acknowledgement of the existence of cult abuse by the United Kingdom authorities, let alone its effects.

dany

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Re: Cults: The Drug Analogy

Post25 Jul 2013

True and logical comparison and similarities, between Drug abuse and Cult abuse victims .

However, when it comes to "Relapse", I believe the percentage of drug abuse survivors, returning to Drug abuse habit to be relatively high, compared with rare cases of Cult abuse survivors, returning to their old Cults .
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Pink Panther

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Re: Cults: The Drug Analogy

Post26 Jul 2013

Dany: However, when it comes to "Relapse", I believe the percentage of drug abuse survivors, returning to Drug abuse habit to be relatively high, compared with rare cases of Cult abuse survivors, returning to their old Cults .

Dany, that's because some things are physically addictive (biological) and others are psychological. And the worst is when there's both (or rather, the worst is when the addiction is not recognised by the addict).

Psychological addictions need a change of thinking patterns and activity - otherwise even enforced absence from the object of addiction makes no difference, first chance they get they go back to it. Whereas physical addictions need a period of abstinence for the biology to re-set itself.

Once someone's psychology has changed, they don't 'need' the 'hit'. Recidivism comes about when there has been no replacement psychological paradigm developed - it's like people who go vegetarian just by removing meat. Without a broader understanding of nutrition and learning to use previously unknown foods, they'll end up failing and revert to the 'known' pattern.

Also, we hear about, and have statistics for, those who overcome drug addiction, and maybe even for those who've left cults. But do we have any data about numbers that leave cults and return?

From my experience, most ex-BKs don't leave, they simply drift away over time, and often maintain a kind of 'fond affection' for their time there, and even continue to consider God and spirituality in BK terms, i.e. they are not really ex-BK, more like "lapsed BK", like non-church going Christians who don't go to church because they are lazy or maybe they disagree with church policy or they feel unacknowledged, believing their own understanding of Christianity is superior to the official church (usually over some fine point of nonsense) ... or they dislike other parishioners ... etc

Definition of addiction as I understand it is similar to the point made in the article below
The drug addict and cult victim both put all resources, including time, money and energy, into the source of the addiction.

That is, I understand addiction to be the appropriate term when one arranges all other aspects of life to fit around satisfying that thing.


Even if someone does not attend the centre anymore, or even doesn't read Murlis or sit to meditate, if they still arrange all other aspects of their lives according to BK paradigms, e.g. thinking in terms of soul consciousness versus body consciousness, or (BK) Karma philosophy, or keep remembering Baba when situations arise, or think of God as Shiva -point of light, or are awaiting Destruction, or they interpret whatever they experience in Gyan terms.

Essentially, such people are still "addicted" in my view - although it may be more benignly said that they are "scarred" or "damaged".

(Some are more than damaged however, they are permanently broken mentally and emotionally, like someone I know).
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ex-l

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Re: Cults: The Drug Analogy

Post26 Jul 2013

Addiction is seen as a chronic disease that changes brain chemistry, structure and function.
    Does intense cult adherence cause the similar changes and over what periods?
Does BKism change people's brains chemistry and biology?

One interesting quote. Scientists connect addiction to brain circuits relating to memory ... and often do the Brahma Kumari emphasize remembering?

I need to consider this more deeply ...
Recent research shows that addiction involves many of the same brain circuits that govern learning and memory. Long-term memories are formed by the activity of brain substances called transcription factors. All perceived rewards, including drugs, increase the concentration of transcription factors. So repeatedly taking drugs can change the brain cells and make the memory of the pleasurable effects very strong. Even after transcription factor levels return to normal, addicts may remain hypersensitive to the drug and the cues that predict its presence. This can heighten the risk of relapse in addicts long after they stop taking the drug.
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Pink Panther

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Re: Cults: The Drug Analogy

Post26 Jul 2013

That's interesting ex-l.

Reminded me of neuro-plasticity, the way the brain synapses change as we learn & develop and repeat new behaviours, languages, skills, e.g. playing an instrument. It's also what allows things to be re-learnt when the part of the brain responsible for something has been damaged; therapy and exercise can lead to new neural pathways being formed as the skill is relearnt. (That is, neurology affects what we can do or think, and vice versa).

It was half on my mind to mention it in my previous post in relation to "psychological" addiction - that, maybe, repeatedly thinking and doing according to a "language" (in this case BK language) can set up neural as well as psychological associations, extending (distracting) the topic into the field of neurology ... ? Anyway, now we're here ...

Do you know if "the concentration of transcription factors" relate in any way to neuro-plasticity?

************************************************************************************************************************

Miles Davis was a serious heroin addict. He'd failed to beat his addiction after attempts with doctors and therapists. His career was in a slump. When he finally did it, it was essentially "will power". He went home to his parent's farm, moved into a spare room built above a barn, told his Father not to try to talk to him or disturb him with anything, only to leave food & water at the door. He'd only come out when he was clean, or dead. He was in there "cold turkey" for about a week, then finally came out, went to his Father and gave him a long hug. (His quintet's 1959 album "Kind of Blue" is considered his magnum opus and is the best selling jazz record of all time. In 2009 the US Congress voted 409-0 to declare it a "national treasure". It was recorded about 5 years after he'd got clean (and two years after John Coltrane, the sax player in the band, had kicked his heroin addiction).

I leave it to the reader to extract any moral from this story.
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ex-l

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Re: Cults: The Drug Analogy

Post26 Jul 2013

Pink Panther wrote:I leave it to the reader to extract any moral from this story.

I am not sure about any moral but a couple of observations.

Generally when a exiting-BK starts to de-tox from Brahma Kumarism and regain their mental facilities, as with narcotics, the pushers and other addicts, attempt to re-inforce the addiction. Going cold turkey from Brahma Kumarism is the way to do it and generally most ex-BKs do, including a period of purging anything BK from their life. It's the way to do it.

it's also a problem from friends and family of an individual developing an addiction to BKism, the BK pushers and other addicts will keep calling, inviting, even coercing the vulnerable individual. The free sample approach ... "just try it once and see if you like it ...".

Considering music, it always amazes me how we might not remember where we put our keys, and probably do not remember my 7 or 11 times table without thinking about now, but we can recall large sections of symphonies or catalogues of popular songs ... and then there is that part of our mind which, if it catches a hook or a ditty (e.g. advertising jingle), cannot get free of it for days. How are those parts of the brain used in BKism? And how does 'rote learning' work ... which can be *abuse* with false information to gain acceptance by repetition ... it must also create brain structures.

As an aside, researchers have just demonstrated how false memories can be implanted in the brain (not soul).
They also found that the neural connections made during the formation of a genuine memory were practically identical to those made during the formation of a false memory – suggesting a physical basis for false-memory syndrome.

“We found that a false memory interacts with a true memory just like a regular memory. Also, the false memories activated the same region as true memories,” Dr Liu said.

“Interestingly, sometimes people are more confident about false memories than true ones. Without outside references, a false memory is as real as a true memory to us,” he said.

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