As many readers of this blog are aware psych meds can damage the brain as well as the whole body. I’m excerpting and linking to an article from the Harvard Gazette that speaks about how meditation makes the brain grow bigger and aids in healing and plasticity. For those of us who’ve been on neuroleptics (antipsychotics) and other psychiatric drugs that hurt the brain (they’re all neurotoxic), this is good news. The brain remains plastic and our habits can heal that which we’ve inadvertently harmed.
I’ve posted about brain loss from psych meds here: Yes, psych meds DO shrink brains
Researchers at Harvard, Yale, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found the first evidence that meditation can alter the physical structure of our brains. Brain scans they conducted reveal that experienced meditators boasted increased thickness in parts of the brain that deal with attention and processing sensory input.
In one area of gray matter, the thickening turns out to be more pronounced in older than in younger people. That’s intriguing because those sections of the human cortex, or thinking cap, normally get thinner as we age.
“Our data suggest that meditation practice can promote cortical plasticity in adults in areas important for cognitive and emotional processing and well-being,” says Sara Lazar, leader of the study and a psychologist at Harvard Medical School. “These findings are consistent with other studies that demonstrated increased thickness of music areas in the brains of musicians, and visual and motor areas in the brains of jugglers. In other words, the structure of an adult brain can change in response to repeated practice.” (Continue reading…)
Minimizing psychiatric drug use and finding safer alternatives can help us heal and have longer healthier lives.