Follow the money right down to the local "loony bin"! June 8 2003
Ok, I have some questions. These are rhetorical... I don't expect an answer. This is just some "food for thought". I know this is a very complex issue. I am only covering a few points.
I went to a charity thrift store (shop) today. I bought four books. One of them was a Revised Standard Bible. (It is not an original version from the 1800's.) One is about how to get a degree or certificate in various alternative health therapies. (At first glance, most of them seem too "new age" for me.) Another one is about how the wrong diet can (potentially) make you crazy... (Psychodietetics) and the fourth book is about how peers influence a child more than parents. I don't agree with that one really.
These last two reminded me of phychiatry/psychology and mental health. Which reminded me of a very recent (this week) case in Canada. A man considered to be a genius physicist has won the right to refuse "medical treatment". YEA!!!! It was a breakthrough in the rights of the mentally ill. This guy contends that he would rather stay in a mental institution, and live with the symptoms of his illness, rather than take his medication. He has to remain locked up because he poses a threat to others. The "doctors" want to be able to medicate this man and all other mentally ill patients against their wills. A relative of this physicist, said on the radio, that he said his great desire was to work on his physics papers. But since he hasn't taken his medication in years he hasn't worked on any physics papers in years. From what I heard on the radio, it seems as if everyone who knows him thinks it is a tragedy that he is unable to use his gifts. The physicist thinks that the medications dull his mind. He just wants the right to refuse "treatment". The doctors are afraid that they will loose the right to force people into treatment. I just looked up this story online. I have found an articles about the case. http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1052251754573&call_pageid=968332188492&col=968705899037
This story reminds me of an incident I know about. I once had a house mate who had a mental illness. He was afraid of showing the symptoms of his mental illness. You could say that he did not want to appear "crazy" in public. So as grievous as it was, he was very careful to take his medication. At one point he went to an all night pancake restaurant with a friend we both knew. This friend also had a mental illness. He would not take his medication though. On this particular night, our friend tried to leave the restaurant without paying. My housemate told him that they could not get away with that, and made sure the bill was paid. As they traveled home, the friend got on all fours in someone's front yard, and barked like a dog. This greatly disturbed my housemate. He did not understand why someone would want to do that in public. It reinforced his desire to take his medication.
It is common knowledge that mentally ill people do not like to take their medication. From my experience it seems that the medication is something you would not wish upon your worst enemy. I knew someone who had tardive disconesia. (spelling) She was so disabled, she could not drive, or work. She would bite her tongue violently at times. I do not know if the new drugs are different, but tardive disconesia was a side effect of long term use of psychotropic drugs. Tardive disconesia is involuntary muscle movements mostly of the face. At least that is my understanding of it. If someone would rather bark like a dog on a stranger's lawn, rather than take their medication, the drugs must be pretty awful!!!!
If the mentally ill find the medication to be so grievous, why do the "doctors", social workers, and other "carers" spend so much time trying to get the "patient" to take it? Why don't people working in the mental health field come up with some better treatment for mental illness than medication !!????
At best, all these medications do is "mask" symptoms. (my opinion) They cannot cure the mental illness. The only genuine "cure" of mental illness I have ever seen has come from God!!!! It seems to me that unless the "patient" gets healed by God, mental illness is an endless circle. This is how it seems to me:
Oftentimes the "patients" become cyclic. They first exhibit symptoms and family members try to get the person into treatment. They probably go into a mental hospital at this point. The "patient" gets "stabilized" on medication and they are released from the hospital. Then they are ok for a while. But eventually they stop taking their medication. Their symptoms return and the cycle begins again. Sometimes the symptoms are difficult for family members to cope with.
During the first "bout" with the mental illness, the family hears terminology they have never heard before. They are confronted with procedures they have never encountered before. Some family members take charge and learn the terminology and how to deal with the procedures. They become an "advocate" for the "patient". Other families learn to deal with their "patient" the best they can. As the illness progresses, and the "patient" refuses to stay on the medication and "get better" these families loose patience. They become exhausted by it all. When they can no longer cope with the situation, they push the "patient" away.
The families that are "advocates", they try and try to get the "patient" into treatment. The situation is,
that most of the time "treatment" cannot be forced on the "patient" unless the person is in danger of doing self harm or harm to others. It is not enough for the family to "know" that the mentally ill person is going to hurt someone. There has to be "evidence". It also doesn't matter that the person is exhibiting symptoms like hallucinations or "strange" behavior. "Evidence" of those things won't get the person into "treatment". These families are frustrated with a system where the "patient" cannot be forced into treatment.
The other families more or less have the attitude, that the "patient" would not put forth effort to help themselves so why should they do anything. Besides they have tried before and it does not do any good.
This is also a matter of economics. Wealthier families have more financial resources and the "mentality" to deal with these situations. Then there is the whole issue of "victims". People are sometimes injured or killed by the mentally ill. There are "high profile" cases where the "doctors" knew the person was a danger to society, but they couldn't keep the person in the hospital. They let the person out, making them promise to take their medication. The person then harms or kills someone. Then advocates "against" the mentally ill then work to get the laws changed so that people can be institutionalized and forced on medication easier.
These kind of laws are very destructive in a way. People should not be forced to have medical treatment without INFORMED consent!! In some places a person can have Electro Shock treatments against their will. Yes! These barbaric treatments are still being given. Some "doctors" claim that it is more effective for depression than medication!! It is also used as a "quick fix" (my words) for post partum depression. The women are told that shock treatments work faster and get the person back to work faster, than treatment via medication. They are not always told about the horrific side effects. Another barbaric treatment still being used is, "frontal lobotomies". They use it now for treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
In Ontario, Canada they have "Brian's Law". Here are some things I learned about "Brian's Law". The first article comes from the Lunatic Liberation Front. The second article is a "follow the money" story. It tells about how much the drug companies were supporting "Brian's Law". The third article is about how effective this expensive law was.
http://www.walnet.org/llf/on-bill68-00.html http://www.straightgoods.com/item341.asp http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWSFeatures0204/10_homeless2-sun.html [August 9, 2006--- Not all those links work. Here is one from "lawyers.ca" (David Allan Harris) http://www.lawyers.ca/dharris/articles/brianslaw.htm ]
I do not have the answers for "society" on how to deal with the mentally ill. I do not know if forced "treatment" is the answer---or if allowing people to remain how they are is the answer. I know from a Biblical point of view, that you shouldn't always sit by and allow people to remain how they are. For example, you don't allow a person with a headache to repeatedly hit themselves in the foot with a hammer. You take away the hammer and teach them a better way to cure the headache. As much as people try, we cannot legislate The Bible onto all of society. I do know the answer for dealing with individuals that have mental illness. Speak The Word to them if it is available. Somehow make God's healing available. The only way to really "cure" a mental illness is through God.
It could be argued that if the mentally ill do not get "cured" or "healed permanently", then the drug companies, and "doctors" have a cash cow. So, it would not seem to be in the best interest of the "doctors" and drug companies to "heal" the mentally ill. Yet, after a long while the mentally ill can become reliant on government programs to provide their medical and mental health care. They then become a drain on thinning resources.
There is a case I know of a famous woman singer. I heard from her own mouth (TV interview) that from the time she could afford it, she went to "therapy". This was the early 1960's maybe. At the time of the interview, (late 1990's) she was still in "therapy". At one point there was a rumor (unconfirmed!) that this singer developed "stage fright" and had to visit her "therapist" in order to gain the courage to sing live on stage. This would imply to me that she had become "dependant" on her "therapist". It could look like her "therapist" saw a cash cow and cashed it in. It is very easy for these "therapists" and psychiatrists to string people along and even get them "hooked" on the "therapy". It shouldn't take 40 years or so to get a person "better". It is my opinion that a "therapist" or psychiatrist/psychologist should set a goal of the "patient" eventually being set free of the "therapy". Eventually the "patient" or client should be "well" enough or "better" enough, that they do not need to visit the "therapist" again. Shouldn't this be in the best interest of the "patient"? Of course your UNethical "therapist" would believe that lining his own pockets was in the best interest of the "patient".
Another whole issue related to this is the history of Psychiatry and Psychology. Psychiatry was not considered a "science" for a long time. I do not believe it should be considered a "science" now. A lot of it seems to be guess work. Or rather it is "subjective opinion". It is like music for example. One person says that it is good music the other person doesn't. If there were certain unchanging standards that determined that the music was good that would be one thing. But each person has their own taste. Some people go so far as to say that "good" music cannot have certain kinds of rhythms to it. I don't know if psychiatry has those unchanging standards. One person could declare that a "patient" has one thing, and another "doctor" could declare it is something else. And I have seen definitions for some of the mental illnesses change during my lifetime!!!!
When I was a child I was diagnosed with some awful sounding terminology that really meant "we don't know". If I were diagnosed according to what "they" know today, they might have said that I had attention deficit disorder. (amongst other things) Part of the problem that I saw was that the "doctors" listened to my mother too much. She was well meaning and she did not deliberately lie. She just did not know all the facts at times. She was looking at my behavior and then she was trying to figure out my motivation or what I was thinking at the time. The "doctors" tried this as well. I do not see how that could work. If I do that with my husband he gets very angry. He can "LOOK" very angry as he is doing something. I ask him what I did to cause his anger. He yells, "I'm not angry!". Then I find out that his look is not anger but deep concentration of the task he has before him. I can understand my mother doing this. She was desperate to figure out what was going on. I can see how she could "get it wrong", as she is not a "trained professional". But for the "doctors" to come up with some of the goofy things they did. That is a problem best left to the "experts"! Ha!
For example, at one point I started having a bed wetting problem. I was 12 years old! The human bladder is not fully developed yet as I understand it. (Of course while I was being "treated" they had a younger boy who was in there simply for a bed wetting problem. At least that is what "us kids" all "heard".) The "doctor" had the nerve to ask me "WHY" I was wetting the bed. As if I would know!!!! Then when I replied with a "cute" answer, "I guess Thursday is my day to wet the bed"....that made headlines in the chart! This bed wetting coincided with my starting to take a powerful tranquilizer. Eventually I went back to live with my mother. I was still taking the medicine. Eventually I was wetting the bed every night. My mother was being driven nuts, by that problem and other things going on at the time. Eventually I saw a regular medical doctor and he put me on a medicine that was supposed to make me alert in my sleep. (If I understood correctly.) That medicine made me feel dizzy and I couldn't take it. My mother had sense enough to take me off the original medication. And eventually the bed wetting stopped. It wasn't until I was almost 40 years old, and I looked it up online, that I found out that the medication I had taken caused "involuntary bladder contractions". And of course it made the person who took it extremely thirsty,
so I drank tons (litres) of water! Did they know that this drug caused involuntary bladder contractions when I was 12? If they did, why didn't the "doctor" read the "insert" before he asked me the stupid questions!!????
How can anyone look at an individual and tell by their behavior what they are thinking!!!!????? I know it can work some of the time. But I would never want to stake my life on it. Nobody can predict behavior either. I know my cat very well. I know that a lot of the time she goes to the door and "appears" to want out. So we let her out. As we pass the cat's food dish later on, we see that it needs filling. The reality was, that the cat wanted food in her dish. Her going to the door was a way of getting attention. Now days, we try to stick her by the food dish before we let her out. It does not always work out that we get her wants and needs correct. All we can do is look at her behavior.
I have had two similar situations happen with two different cats which illustrate that you need to be careful when interpreting behavior. I was holding one cat that desperately wanted down. I held it tighter because I "knew", from past behavior, that this cat simply did not like to be held. The cat struggled even harder to get away, finally freeing itself. Boy was I glad it got away. It got sick as soon as it fled my arms. The next time I wasn't so blessed. I was taking our Coal upstairs. She had just had her first vet visit. She was making a sound in my arms. I thought it was just belching or something because I was holding her the wrong way or something. She does that sometimes. She was, it turns out, coughing and wanting down. I sat on the bed with her and got a mess all over me as she got sick.
Ok, I think I am done ranting for now. I wanted to add one more point. I forgot what it was, [BUMMER!!!!] so I will have to write it on here later. I will check the spelling and then hit the hay again.... Robyn