mental-illness-infoThe whole world is suddenly concerned about the mentally ill. Unfortunately, the concern is not due to compassion, but out of fear.

We fear what we don’t understand, so it is time to understand mental illness like never before. 

Here are four facts that you should know:

1. Forcing treatment upon the mentally ill has ZERO positive effect

With all the talk about forcing the mentally ill into treatment with legislation like Laura’s Law, it turns out that there is proof that forcing treatment upon the mentally ill nets ZERO positive effect.

Researchers actually tracked two large groups of patients who had been released from the mental hospital. One group had compulsory treatment for their condition. They did not have a choice but to remain in treatment and take their medication. The other group was left to themselves, with no clinical supervision whatsoever.

Both groups had identical amounts of regression and revisits to the hospital. If forced treatment were so beneficial, you’d think the compulsory group would have fared better.

Here is the comprehensive study’s conclusion:

In well coordinated mental health services the imposition of compulsory supervision does not reduce the rate of readmission of psychotic patients. We found no support in terms of any reduction in overall hospital admission to justify the significant curtailment of patients’ personal liberty.

The results were so astounding that England’s primary advocate of compulsory treatment, Tom Burns, MD, has changed his position on the matter. Forced treatment does not work!

2. The mentally ill population is no more violent than the general population

The kneejerk reaction of so many is to fear the mentally ill. If you fear the mentally ill, then you should fear everyone, as the mentally ill are no more violent than your average person. Check these facts:

“…the vast majority of people who are violent do not suffer from mental illnesses (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).”

“The absolute risk of violence among the mentally ill as a group is very small. . . only a small proportion of the violence in our society can be attributed to persons who are mentally ill (Mulvey, 1994).”

“People with psychiatric disabilities are far more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violent crime (Appleby, et al., 2001). People with severe mental illnesses, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or psychosis, are 2 ½ times more likely to be attacked, raped or mugged than the general population (Hiday, et al.,1999).”

3. Many in the field of mental health are in the business of expanding mental illness

It’s called market expansion and its brilliant from a pure marketing perspective. Expand your market by creating more customers who need your products. It’s smart business.

This practice is being questioned. In fact, there has been quite an outcry against it. As more and more people are indoctrinated with diagnoses and labeled, more and more people will be led to believe that drugs are the accepted treatment. Are we sure we want this?

4. Psychiatrists make certain assumptions about mental illness

Yes, it is true. Before you assume that your doctor knows the absolute cause and cure for mental illness, stop and think. They don’t know. They are making certain assumptions that you are accepting when you enter treatment. You are responsible for these assumptions in your life.

Typical assumptions psychiatrists make include:

Assumption 1: Mental illness is the result of chemical imbalance. While most people believe this by now, there is no evidence that it is true. No proof. This is speculation, as is the treatment the flows from this assumption.

Are there other, more useful assumptions? Yes. How about Jay Haley’s theory about how family systems and power struggles contribute to schizophrenia? Jay was popping people out of psychotic episodes with family therapy in the 1960’s. Is your doctor aware of this? Read more here.

Assumption 2: Drugs are the only effective treatment. This is questionable at best. Drugs create dangerous symptoms. Drugs do not solve emotional problems; they suppress them in some cases. Doctors are merely guessing about what drugs are doing in the brain.

Now what? Work with your doctor! Ask him or her to get educated about natural, effective, respectful approaches to treating mental illness. Work with a doctor who will spend the time and take the interest to really get to know you, if you can find one.

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