The problem with crazy people


Hello Clarice!

A visitor posted this comment last night:

Nowadays, the mentally ill live with family or independently, and drugs are supposed to keep them safe and well. Would it be better if the mentally ill are instead kept in mental institutions? There is a lot of potential for abuse in institutionalizing the mentally ill; as was depicted in victorian novels, so that would be a big concern. I am wonder if some mentally ill people would actually benefit from being in a mental institution, rather than staying with their parents or independently. Or would it be a case of punishing all mentally ill people for the crimes of a few? Your thoughts?

I think it deserves a detailed response.

I won’t mince words or try to be politically correct – we all know there are some people out there that ain’t right in the head. We mostly stopped using terms like “lunatic” and “retarded” because of the stigma associated with those words, but the problems they describe still exist.

Regardless of what terms you use, they describe problems with the brain. Those problems may be genetic, organic or caused by some kind of trauma, but whatever the cause some portion(s) of the person’s brain does not function properly. Some of those problems may not manifest themselves until adulthood.

Once upon a time crazy people were thought to be possessed by demons. There was no treatment for people with brain impairments and they were either cared for by their families, allowed to fend for themselves and/or driven off. Somewhere during the 19th Century we started warehousing them in “insane asylums”.

During the 20th Century we started keeping them in “mental hospitals” and drugging them to keep them docile. This was considered a big improvement. Some of them were experimented on with electric shock treatments and/or brain surgery. The quality of care in these places was somewhat less than ideal. Sometimes it was cruel and sadistic, and other times it was merely heartless.

Somewhere around the 60’s and 70’s the bleeding hearts on the left teamed up with the penny-pinchers on the right to close many of the mental hospitals in favor of “community care.” The unintended result of this was a sudden and dramatic rise in the homeless population and the number of mentally ill inmates in our jails and prisons.

We live in a nation that places a high value on freedom. But some people simply aren’t qualified to exercise that franchise. The extreme cases are the easiest – people who are completely incapable of caring for themselves or who are an obvious danger to themselves and/or others. The less obvious cases are more problematic.

Some people are high-functioning/mildly impaired – they are capable of caring for themselves but they are a little “slow” or “off.” We allow these people the full rights and privileges of citizenship and the exercise of freedom as long as they stay out of trouble.

Now here is where it gets tricky. Some people are capable of functioning with a little help – supervision, assistance, treatment and/or medication. Some people need quite a bit of help. Some of them refuse to accept any help.

We can lock people up even if they haven’t committed any crime if they are a danger to themselves or others. We can place people under a guardianship so that they can be allowed to function under supervision. Some people are beyond help. The question is where do we draw the lines and who decides? At what point should the state intervene?

Families are often the first line of assistance. But sometimes families are unwilling or incapable of meeting that person’s needs. This is especially true with impaired adults with elderly parents. In some cases the family is part of the problem.

There are other issues as well, like substance abuse. Whatever problems the person has are gonna get worse if they abuse alcohol or drugs. Take a functioning but impaired person who stops taking their medications and starts using crank and they can turn into a real problem.

Often the only help these people get comes when they get arrested for some crime. While they are locked up they get clean and start taking their meds again. They are model prisoners. Then they are released under supervision by probation or parole officers. They do just fine. Eventually the supervision ends, they stop taking their meds and start using drugs again. Then they end up in jail. It’s a vicious cycle that repeats itself over and over during their lifetimes.

So what is the right answer? Fuck if I know. No matter what we do bad things will happen. Some times there is no right answer.

BTW – I was not addressing sociopaths, pedophiles and other special cases like that. When those types are identified they need to be permanently locked up because they will always be a danger to others.

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38 Responses to The problem with crazy people

  1. foxyladi14 says:

    Excellent article myiq2xu (D)
    And I agree. 🙂

  2. Very well said. You cover all the main issues and their frustrating complexity. Fuck if I know, indeed.

  3. DandyTiger says:

    Well said. You must be on your meds again. 🙂

    And agree, fuck if I know solutions either.

  4. votermom says:

    I know this isn’t the answer:

  5. tommy says:

    Alabama St. Vincent Hospital. Gunman opens fire on a cop and 2 other employees before being gunned down by the cops. Supposedly, its nonfatal, and the 3 are recovering. Don’t know for sure.

  6. votermom says:

    There is no problem with crazy people because Obamacare will solve all mental health policy problems.
    The problem is guns because Obama hasn’t managed to repeal 2nd amendment yet.

    • Mary says:

      While they’re pushing for “gun control,” the Bots won’t tell you that Chicago and D.C –both of which have “gun control” laws, are the murder centers of the country, with plenty of gun violence.

      They have no real answers.

  7. tommy says:

    Motive? NBC says that a day before the shooting, the loon had an ‘altercation’ with 4 staff members of the school. The next day, he shot dead 3 of them. 1 of them wasn’t at the school, and the cops are interrogating that person.

  8. swanspirit says:

    Reposting from downstairs

    Now , with this shooting in Ct , we have yet another young killer , within the age range of onset of schizophrenia , and certainly psychotic symptoms can be present in other disorders , such as bi-polar or borderline personality disorder and psychotic episodes occur with drug use .. Sometimes it is impossible to distinguish thought disorder and personality disorder in a diagnosis .

    This shooters brother said he has a personality disorder , and I am sure we will find out more about his mental problems
    On the other hand , there are so many completely harmless mentally ill people out there suffering from stereotyping , neglect , and shunned by society .

    There are ways to determine if patients are predisposed to violence , and I really think we need to look more closely at those markers , in people with diagnoses of thought disorders and personality disorders

    .. It is a well known and little publicized fact in the mental health community ; that if you don’t get to a sociopath by age 16 , there is little to no hope of ever turning them around , but even with sociopaths , predisposition to violence is a marker that has to be examined more closely .

    That is one thing we could do as a society and we should ; but to say that we could totally and completely prevent these kind of tragedies, as greatly and mightily we would wish to , is simply not possible. That doesn’t mean we should not try , because to prevent one , or decrease the fatalities of one , or many is a worthy goal.

  9. votermom says:

    So basically nothing the media reported yesterday was accurate? Mom was not a teacher at the school. 🙄

  10. tommy says:

    No problemo, leslie.

  11. myiq2xu (D) says:

  12. myiq2xu (D) says:

    Twitter is a vast wasteland today unless you want to discuss gun control.

  13. myiq2xu (D) says:

  14. leslie says:

    I just posted this at UW. I know it is long and I could probably shorten it, but I’m a wordy kinda person and I don’t know how to. This is related to the shootings yesterday as well as the conversations about guns, gun laws, mental illness, etc. It is more about what I know about – mental health care. I also replied to Chris Bowers (email) with this same exact message.
    I am finally getting a chance to write about the shootings yesterday. It is understandable that people are frightened by people with mental illness or mental health issues. There is so little understanding of mental health. I work with adults with chronic mental illnesses and have noticed that the majority of adults with mental illness are – when dangerous – most dangerous to themselves. A greater problem for adults with mental health issues is that funding for treatment, residential facilities, programs, treatment. etc has been eviscerated. This leaves the treatment and care for people with mental health issues to – often times – those very people who are suffering.
    Chicago – a city with millions of people and thousands (maybe even hundreds of thousands) of them with mental health issues – being stripped down to only – SIX community mental health centers.
    Why? because it is easier for city and state government to leave the issues for the family or the individual to manage. These, by the way, are most often the leastable to manage the thing that is tearing themselves and their loved ones apart.They have little information, no training, fewer resources, and no support from outside their small circle of people. (of course Chicago can now provide bike lanes for the thousands of cyclists – but no mental health support)
    If this is the case for Chicago, I can only imagine what it is like for small towns and insulated communities.
    MEDICARE has now determined that a patient is allowed only 4 medications to be covered – per month. It doesn’t matter whether the medication is necessary for the patient’s quality of life or for keeping the patient and the rest of us alive (safe from violent outbursts). It doesn’t matter that we have to spend HOURS on the phone every month justifying a prescription for even ONE necessary medication. (And that is multiplied for every patient we see who needs more than the allotted four). We will be able to blame Medicare and Medicaid for future massacres. But they will never admit this.
    I do not excuse the killings and the violence because of psychiatric illness. But I do understand that if a family is torn to shreds because parents have to give up their jobs to care for a family member who has no where to go and nothing to do because of skewed funding priorities, this kind of situation can happen. And it isn’t necessarily due to absent parents, or apathetic caregivers. It could be due to the apathy or ignorance of government funding agencies.
    The agencies I have worked for have had to practically prostitute themselves to obtain grants and funding from community governing bodies. One of them has closed down completely. In order to have a job – to justify my existence where I work – I have to submit daily productivity reports – to the minute. This has NOTHING to do with patient care.
    Sometimes we have had to turn away people with illness. Sometimes patients don’t show up for treatment. We cannot force adults into treatment. We cannot involve the police – until a crime has been committed – or until there is a threat of a crime. Even then, it is up to the individual police as to whether they respond. A couple of years ago, I had a patient who called me on the phone and said she had her ex-husband’s gun and she was going to use it on herself AFTER she used it on her son. I called the police who NEVER showed at her apartment. Two weeks ago, I had a phone call from someone who – in the middle of the night – left a message saying “Goodbye. This is all.” I called the police nine hours later when I finally heard the message. They responded. They chose to respond. It is random.
    I don’t have the answers. I wish I did. I do have many thoughts about the situations – here and throughout the nation.
    Sorry for the length of this diatribe. You may choose not to publish if. I understand. People may also choose not to read it or to disagree. I understand that as well.

    • mcnorman says:

      Our society has deemed mentally ill a PC problem imo. It is not. It is a real and serious issue. I worked in the field many decades ago. I also worked in a third world country and saw what they did with their mentally ill population. This is where we, as a nation need to be more honest and actually deal with what is happening. The gun did not shoot itself.

    • angienc (D) says:

      God bless you for the work you do Leslie.

  15. leslie says:

    Because I posted this by copying it to the comment section, the bolding did not appear. But what I did bold wa the number of community mental heath centers in Chicago SIX – 6 community mental health centers for the entire city of Chicago!. It is obscene.

    • swanspirit says:

      When I was working on a psych unit we had to call insurance companies, sometimes every day ; for pts who were admitted for suicide attempts and or assaultive behaviors and justify keeping the pt for tx Sometimes we would get approval for 1 day sometimes 3 days seldom more . For Medicare/ Medicaid pts , we had to fax our documentation on that pt every day by 1 PM ( so much for privacy or confidentiality ) to continue payment for that pt . Sometimes we even had time to treat and or work with pts , amazing !! I use to bitch moan and complain about never having taken insurance 101 in Nursing School , but we had to do it to make sure our pts were treated and not thrown out into the street .

      • leslie(D) says:

        And every day the Insurance requirements change so that we are fighting to stay in compliance with the agencies and industries who may – or may NOT – reimburse us for the care and treatment we provide to the adults who choose – or must – receive care to keep themselves and the rest of us safe. And I need to reiterate that MOST of the psychiatric patients I see and our hospital treats are not a danger to others. But when a person who is as ill as the most recent shooter, someone who may have a diagnosis such as autism, has no structure and when there ilittle understanding of the illness itself, we have minimal ability to predict what can happen. And that means we are unable to provide adequate care and adequate safety.
        This is a problem for society —— not simply for the families. We need funding for research and for care. There are too many who want this to be a burden for only the immediate family. Without knowledge we can do nothing.

  16. swanspirit says:

    So, why not , when a pt is admitted to a facility , or seen by a mental health care professional , do a predisposition for violence assessment ? and update these reports , and make them available to a list of people not allowed to buy guns . Yes some people will fall through the cracks , but more might not?

  17. Pingback: Simple Solutions Are For Simple Minds « The Crawdad Hole

  18. foxyladi14 says:

    If a person is bound to kill then they will find a way. 👿

  19. mcnorman says:

    You ask the most important question. This was an adult, not a child. There is so much legislation to protect these people now, and it is close to impossible to force anyone to take their meds unless they are institutionalized. We will never know what the voices said. It is however time to talk honestly about what we need to do to help the mentally ill.

    • mcnorman says:

      Adam could just as easily driven his mother’s car into a crowded area. He was Hell bent on killing. He knew because the only way that he could stop was to kill himself.

      • leslie(D) says:

        This is an unimaginable tragedy for every family affected by this horrific event. My son, a teacher, his wife, a school social worker, my daughter, an adult with a diagnosis of psychiatric illness, and I, a psychiatric social worker, have had conversations about the recent shootings. Killing himself may have been the shooter’s resolution to stop himself. It may also have been his solution to end the isolation and ostracization he had been experiencing throughout his very sad existence.
        I am not taking sides. This is simply tragic. I continue to try to understand in order to put an end to these tragedies.

        • lyn5 says:

          Thank you, Leslie, for helping us understand this tragedy and for helping people. Your comments are illuminating.

  20. Mrs. Smith says:

    Hate to tell you, but the leftist radicals want to legitimize the pedophiles, call them, ‘intergenerational’ or minor-orientation’ and they are lobbying the APA (psychological and psychiatric) groups to accomplish this. Next will be the ‘multiple’ oriented, those who are ‘oriented’ toward polygymy or les menages a’ trois or quatre, cinq, etc.

    Once the LBGT’s got the foot in the door, all manner of beastly ‘orientations’ (aka sexual disorders) including bestiality will, sooner or later, be allowed.

    Harvard has just now allowed a Sado-masochist club.

    • Mrs. Smith says:

      My point is that those who define what is crazy and who recommend and implement appropriate care are not good judges of the effects of their decisions on society and hence the lives of 26 innocent people in Connecticutt, 20 of whom were under the age of 6.

      But, when decisions by legislators, medical and mental health organizations and the church are based on political agenda pressure, not science, statistics, medicine and Scripture, facts and evidence, then horrible outcomes are to be expected.

  21. smile says:

    You brought in so many thoughts and points to consider in your post, myiq. It is very complex and needs a solution of some sort, not just because of the violence that we recently saw, but also because, as a society, we have a responsibility to assist the mentally ill in a manner that would be better than it is today.

    A mentally ill person probably is not “mentally all right” to make the decision to not take the meds, or to decide to live independently, or to expect to live like a mentally healthy person. Yet the vast spectrum of mental illnesses and the levels of severity is hard to quantify and assess, I would assume.

    Today it is expected that the home where the severely mentally ill person resides needs to function as the mental asylum, and this is certainly not the right solution either, because the home is occupied either by the mentally ill living independently or with their immediate family and none of them have sufficient mental health training, support, backup, etc.

    But gun control is so much easier to talk about and point fingers at – a quick band-aid that does not and will not correct the really cause of the violence.

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