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: 08-27-2001
Sat, 08-04-2012 - 8:44pm
You're choosing to interpret my post as the same as the outdated opinions of someone else. I defined inappropriate parenting very clearly - I do not mean a lax or mediocre parenting style. I clearly defined it as emOtional, physical or sexual abuse.. I said those things, in addition to the other stressors you and I both mentioned, we're likely to trigger the symptoms to emerge in a person who is biologically predisposed to it.

Please keep in mind that I am the mother of one child with pretty significant mental ill ess and three others with more mainstream conditions. I'd be he last person to blame parenting, but Inoffer no apologies for balking trauma such as abuse in some cases.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Sat, 08-04-2012 - 9:24pm

"Likely" is too strong a word "could possibly" is more accurate.

schizophrenia.com

There are a couple of psychologists who think that child abuse is a significant cause, if not the major cause, of schizophrenia and began strongly publicizing this theory recently. However main-stream schizophrenia researchers say that there are no rigorous studies that support this theory.

Increasingly however, leading psychiatric researchers have told us that they think it is likely that child abuse is one type of stress and trauma (of many) that is a contributing factor in schizophrenia (especially for people biologically or genetically predisposed) - though as yet there is no definitive long term studies that have proven this. (leading, mainstream researchers have told us of recent (fall, 2006) unpublished studies where the data supports the theory that child abuse can be a factor in risk for developing schizophrenia, but it is unlikely to be a factor in "most" or "many" cases of schizophrenia).

Research is showing that children's and adolescent's brains are very sensitive to stress - and children exposed to ongoing or frequent stress can suffer significant brain damage.

Additionally, research supports the idea that social stress and family stress can be a causal factor in development of schizophrenia for people who are biologically or genetically predisposed. Therefore it is reasonable to suspect that child abuse could significantly increase the risk of schizophrenia for a child predisposed to schizophrenia (and certainly child abuse - including neglect, emotional, physical and sexual abuse - is very harmful and has a lasting negative impact on a child's mental health), but there is no rigorous evidence to support Hammersley and Read's theory that child abuse causes a significant portion or "the majority" of cases of schizophrenia.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-27-2001
Sat, 08-04-2012 - 9:31pm
I think we're in agreement.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Sat, 08-04-2012 - 9:47pm

When it comes to childhood stress, the mental health disorders to watch for are alcohol abuse, depression, substance abuse, and sucidality. However, mental illness isn't the only medical condition that childhood stress is linked to.

Childhood abuse, neglect, and exposure to other traumatic stressors which we term adverse childhood experiences (ACE) are common. Almost two-thirds of our study participants reported at least one ACE, and more than one of five reported three or more ACE. The short- and long-term outcomes of these childhood exposures include a multitude of health and social problems.

The ACE Study uses the ACE Score, which is a count of the total number of ACE respondents reported. The ACE Score is used to assess the total amount of stress during childhood and has demonstrated that as the number of ACE increase, the risk for the following health problems increases in a strong and graded fashion:

  • Alcoholism and alcohol abuse
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Depression
  • Fetal death
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Illicit drug use
  • Ischemic heart disease (IHD)
  • Liver disease
  • Risk for intimate partner violence
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Smoking
  • Suicide attempts
  • Unintended pregnancies
  • Early initiation of smoking
  • Early initiation of sexual activity
  • Adolescent pregnancy
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Sat, 08-04-2012 - 10:26pm

Pondering the role of parents and childhood stress.

Childhood stress leads to a variety of adult health problems: heart dissease, type 2 diabetes, inflammation, depression, substance abuse, autoimmune disorders, multiple schlerosis, psoriasis, the list goes on and on.

It would be very short sighted to mistakenly believe that childhood stress only leads to "mental health" problems. I really don't think parents have any control at all of what time of health problem a chilld will develop in adulthood. Certainly, it is going to be more socially acceptable if a child ends out with diabetes than if the child ends out with suicidality/depression. But I do not believe that there is any evidence to show for example that using overeating as a coping strategy will more likely lead to diabetes or that yelling will lead to alholism - even though there is some reason to intuitively wonder.

Parents cannot eliminate childhood stressors. Bad things happen to good people. But parents can and should learn and share coping skills.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Sun, 08-05-2012 - 1:02pm

pondering .......

It would be very short sighted to mistakenly believe that childhood stress only leads to "mental health" problems. I really don't think parents have any control at all of what time of health problem a child will develop in adulthood.

I certainly agree, but I believe the purpose of the thread is to discuss mental health. I am very confused as to where the above statement came from.

But I do not believe that there is any evidence to show for example that using overeating as a coping strategy will more likely lead to diabetes or that yelling will lead to alholism - even though there is some reason to intuitively wonder

I'm sorry, it's unclear where you are getting this information from. Did someone on the thread say his?

Are you suggesting children don't mimic their parents or children don't learn coping skills through their parents? I am not sure what you are suggesting. 

Parents cannot eliminate childhood stressors. Bad things happen to good people. But parents can and should learn and share coping skills.

Ok, so how is this different from what I said? lol .. and I certainly never suggested we could eliminate childhood stress, but one with mental illness or predisposition to a metal illness, does not responded appropriately to normal stress.

See, the problem with what you are saying, it's like suggesting parents have no influence over their children at all. I just don't believe that. And I would imagine if mental health was simply a matter of teaching our child resilience, then the mental health field would cease to exist. I think in a way to avoid blaming parents, some want to eliminate the parents responsibility in any of this by writing it off as something the parents can't help. I believe we are truly a product of environment as well as genetics.

And, yes, IMO, a parent has great influence on how their children handle stress, whether that be in a normal range or in the category of a mental illness.

So, again, I am not sure what post you are responding to so, it's hard to kind of hard, for me, to follow your thoughts.

http://actagainstviolence.apa.org/specialtopics/yelling.html

While occasional yelling is common in American families, parents who constantly yell at their children are subjecting their children to emotional abuse that researchers say can be as harmful as physical abuse. A 2001 study in the American Journal of Psychiatry involving 49 people with depersonalization disorder (a mental disorder in which a person has a feeling of detachment or estrangement from one’s self) and 26 emotionally healthy people, found that yelling and other forms of emotional abuse was a more significant predictor of mental illness than sexual and physical abuse.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/09/health/09yell.html

But in some cases, researchers say, yelling can become a form of emotional abuse. And children whose parents consistently raise their voices or combine yelling with insults, criticism, ridicule or humiliation may suffer from depression, dips in self-esteem or demonstrate more aggression themselves.

While physical abuse of children has been widely studied, child development specialists have in recent years begun to focus more attention on emotional abuse, which studies suggest can be equally harmful. In 2002, the American Academy of Pediatrics urged pediatricians to be aware of the risk factors of psychological maltreatment of children.

The academy's report, based on numerous studies, said that "a chronic pattern of psychological maltreatment destroys a child's sense of self and personal safety.''

 

 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Sun, 08-05-2012 - 10:09pm

Let's see if I can be clearer - wish me luck.

Point #1 linking parenting to schizophrenia is as silly as linking parenting to heart disease

Inappropriate parenting, such as shaming and yelling, can lead to childhood stress. Divorce can lead to childhood stress. Poverty can lead to childhood stress. Life threatening illness can lead to childhood stress.

Too much childhood stress can lead to a variety of physical and mental disorders. Each individual will experience childhood stress differently. Certain stresses do not lead to certain disorders, for example the emotional stress of yelling and shaming increases the risk of the physical disorder heart disease in adulthood.

The news never asks about people's parents when someone is diagnosed with heart disease. The news will ask about people's parents when someone is diagnosed with schizophrenia. There is a stigma to schizophrenia that does not exist with heart disease.

Point #2 childhood stress is noteworthy in mental disorders such as depression, alcoholism, substance abuse, and suicidality

Increasing parenting skills, coping skills and resilience is likely to reduce the incidence of garden variety mental illness such as depression and alcoholism.

Increassing parenting skills, coping skills and resilience is not as likely to reduce the incidence of ADHD, bipolar and/or schizophrenia.

point#3 Parenting is important

Increasing parenting skills, coping skills and resilience will help anyone cope more effectively with any disorder, mental or physical, preventable or not preventable.

Any clearer? Even a little?

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Mon, 08-06-2012 - 8:11am

Point #1 linking parenting to schizophrenia is as silly as linking parenting to heart disease

lol ...yes, but who is linking schizophrenia to parenting? I think this is where much confusion arises in these discussion. You may, in your mind or on this thread, be discussing schizophrenia, but I think the scope of the discussion has included more then just a discussion on schizophrenia.

Too much childhood stress can lead to a variety of physical and mental disorders. Each individual will experience childhood stress differently.

But again, who said otherwise? I absolutely agree. No two people will respond to anything the same way.

Certain stresses do not lead to certain disorders,

Who said it did?

Point #2 childhood stress is noteworthy in mental disorders such as depression, alcoholism, substance abuse, and suicidality

Yes, but again, who said otherwise?

Increasing parenting skills, coping skills and resilience will help anyone cope more effectively with any disorder, mental or physical, preventable or not preventable.

Any clearer? Even a little?

Oh, I am very clear on the subject. It's just very unclear what your previous had to do with anything I said.

Sometimes it's helpful to quote from a post to clarify what you are referencing. (it's helpful for me) Because, I certainly never said a parent can eliminate childhood stresses, as you claimed in your previous post.

LOL ... like I said, it's very hard to know who has a genetiic predisposition to any disorder, especially with adopted children, but it seems very clear, our parenting skills, how we handle stress, how we teach our children to handle stress, how we handle our own anxiety, depression, organizational skills .... and so on, will directly influence our children. I would also stress, personality and such, as posted earlier, will also play a role in how one handles things like resiliency, patience and tolerance.

And, I don't classify outbursts as simple yelling and shaming.

Although, I do see great strides in research and genetics, I do not think it's been completely ruled that environment has nothing to do with one's mental health. Of course, you are right, one won't develop adhd, but a child can certainly develop many behaviors which coincide with adhd. As far as anxiety/depression ... and whatnot ... I think that's a different story altogether. I think to expect a child to be resilient,tolerant, patient ,as someone mentioned, because it can be taught .... again, I think there's limitations to that.

The family history and genetic link are still, only a portion of the overall evaluation for any "garden variety" disorders. And vice versa, one will not rule out adhd or schizophrenia or anxiety or depression simply because there's no known genetic link. The genetic link only increases the likelihood of such disorder. And, even if we conclude mental disorders are completely a genetic condition, this will never rule out the effect our environment has on us, which includes how our parents, parent.



iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Mon, 08-06-2012 - 8:26am

It's just very unclear what your previous had to do with anything I said. 

Ah. Very good. I'll put my thoughts together and see what I skipped over in terms of linking my comments to the discussion at hand.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Mon, 08-06-2012 - 9:44am

Ah. Very good. I'll put my thoughts together and see what I skipped over in terms of linking my comments to the discussion at hand.

Well, thank you. I think there's just been many discussions going on. Looking forward to seeing what you have to say.

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