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Non-Committal

by Sven Triloqvist Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 03:02:44 PM EST

Only 4 times in my life have I had to deal with the situation of someone I know well being committed to psychiatric care.


The first case was a film editor friend in the Swinging Sixties. In the commune we were living, noone had any idea what to do. But the situation became quite physically threatening, so we resolved to take him to Paddington Hospital. We decided on a subterfuge whereby we told him we were going to meet a mutual friend arriving at the airline terminal on Cromwell Road. He, surprisingly, agreed - we were expecting resistance.

It was clear that we were not driving to Cromwell Road, but no objections. When we arrived at Paddington Hospital. He asked if he would need a suitcase. We said no. And he then transformed Paddington Hospital into a city terminal - he wanted to be taken to `check-in', he addressed the nurse as if she was an airline representative, and before they took him from reception, he said "I'll see you when I get back". Sadly he never came back until long after I had left the UK.

The second case was a young Finnish girl artist in a radical art group called Revolutions On Request. There were clear indications of ongoing self-harm, and though I was not central to the decision, my view was that someone was going to get hurt without committal, or at least the help of professionals.

The 3rd case was a young family friend who I had long ago `diagnosed' as a coming alcoholic. He is the youngest of a large internationally known rich family of artists and brilliant, competitive conversationalists. The only way he could get attention was to perform even more bizarre party tricks, mostly with guitar and a foghorn voice. He was very, very funny, but it became a behavioural problem when, unable to be funny 24/7, alcohol became the prop, and later, dope.

When his mother asked, I explained my theory, but with the burden of having been involved in two previous committals, sough to reassure her, rather than recommend the action I thought was needed. Eventually he was committed. It took several years of lithium for him to slowly re-emerge. Now he is married, has just got a son, and has progressed far enough in AA to become a sponsor. He was brave and I was wrong. Earlier professional treatment might have caused less impact.

The 4th case began last night when I heard about a close friend being committed, by his family. I went to visit him today. He was behind locked doors.

He's been in LA for 10 years in movies. He's been peripheral, but deeply involved. His ex-wife was a script reader for a major studio. We've met over the decade, each year, as he returned to Finland for summer holidays. After a supposedly amicable divorce, he came back to Finland. We've talked though various projects, although we have never done anything together.

A few months ago though, adrift from the wife, LA and movies, he began to formulate a radical response to economic shenanigans. He created a new system called `Citizen'.

Citizen is an emphatic economic order where Competition, Cooperation, Charity and Civic Virtue are all incentivized in a single system of exchange. By forcing the consideration of every transaction from the counter party's point of view, the traders quickly learn to optimize both outcomes. It can be seen as a strategy game where talent combined with wise allocation always results in beauty and prosperity.

The concept, which only exists presently as a constitution and blueprint, is very interesting, but radical. If you do read the link, please don't comment on it directly here. It is unfinished.

What our patient has been doing for the last few months is to try to live according to this incomplete structure - using himself as a guinea pig. He's organized a couple of free street festivals and other stuff, successfully, according to the rules he set himself. I didn't think this was a career move, but I had full respect for the intentions.

But his mother, who has seen him, as I have, only on those summer trips, has now committed him. I met her for the first time at the hospital this afternoon.

There are two different things going on, and I've been carefully trying to put the case of that difference all day. One, he's definitely more manic than usual - even after medication (I tried to find out what). My guess is that shortage of money and a consuming passion for his new concept, have meant sleepless nights, poor diet and general debilitation. `Manic' is not that difficult to treat because it's a rejection of routine and familiarity - and John (as I'll call him) is adrift from 3 major components of his previous life (his routines) for the last decade. The medication is relatively non-toxic, and counselling can provide the routines necessary to stablilize a lifestyle.

The problem is that his `economic theories' (and practice) are perceived by the doctors (i.e. the one-sided story from the mother) as being `crazy'. So his `mad' theories and temporary mania are being conflated. I'm not sure what to do, but I'll probably write to his doctor. I spoke briefly to one doctor, and we agreed she would call me if she needed further background.

This is a strange situation. I see it is as something like a hard Christian parent (the mother) assuming that their son, an atheist, must therefore be a Satanist. The two things only have a connection in the hard Christian's perception. As the mother sat there stiff in her mink-lined coat and ashen face, it was clear that her son was a blasphemer in a world measured by possessions.

We are all (here at ET) crazy in some way. We are looking for solutions, and some of our friends offline don't get it. But we keep on looking. I prefer to call this heretical thinking. Calling it crazy can get someone else committed.

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the mother sat there stiff in her mink-lined coat and ashen face

When I first saw the TV adaptation of Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit and made out the stiff figure of Geraldine McEwan as the girl's mother in her coat and hat, I nearly had a heart attack, it was the image of my mother. Who was, in life, certainly not to be outdone in Christian madness by Jeanette Winterson's semi-fictional mother character.

Part of the problem is to know who's mad, or the maddest. But that is speculative compared to the power one can have over the other. It may come down to a question of brute force. I broke off with my mother when I was still young, and put a fair physical distance between us. I think that's how I preserved my sanity.

If you think your friend's committal is abusive, perhaps you can help him get free of it, but what he probably most needs is to get out from under his mother's thumb. Which of course you know, and no doubt measure how hard it is to bring about.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 03:57:23 PM EST
You're right. His financial difficulties had put him back with the family - not completely, but in any case, closer. The tangled undergrowth of family relationships is always hard to make progress through, even if benign on the surface. I have an older sister in Australasia with whom I have a fraught relationship. It's been on the wrong foot since we were kids and I've never known how to rebalance it.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 04:13:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can only offer that you be strong and clear as you can, and do what's within your decisions and power. All else...?

Aren't you going to all-inclusiveland very soon?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 05:35:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I will be away, but John has many friends. He called for help to one of my close colleagues first (a friend from school), and we then went to see him. My colleague will activate the rest of John's network.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 03:10:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't presume your relatives are your friends. You didn't pick them.

Society tells you that you must love them, but you know, society sometimes lies.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 06:33:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
to fly ideas that are too far ahead of the social curve, no matter how visionary and inspired, requires grounding in reality based thinking, or Bad Things Happen...

history is sadly replete with illuminating examples of this.

i also had to put a lot of space between myself and my family of origin to find the thread out of the labyrinth.

i feel for your friend, and wish you luck in somehow ameliorating his situation. tragic...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 08:26:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh this is so hard...hard to explain and understand.
I had some experiences in the family in past long behind...Where exactly is that tin line between madness and "healthy" rebellion?
Well I think it comes to finance nowadays at least...Not to finance as such because some people will always be short of money and will depend on others but to basic financing your life which means that you are working or are able to make money through any socially admired way. That means that you are functioning...socially. So you are not mad no matter how bizarre your behaving is. You'll be strange but not mad.
To be put in a mental hospital against your will I suppose that must be much more serious problems that occurred. But what do I know?
I have a daughter that is at 34 still overwhelmingly rebellious (well this goes in to the family and I was rebel as young person and still am in many of my views).We are fighting almost all the time all tho I try to take her as she is lately cause I lost power to fight with her. But she studied university (a little bit late in her late 20s) and was a very good student. Now she has finished studying and is working. I still do not agree with her life style (especially because she had young daughter) but there is not much to be done there...
What's socially acceptable? I do not see myself as conservative (maybe just old, ha-ha) but for my taste too much is acceptable nowadays. Maybe the best advice for sanity and good life would be "do not hurt yourself and do not hurt others"...But people do just that a lot through life...  


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Feb 3rd, 2011 at 09:13:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem is that any intervention has to be sustainable. If your friend is currently not capable of independent safe living then the question becomes what supports are available for him.  Misdiagnosis can be a problem mainly as it can lead to mis-treatment, but if the hospital can provide a safe environment to allow his own powers of self-recovery to kick in, it may not do much harm.  The main thing is that he has people (like you) who can understand him on his own terms, and who can act as an advocate and negotiator on his behalf with the powers that be. You could be his bridge to sustainable living, but do you have the time, presence and resources to commit that much?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 08:48:31 PM EST
This is the approach we decided on with 'John' after talking with him yesterday: That a) we friends 'outside' will provide evidence to the family and the doctors that John's concepts of a future fairer society are not crazy, although they may be highly utopian. b) that John tries not to argue these concepts with the doctors because it could make his situation worse (he's a guy who loves to argue) and c) he takes this opportunity to rest and recover. He has to come to terms with his divorce and leaving LA.

The Finnish law on committal is based on 3 medical assessments by different doctors (MI, MII, MIII). M1 can be by any physician, M2 must be by a psychiatric professional and assessment given within 4 days from committal. M3 can lead to an initial 3 month detention. So we are waiting on M2.

John's brother, who was against committal but did nothing to prevent his mother's action (possibly also a 'victim'), has now accepted that he has to stand up for his brother.

So I think John will get the outside support he needs. His work in setting up free festivals last year won him a lot of friends, and he is respected among a small circle of movie makers.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 03:05:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW There's an article in the Psychiatrist 'Involuntary admission in Ireland' that compares Finland and Ireland.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 03:14:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem in the USA is an almost total lack of ability to commitment except when laws, usually concerning illegal or illegally obtained drugs have been broken or alcohol has been abused. The result is that mental illness has led either to jail or to life on the street unless family can cope. And we have seen the consequences of that dilemma recently in Tuscon. What is the legal situation in Finland?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 09:50:33 PM EST
And were I referred to such a facility I have to wonder what they would make of my former sig line:

If sanity be culturally normative, by the norms of this society I claim insanity.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 09:52:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your friend may or may not find that amusing.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 09:52:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But that signature is precisely the point.

Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 09:55:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Conform or be committed!

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 11:35:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think this is true. Such matters are not just about conformity. There is non-normative behaviour that is "normal" while sometimes it speaks of a deeper problem that requires treatment. Doctors will look into the matter; a hospital isn't jail. And the mother doesn't have her hands in it any more. By having committed her son to medical authorities she expressed that she couldn't handle her son's difference which was honest and probably responsible of her.

Defending John's difference doesn't necessarily help him to find back his balance. It would be interesting to hear his ex-wife, too. Maybe those same problems also led to his divorce while the separation itself only aggravated symptoms.

 

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu Feb 3rd, 2011 at 12:31:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oddly enough - from the BBC:

A US federal judge has ruled that Texan billionaire Allen Stanford is unfit to stand trial at present over accusations he led a $7bn (£4.5bn) fraud scheme.

Mr Stanford is facing trial over allegations that he ran a pyramid scheme based in Antigua which defrauded investors.

He has pleaded not guilty to fraud, conspiracy and obstruction.

District Judge David Hittner ruled that Mr Stanford did not have the present mental capacity to assist his lawyers.

But he ordered Mr Stanford to undergo treatment at a US prison hospital for an addiction to an anti-anxiety medication, and also receive additional psychiatric testing.

"The court finds Stanford is incompetent to stand trial at this time based on his apparent impaired ability to rationally assist his attorneys in preparing his defence," Judge Hittner wrote in his ruling in Houston, Texas.

"The court's finding that Stanford is incompetent, however, does not alter the court's finding that Stanford is a flight risk and that no combination of conditions of pretrial release can reasonably assure his appearance at trial," he added.

The charges against Mr Stanford capped a rapid fall from grace for a man who had shot to prominence in the UK and the Caribbean for his lavish sponsorship of cricket.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Jan 26th, 2011 at 10:04:58 PM EST
There's a lot of that going around. A good number of the ex-masters of the universe, or soon to be ex-masters of the universe are probably in need of clinical help.

I'd argue they would probably have benefited from such help long ago, on the basis that anyone who does the things required to be a master of the universe is unbalanced to start with.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 06:39:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I seem to recall one Mr Ernest Saunders - the clinical marvel who demonstrated the only known recovery from the Alzheimer's which prevented his prosecution in the Guinness affair.....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 07:09:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was reminded of the same incident. The British equivalent of a bunch of good ole boys yukking it up. I believe he went on to have a lucrative career on the US same disgraced-business-leader speech circuit now infested by Anthony Charles Lynton Blair

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 08:24:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I dunno; there are so many definitions of sanity and so many more shades of "manageable" crazy.

It's very easy to maintain the binary view that people are crazy and get "sectioned" or they're sane and so aren't. But life ain't like that.

Under the Soviet regime anyone who refused to conform was mentally ill and needed treatment. Of course, that was different from Uncle Joe's solution but it was barbarism all the same.

another view might be that if you are not harming yourself or others then, so long as you have the self-medication of choice, be it alcohol or anti-depressants then so be it. But who measures harm ? And who is to decide that intervention may not create greater happiness and who measures that ? There are indeed depressed people who hate the cosh that keeps them sane, that keeps them from the blinding light that, in their view, makes everything else bearable and that, without that, there is no hope of happiness.

And there is my friend, who knows the Black Dog only too well; who came to fear its onset, would came to chart her friendships, her work, her every action in terms of how they kept it at bay, living her morbid twilight forever circling that patrolling sharp-clawed abyss. And even then, too often, she would succumb. Her cure was too end up in a relationship that was so fraught that she had no mental energy to focus internally. Drained by the misery of the real she had no energy to feed her phantoms. Her saying was "I'm too unhappy to be depressed". And as her friend, I was happy for her.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 08:54:05 AM EST
Also from the BBC:

People in managerial jobs drink more than their counterparts in manual jobs, official statistics show.

The annual Lifestyle Survey, published by the Office of National Statistics reflects the habits of UK adults in 2009.

Average weekly alcohol consumption for managers was 13.5 units, compared with 10.7 units in those in manual jobs.

The survey also showed that the number of alcohol-related deaths has fallen slightly.

The current recommendations for daily alcohol intake are that it should not regularly exceed three to four units for men and two to three units for women.

However, the survey reveals that amongst managers, 41% of men and 35% of women exceeded these recommendations, on at least one day in the week before they took part in the survey.

Our definitions of mental health are entirely behavioural - i.e. the ability to hold down a job (if there is one), have relationships, and not say odd things about mind probes and TV aliens from the sofa.

They don't take into account the possibility that capitalist work-ethic culture is inherently bonkers and delusional itself, and that while many people cope, not many people thrive or live up to their creative or personal potential.

At the very least "work never killed anyone" is a lie, given the impressively large number of people who die from stress-related illnesses every year - never mind those who are damaged by the environmental and cultural fall-out of corporate insanity.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 09:44:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
Our definitions of mental health are entirely behavioural - i.e. the ability to hold down a job (if there is one), have relationships, and not say odd things about mind probes and TV aliens from the sofa.
The fact that one of the diagnostic criteria for "disorders" is "suffering distress" lends credence to the view that many "mental disorders" are social. That is, if the social environment is such that the "subject" doesn't experience distress, it's not a "disorder". Then, whose problem is it, the "subject" or society's for not being accommodating?

Example:

Autism Spectrum Quotient - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

although the test is popularly used for self-diagnosis of Asperger syndrome, the authors caution that it is not intended to be diagnostic, and advise that anyone who obtains a high score and is suffering some distress should seek professional medical advice before jumping to any conclusions.

...

Of the students who scored 32 or more on the test, eleven agreed to be interviewed and seven of these were reported to meet the DSM-IV criteria for Asperger syndrome, although no formal diagnosis was made as they were not suffering any distress.

(My emphasis)

So mental illness is to a lerge extent social. In the social environment of his mother, Sven's friend will suffer distress and cause it on others. You can call it mental illness or not, but the fact remains that a different social environment would go a long way towards removing the distress.

Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 09:54:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a scale with behaviour that's obviously dangerous and psychotic at one extreme - shooting random politicians, believing you're the CIA Jesus of the lizard people - at one extreme, and various unpleasant but relatively trivial social anxieties at the other.

The problem is that psychology is individual, and there's no political or economic equivalent of DSM criteria for cultures as a whole.

Nazi Germany was clearly psychotic as a culture. So was Mao's China. So was Bush's America. So is Wall St.

But without some formal benchmarks for cultural behaviour, patterns of cultural dysfunction become lost in thousands or millions of individual cases, and various forms of acting out that are - bizarrely - considered normal politics.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 10:12:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose the prevalence of psychological "disorders" diagnosed on the basis of "distress" might be such a benchmark. How many "maladapted" "malcontents" or "misfits" does the society create?

Not so long ago, when Western culture was a lot more misogynistic than it is today, women would be diagnosed with "Female hysteria", and one of the symptoms was

... "a tendency to cause trouble".

...

A physician in 1859 claimed that a quarter of all women suffered from hysteria. One physician cataloged 75 pages of possible symptoms of hysteria and called the list incomplete;[2] almost any ailment could fit the diagnosis. Physicians thought that the stresses associated with modern life caused civilized women to be both more susceptible to nervous disorders and to develop faulty reproductive tracts.[3] In America, such disorders in women reaffirmed that the United States was on par with Europe; one American physician expressed pleasure that the country was "catching up" to Europe in the prevalence of hysteria.[2]

(my emphasis)

Was the 1960's counterculture, evidence of systemic cultural dysfunction?

Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 11:52:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or worse.

Walter Jackson Freeman.

Freeman performed nearly 2500 lobotomies in 23 states[3], mostly based on scanty and flimsy evidence for its scientific basis[4][5], but more significantly he popularized the lobotomy. A neurologist without surgical training, he initially worked with several surgeons, including James W. Watts. In 1936, he and Watts became the first American doctors to perform prefrontal lobotomy (by craniotomy in an operating room).

Seeking a faster and less invasive way to perform the procedure, Freeman adopted Amarro Fiamberti's transorbital lobotomy and began to perfect it, initially by using ice picks hammered into each frontal lobe through the back of each eye socket ("ice pick lobotomy"). Freeman was able to perform these very quickly, outside of an operating room, and without a surgeon. For his first transorbital lobotomies, Freeman used an actual icepick from his kitchen. Later, he utilized an instrument created specifically for the operation called a leucotome. In 1948 Freeman developed a new technique which involved wrenching the leucotome in an upstroke after the initial insertion. This procedure placed great strain on the instrument and in one case resulted in the leucotome breaking off in the patient's skull. As a result, Freeman designed a new, stronger instrument, the orbitoclast.

Freeman embarked on a national campaign in his van which he called his "lobotomobile" to demonstrate the procedure to doctors working at state-run institutions; Freeman would show off by icepicking both of a patient's eyesockets at one time - one with each hand.[5] According to some, institutional care was hampered by lack of effective treatments and extreme overcrowding, and Freeman saw the transorbital lobotomy as an expedient tool to get large populations out of treatment and back into private life.

The "ice pick lobotomy" was, according to Ole Enersen, performed by Freeman "with a recklessness bordering on lunacy, touring the country like a travelling evangelist. In most cases," Enersen continued, "this procedure was nothing more than a gross and unwarranted mutilation carried out by a self righteous zealot."[6]

Freeman's most notorious operation was on the ill-fated Rosemary Kennedy, who was permanently incapacitated by a lobotomy at age 23. Another of his patients, Howard Dully, has now written a book called My Lobotomy about his experiences with Freeman and his long recovery after the surgery he underwent at 12 years old.[7]

Who's bonkers now? But then:

Anti-psychiatry.

Laing, Cooper, Theodore Lidz, Silvano Arieti and others went on to argue that schizophrenia could be understood as an injury to the inner self inflicted by psychologically invasive "schizophrenogenic" parents, or as a healthy attempt to cope with a sick society. Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz argues that "mental illness" is an inherently incoherent combination of a medical and a psychological concept, but popular because it legitimizes the use of psychiatric force to control and limit deviance from societal norms.

Adherents of this view referred to "the myth of mental illness" after Szasz's controversial book of that name. (Even though the movement originally described as anti-psychiatry became associated with the general counter-culture movement of the 1960s, Szasz, Lidz and Arieti never became involved in that movement.) Michel Foucault, Erving Goffman, Deleuze and Guattari, and others criticized the power and role of psychiatry in society, including the use of "total institutions", "labeling" and stigmatizing.[25]

I think it's a little glib to say that all mental illness is social. But it's equally simplistic to pretend that you can take individuals out of their personal contexts, and assume that any "distress" is remote from their circumstances.

I'll just repeat what I said earlier - we have a psychiatry of the individual, and we have the beginnings of a much less developed psychiatry of the family. But we don't have a psychiatry of corporations, of social institutions, of belief systems, or of policy.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 12:25:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is particularly bad:

Uxbridge father pleads for autistic son to be set free from care - Communities - Uxbridge

"As he does not like being there, he gets agitated and anxious, and has reported aggressive behaviour.

"Being forced into a situation he does not like, finds difficult to understand and gets upset about means he can react to the situation and this gets used as evidence against him.

"Prior to going to the treatment unit Steven had quite a good life, content with his routines and daily activities. Of course he gets anxious at times- that's autism."

...

Brian Doughty, interim director of adult social care health and housing said: "Our Positive Behavioural Support Unit is a residential setting for people who need assistance in managing their own behaviour.

"Although we cannot comment on individual cases, the council takes the decision to refer people to these units very seriously and people are only referred if they are displaying behaviour which is believed to be detrimental to themselves or others.

"We appreciate that these decisions can be very difficult for families, but in all cases the council works closely with them to discuss what is best for individuals so that we can adapt the services accordingly."



Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 12:33:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
jeez, that gives me the shivers

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 01:06:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
psychological "disorders" diagnosed on the basis of "distress"...

..are a major weakness of the DSM. The institutional need to have an appropriate category for every presentable condition is bad enough. Add to that the fact that a negative diagnosis is a revenue killer and there is clearly room for abuse. Were treatment for "mental illness" remunerated at the same rate as treatment for physical illness the only limit might be the number of psychiatrists. :-)

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 01:24:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The political sanity of the USA is degenerating rapidly and that encourages the crazies who seem to be a significant proportion of the Republican party.

I fear for the USA right now, it's got serious problems but there's no adult supervision

 

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 01:09:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. And a circle of real friends capable of discussing any and all issues openly is, imo, an important protection against 'distress'. And still better if these friends are neither everyday work colleagues or family (who may have other agendas).

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 10:29:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You can call it mental illness or not, but the fact remains that a different social environment would go a long way towards removing the distress.

Which is exactly what Sven's friend is advocating. But to one who is the beneficiary of an oppressive social environment, this will seem crazy.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 01:14:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would also be interesting to know whether this is really just about "John's" karma-based society. I assume that the mother just used this to illustrate her own desperation with her son.

I don't think any "sane" person who explores funny ideas will be kept in any facilty without any other elements justifying the space that he's taking. If John needs help because his problem is more serious since he's seriously losing touch of "reality", then it will be good for him to find assistance. He may be even grateful for it. "Assistance" could consist of medication but more importantly of therepeutic sessions adapted to his specific problem, or he may be directed to self-help groups. There's always an interest there to put the patient back in charge of her own life asap, if possible.

To me it appears a bit immature to blame the mother and declare John "not mad".

"Mad" in any case speaks of some psychological imbalance. The world is full of those, true. But we all look for balance even if imbalance is an option and society is fairly tolerant of it.

 

by Lily (put - lilyalmond - here <a> yahaah.france) on Thu Feb 3rd, 2011 at 12:46:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Creative/personal potential is key, imo. Any society is insane if it eradicates rather than builds on the creativity that most young children express.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 10:35:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They don't take into account the possibility that capitalist work-ethic culture is inherently bonkers and delusional itself, and that while many people cope, not many people thrive or live up to their creative or personal potential.

It has been touched upon in psychology-psychiatry by Sigmund Freud in Civilization and Its Discontents and in sociology by Max Weber via his metaphor of "the iron cage" into which bureaucracy placed citizens.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 01:09:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I  had a good friend who was rather a severe psychiatric nurse, and his one piece of advice was "If you think your family are going to try to commit you, go and commit yourself first". If you commit yourself then you can discharge yourself. If however through a relatives intercession you have been comitted in effect by the state, then you cant leave without the medical authorities permission

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 12:19:17 PM EST
We are all (here at ET) crazy in some way.

Wait a minute there, cowboy. Does that include me? I haven't even begun to unpack my crazy.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Jan 27th, 2011 at 04:55:54 PM EST


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