The Mental Illness Dilemna

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
The Mental Illness Dilemna
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Wed, 08-01-2012 - 10:51am

Advocates for the mentally ill are faced with a deep dilemma each time extreme and deadly crimes are perpetrated by those with a mental illness. Obviously, such acts are not sane or normal; it beggars common sense to suggest that a person who is thinking straight would choose to kill or wound dozens of strangers. And yet most mentally ill people — even those with conditions that have been linked to violence, such as addictions and schizophrenia — are no threat to anyone other than themselves.

[continued]

For the mentally ill, who might be seen as canaries in this coal mine, stigma serves to wall them off from the social support and medical care that are necessary to spur recovery and prevent illness from leading to tragedy. As a society, we need to understand that risk does not equal destiny — and that believing it does is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s not wrong to see schizophrenia as a disease or even to appreciate its association with violence, but to view people with schizophrenia as hopeless can in some cases worsen their course unnecessarily.

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2012/07/31/mass-murder-and-mental-illness-the-interplay-of-stigma-culture-and-disease/?iid=hl-article-mostpop1#ixzz22J3U2hHn

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Thu, 08-02-2012 - 7:10am

But I don't think parenting and others behavior should be ruled out as elements of concern.

I think parenting is important, generally. But in terms of this thread what concerns are there?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Thu, 08-02-2012 - 8:16am

I haven't seen the reports of his being a loner or any concerns from the school psychiatrist, but I haven't seen any reports since the journal thing.

IF the guy has schizophrenia, then it is entirely possible that he was, for all intent and purposes, normal in high school. For many people, schizophrena develops after high school, often in college.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Thu, 08-02-2012 - 8:40am

I am always surprised by the numbers of people who think that there is a direct relationship between "mental illness" and "insanity". In fact the two have only a peripheral relationship.

Me too. I find for many, in the general population, this leads them to believe those with a mental illness are violent and/or crazy. This belief creates a stigma based on misinformation and misunderstanding.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2009
Thu, 08-02-2012 - 8:43am
Most everyone experiences post-traumatic stress. It's when the symptoms don't dissipate in a reasonable amount of time and begin to take over your life that the post-traumatic stress becomes a disorder. Case in point: I was in an injury car accident a few years back. For weeks afterward, my mind was full of images of the accident, spinning out of control behind the wheel after I was hit, horrible "what ifs" if I had spun into another car instead of a guard rail, etc. I had a few nightmares over it. But gradually, within a month or so, I was able to integrate those experiences, let go of the fear of driving on the freeway again, and pretty much return to normal life. Post-traumatic stress. If the symptoms had persisted for months rather than weeks, made me break out in a cold sweat every time I had to get in a car, and made me unable to drive (which I need to do to carry out my normal life) I think it would be PTSD. Wartime means that these Scary, disturbing things happen not once in a lifetime, but regularly and unpredictably for weeks on end. The mind just doesn't have time to process the emotions, and they stay with you afterward for a long, long time.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Thu, 08-02-2012 - 8:51am

Most everyone experiences post-traumatic stress. It's when the symptoms don't dissipate in a reasonable amount of time and begin to take over your life that the post-traumatic stress becomes a disorder...

If the symptoms had persisted for months rather than weeks, made me break out in a cold sweat every time I had to get in a car, and made me unable to drive (which I need to do to carry out my normal life) I think it would be PTSD. 

ITA. 


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Thu, 08-02-2012 - 8:52am

I find for many, in the general population, this leads many to believe those with a mental illness are violent and/or crazy. This belief creates a stigma based on misinformation and misunderstanding.

That's my sense, too.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Thu, 08-02-2012 - 8:55am

nisupulla,

I was wondering if you knew anything about the studies concerning adopted children. A friend of mine adopted 3 children, from 3 different countries. My friend has a serious anxiety disorder. So, for years, the children were subjected to her outbursts, yelling, screaming, insecurity, micromanaging, and ... how do I word this, the mother often has more concern for how the children's problems and normal anxieties effected her. So, often times she could not understand or support the children handling normal childhood anxieties. Because of this, her children were never taught proper coping skills by either parent.

I am not sure I can describe it better then that will try to expand if you need to.

The question, however, remains, why are these children entering early adulthood and developing their own anxiety disorders? The psychologists and psychiatrists acknowledge there's no family history for these children, but seems to see a strong correlation between parenting and the disorder.

Do you have any thoughts on this? Maybe the children did have a predisposition toward anxiety or maybe they are just mimicking the parents reactions?? I don't know ... what are your thoughts?

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Thu, 08-02-2012 - 9:09am

Jams,

I was at a meeting the other day and this topic came up. A woman described her dd, 10 years old, as a loner. She has no friends. She tends to want to be alone and complains of intrusions when a friend should happen to come over. She also hates to see a friend receive any attention from her siblings or parents. The woman's main concern, as she describes it, her dd has no friends and does not care to make friends. However, to a general onlooker, she appears to be a smart, happy girl.

When it was suggested the child enter therapy, the mother's reaction was, "they will blame me". And as pointed out, schizophrenia is usually found a little later in life. But, my take on this, is if the child should enter therapy, a trained professional can be on the lookout for such disorders while treating whatever the young girl is dealing with now. It might reduce the chances of missing on clues .... assuming the child has a good therapist.

 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-25-2004
Thu, 08-02-2012 - 10:00am

"It’s not wrong to see schizophrenia as a disease" -- it is! 

All mental illnesses are diseases. They are medical issues. It makes no sense that they ever got separated out as something else, something shameful, in the first place. A person with a mental illness has no more control over having that as someone who has diabetes, cancer, asthma, etc. And the labeling of these mental illnesses is horrible. People talk, "Well he's a manic depressive or schizophrenic" as if the person with a mental illness IS the disease. No, they're not. They suffer from a disease, an illness, that they had no choice in. We'd never say, "Oh, he's a lung cancer" yet somehow it became okay to label people with mental illnesses by their illness, and then to act as if it's their own fault, their own choice, in the matter..

I was in a college class many years ago in which the instructor was teaching us about schizophrenia. He gave us each headphones to wear as we had to go do various tasks around campus. What we heard were voices screaming at us, or a small voice telling us bad things about oursevles, or telling us absurd things over and over and over. It was extremely hard to concentrate and I could no wait to get those headphones off of me. I only suffered through 10 minutes of this; I can't imagine people who spend their lifetime this way. And too many in society want to shun them and make it that perons's fault? The fact that insurance for medical care and mental health care are separate is stupid. Mental health issues are medical issues. If we could get over the stigma and the insurance battles and help the people who have any sort of mental health problems we'd do a lot of good.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Thu, 08-02-2012 - 11:26am

I strongly agree with everything that you have said and I've done a similar exercise on hearing voices. As I have said I think the vast majority of mental illnesses are not caused by parenting and/or other people's behavior. I am totally in favor of parity, I am encouraged by the way Obamacare addresses mental illness, and I think SAMHSA is doing some wonderful things.

That said, I think on the other end of the mental illness/mental health spectrum, support IS available for the person who has had a recent trauma but does not have all the symptoms of PTSD. I think good parenting skills can go a long way toward helping children deal with major stresses - such as divorce, death, and a parent's substance use.

If we could get over the stigma and the insurance battles and help the people who have any sort of mental health problems we'd do a lot of good.

Hear, hear!

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