What’s Sanity?

What is sanity? When the violence crime and other threats to the public are gone, what becomes the new criteria for judgement? Especially when one understands how Psychiatric conditions become known, and have treatment defined.

The loose set of symptomology, within various conditions, allows now for multiple diagnoses. Thus making some condition or another almost assured. Not that is the biggest problem. The biggest problem is getting the correct diagnosis.

So again, who’s to say in the future, who is in need of help? Especially when, voting determines new conditions and treatments, for a group of people requiring a client to return for prescription medication, to support and grow their practices.

When that is the business model, of a supposed medical discipline, the adding of new voted on mental health conditions, not research from a lab, do you really think anyone will leave the office without a prescription? Also, how do you treat with medication, a condition that isn’t always  clear or  diagnosed by medical testing? How is prescribing medication based on guess-work and opinion, medically effective? Who’s then safe from becoming labeled?

Do remember their thinking. For example, now if you’re concerned with health and eating good safe foods, you have a mental health condition called Orthorexia. So remember, there’s always a new condition they want to treat with a pill.  Now in this day and age, even taking good care of yourself and being careful about what you eat, is now a mental illness.

Are You Safe?

Guns Mental Health and Manipulation

I have experience dealing with those who have mental health issues. I’ve also listened to the current gun control debate, with all the proposals put forth, as actions to take. There was an action recommended, that I found the most disingenuous. The action was to increase funding to mental health services, so those who may cause violent get weeded out, with a list created of those names. These would be lists of those they consider a future risk to the public.

Doesn’t this action remind anyone of a lesson we should have learned long ago? Also, hasn’t anyone connected the issues between the growing use of psychoactive and psycho-reactive “Prescription Drugs”. Use is rapidly growing, especially by those younger in age, at the behest of school teacher, school officials, councilors, and parents.

Think of the lists they will make, or have already made. Is your child identified as ADD or ADHD? Is there a comment about antisocial behavior, or a “doesn’t work well with others”, on your child’s report card? Has you child even been in a fight at school? Have you ever seen a councilor or psychologist? Have you ever been prescribed a medication used by Psychiatrist, for treating  stress anxiety or depression?

That list just grows and grows, once you start. You also need to ask, what good will a list actually do for the public good? At this point you might even ask, is the list they want to make, for the public’s good to start. Especially with the loss to our rights and privacy that have already taken place.

The Pharmaceutical Multinationals will have to take note, making real and substantive statements about these risks and efficacy of their medications.

So, I see a few problems. I see the list making by the government as, an identified danger from the past. I see the weakened, due to real mental health concerns, as ripe for abuse by government-funded mental health, and psychiatric systems. Those in the government-funded system have little to no defense against such abuses, and accept medications without understanding them. The greatest majority lack the ability to question the choice of one drug over another,. I see the growth of those young given an ADD and ADHD diagnosis as more than an issue of misdiagnosis. I see the arrest of a 6-year-old, for making a gun with their fingers, as I did as a child, as not a safety measure. I see these media spectacles not as news, but a psychological manipulation of the adult populations opinion. As there’s a Huge movement to limit the future disbursement of firearms

The plan fact is, there are those who will do horrible things, and when an inappropriate variable’s included in the mix it’s even more likely. Fact is, gun control laws won’t matter, to those who will do horrible things. Fact is, those with mental health issues are easily manipulated and easy scapegoats. Fact is, many mental health related pharmaceuticals have some horrible side effects. Fact is Psychiatry is a business and if they don’t prescribe, people don’t come back. A fact that’s also true is, when power and control become involved, those in the mix no matter the side will present only facts that support their side of the argument. The sad fact to all of this, many will believe a side of an issue without ever looking at the issue.

Let’s be real, those that need mental health care, generally receive poor care. This will not change. And let’s be real again, taking guns from the public would be more dangerous to the public, than leaving the guns in the hands of their owners. Lets be real too, there will always be those who go over the edge, and not having a gun for them, won’t change the outcome.

Conclusion : All the rhetoric, no matter the side, is simply that rhetoric. And any appearance of concern for ones fellows in this debate, is only pretense. Make your own call, instead of falling in line with those who would manipulate you to “Blame” today’s favorite whipping boy, The Mentally Ill.

Depression to Violence, What is the Catalyst ?

I think it’s fair to say, we’ve all had times in our lives, where we’ve experienced depression. Very few of us though, experience a permanently depressed state. But even with the wide experience of depression, among the people, the risks and the daily realities of a life suffering with a permanent mental health disability, is completely unknown to most and unacknowledged by the majority.

The fact is, this isn’t a surprise. It wasn’t so long ago, when “people” with physical mental or psychiatric illnesses, were hidden away in shame. Most often, by their own families. The disabled destined to live a life, in the attic or the basement.

Like all areas of science, many improvements in treatment and understanding the needs of physical mental or psychiatric conditions. But not much has changed, in the public’s view of these conditions. This can easily be seen on a trip to the local grocery store. This will be the location where the general public is most likely to come across, those who are disabled in some way.

Eyes turn away, comments are made in whispered tones, contact is avoided, and I dare say judgments are made. Then those who have turned, commented, whispered, avoided, and possibly judged, go home and forget all about it. While those with the disabilities, carry on with their struggle through difficult lives.

Discounted, persecuted, and ignored, is the life of the mentally, psychiatric, or physically disabled. Unacknowledged and feared, is their existence. And to spite the advances in understanding and treatment, we’ve developed softer ways of hiding these the perceived unwanted away. We’ve given them the name, group homes. They are the new basements and attics.

Let us take a “normal person”, we will shun him, laugh at him, make disparaging comments about him, judge him, and discount his every thought and opinion. We will tell him what and when to do life’s required activities. But most often we will set him aside, ignore him, and hide him away in shame. This we will do for years. And all things being the same, when this individual breaks, has an outburst, commits a crime, or an act of violence, we will all wonder why.



Mental Health Treatment and the Public’s Peace of Mind

Concerns about mental health treatment have been in the news recently but are often forgotten quickly, as the public has a short attention span, generally speaking. Therefore concerns such as the availability of mental health services, fade quickly from the public’s consciousness, to be replaced by the next breaking story’s controversial content.

I wanted to take a moment, and look at the subject of mental health treatment in the community. I feel it’s a topic that the public should know more about, but don’t. I’m not speaking here of private counseling, but the services in state run community mental health centers. I feel there are some misconceptions, and or blanks in the public’s education on these services.

State run Mental health centers offer services on a sliding scale, to those outside the states sphere of influence. For those within the state system, there are criteria to determine the level of coverage that will be needed for each individual patient.

The majority within the system, of state provided services, have been in inpatient treatment before they come to the mental health center. Inpatient treatment, is provided for short periods, seldom more than 72hrs. By hospital policy, before the release of a patient from the hospital, an appointment is made for the patient at their local mental health center.

When the patient reaches their local mental health center, after their release, an intake process begins. The intake must be completed to determine a patients “Tier”, which is the assumed level of service the new patient will require, from the mental health center. After the intake paper work, interview, and classification, the new patient will then be assigned a doctor and case manager. I feel this is the last sense to the system, especially considering cuts to services past and pending.

The case manager for the client, will be the person they will have the most contact with. Remembering that these patients, now clients, have mental health concerns, I must say, a case manager need not have experience with mental illness psychiatry or psychology, to be a case manager. Here we find the first weak link in the system. An inexperience case manager can do more harm than good for the client, with their lack of experience. This is also a hit and miss roll of the dice for the new client, as there are many qualified case managers, as well as the unqualified.

The doctors at these facilities are generally Psychiatrists, not Psychologists. The reason behind this is the prescribing of medications. In fact the concentration is on medicating the clients. Generally talk therapy, with a qualified psychologist is totally absent, as a treatment option for clients.

The psychiatrists set appointments for clients at 20min intervals, and many times there has been no proper diagnosis of a psychiatric condition before a client see a doctor. However, by the end of the first 20 minute appointment, a preliminary diagnosis will be in the clients file, and the newest, highest cost prescription medications will inevitably be prescribed.

The client, at the time of prescribing, will be given paperwork describing the medications prescribed,  their risks and side effects. Unfortunately many clients don’t have the required capacity to understand the risks associated with their new medications.

Many of the drugs used to treat mental health issues have debilitating side effects. While many Psychiatrists will prescribe a medication not approved to treat the perceived diagnosed condition, but will be prescribed for one of the drugs side effects. These are really all effects, as I don’t believe there is such a thing as a side effect. They are all simply effects, no side about it. A short trip to the waiting room of mental health center will show the effects of medications on clients. Also a half trained eye or a short observation, will allow one to pick out many clients whom are simply over medicated.

Even with the criticisms thus far, we should get down to a cost benefit analysis. Especially considering the the cost cutting measures implemented over the last two years, with more cuts to these services yet to come. Not the easiest thing for the public to get behind, because the possible benefits are intangible to the average tax payer. It’s much easier to get an individual to support something they can see and touch, as opposed to something that may be of more benefit, but can’t be seen or touched.

The present cuts to funding have caused a radical reclassification of mental health patients, in the public system, dropping many once covered. This may not be the most cost effective measure, in the long run, As costly hospitals stays become the defensive front line, for those left with no other possible affordable place to turn, when in distress. This I’m sure you can see, is not that rare with those who are or have become disturbed.

There are mental health issues that can make one prone to outbursts. There are conditions that if unmonitored and treated, can put the public at risk. This will be an even larger concern when our generation long wars have ended, and our soldiers all come home. Unfortunately we have seen the government and military do the same thing that has been done, and continues in the public system. They made the call, that only a certain percentage of those returning could be classified with PTSD. The rest are merely classified as having a anxiety disorders. This was to save on treatment costs. It will not save any money, but end up costing more. Not just money, but disturbance of the public, as soldiers and citizens go untreated.

I think we can all agree, that a hospital stay is prohibitively expensive. Even one as short as three days. I also think over medicating, with the latest and most expensive pharmaceuticals, is quite costly as well. I believe that treatment in the community provides safety to the patient, and the public on the whole.

Even with my concerns about public mental health facilities, I see them as performing a invaluable service to the community. The most forgotten benefit, the peace of mind that the quality treatment of those with mental health issues can give the community. Allowing for other subjects to receive top billing, as public policy is considerations. Quality services can mitigate the real risks and the perceived risk by the public. Cutting of services and removing disturbed patients from the mental health centers client list, accomplishes just the opposite.

There are services we cover as tax payers, that may seem unimportant in the grand scheme of things. This can be a trick of awareness. I feel very few consider the benefit of treating the mentally ill. This I’d like to see change. I believe this often invisible subject of the mental health coverage and the community, is an important one. I believe the dispensing of these services, help to keep the community safe, and the costs to the community down in many ways, that are more than just financial . Costs that can be tangible or intangible, but still beneficial overall.. My last thought, no coverage,  low coverage, and poor coverage, worry me. Those in the community in need of care, receiving care, gives a peace of mind, that can be priceless.

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