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.

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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 - 11:36am

I'll mull it over for a while to see if I think of anything else, but certainly having good coping skills is essential to managing anxiety. Also, there is some newer studies showing that ongoing moderate levels of stress in childhood may have consequences in adulthood.

So, yeah, assuming the parent in this case has a significant disorder (depression, anxiety, rage, borderline personality, or something else) that stress could have consequences for the kids.

Curiously, the "solution" is similar to the proposal in my last post. If support and treatment were readily available, affordable and de-stigmatized that parent could have been helped sooner.

Thought provoking question....

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Thu, 08-02-2012 - 12:07pm

Curiously, the "solution" is similar to the proposal in my last post. If support and treatment were readily available, affordable and de-stigmatized that parent could have been helped sooner.

I completely agree, however, in the particular case, help is available. The mother refuses it.

I read something similar concerning children.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Thu, 08-02-2012 - 1:53pm

help is available. The mother refuses it.

I think our cultural imperative to allow people to refuse treatment is off somehow.

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Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
Thu, 08-02-2012 - 3:22pm

"I think our cultural imperative to allow people to refuse treatment is off somehow."

  Not so fast.

The laws in each state are different and there are serious consequences.  Loss of freedoms being one.

dragowoman

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Thu, 08-02-2012 - 5:23pm

Not fast, not off the cuff.

I believe that as a culture we lean so far in favor of "freedom" that we do a grave disservice to the seriously mentally ill who are not even aware that they are ill. I think the renegade expert, E. Fuller Torrey, makes admirable strides toward bringing the issue to light.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Thu, 08-02-2012 - 5:40pm

Second thoughts, after some mulling:

Some, hopefully small, number of parents are not as capable of instilling coping skills and resilience in their children. Some of those parents have a substance abuse problem, some of those parents have mental illness, and some of those parents have neither. Children who have lots of stress and minimal coping skills will often develop some maladaptive behaviors. Some of those children will develop substance use problems or depression/anxiety symptoms. But some of those children will develop  diabetes II, some will go on to have heart problems and/or clogged arteries. Some will develop psoriasis.

Stress is linked to many medical problems as well as "mental" problems. I would not want to give the impression that I think having a parent with a mental illness teaches a child how to be mentally ill. I do not believe that at all. What I do believe is that high stress takes a physical toll on the body. For some people the "weak link" is a sugar imbalance, for some clogged arteries, for some panic attacks. I fully agree with the previous poster who said that mental illness is an illness just like any other and trying to single it out as "mental" instead of " medical" makes no sense to me.

I'll mull so more now.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Thu, 08-02-2012 - 8:54pm

I fully agree with the previous poster who said that mental illness is an illness just like any other and trying to single it out as "mental" instead of " medical" makes no sense to me

I agree as well, that's not what we were discussing. I was pondering the roll of parenting skills plays in a child developing a mental illness. When we look at biological children, we can look at statistics to show us the possible outcome. But, when the child is adopted, I was questioning the likelihood of learned behavior.

I even remember in college, studying studies that showed children raised by screamers, were likely to have a higher level of stress or anxiety. Further studies show what happens to the individual when the scream, holler or yell.

So, I am pondering the roll a parent plays in all this. Although I don't think it fair to blame mental illness on the parent, I would also like to ponder to contribution a parent plays in a child's mental health.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Fri, 08-03-2012 - 7:15am

IMO, Most kids are resilient given the opportunity

I disagree. Other factors are involved with becoming a resilient type. Personality and intelligence are believed to play a roll in this, as I am sure predisposition to stress, anxiety and depression do as well. Your friend may very well be right. Her child may not be the resilient type and maybe, neither is your friend. This doesn't mean one should make excuses for it, but they should take this in consideration when making a change. They should also be aware of this, and as a parent, take steps to nurture more resiliency in their child.

I don't think anyone should downplay the effects of a separation or a divorce will have on a child. Anticipating a child may not be resilient, the parent can take steps to ease the transition.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Fri, 08-03-2012 - 7:31am

That is so horrible, but I am glad she was able to adopt them and put them in a better home.

I am pretty sure my friends children do suffer from some sort of disorder that can be linked to the adoption. I have to question, however, my friends way of handling their stress and anxiety played a role in how they turned out, as well as how she handles her own. 

 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Fri, 08-03-2012 - 7:41am

Ommy and Jambles,

Hopefully this thread will continue, but I just want to point out the I am enjoying reading your thoughts and feelings on this fairly complex topic!

Nisu

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