What’s Gotten Into Them?

Glenn Close has a kooky sister, and so she’s going to pitch for better treatment of “the mentally ill”. She’s walking with the Namby Pamby folk trying to spread the word, be kind to your mixed up friends. Kooks are people, too, even if they are a little different, and they shouldn’t be expected to perform at the same level as the rest of us. Give them some leeway, and then give them some more leeway. Yeah.

Joey Pantoliano has found a new role talking about Joey Pantoliano and Joey Pantoliano’s struggles with depression, another “mental illness”. Joey Pantoliano adds glitz and glamour by bringing Joey Pantoliano’s Hollywood buddies in to play up the subject beside him. The message Joey Pantoliano would relay, if he could relay it, is that it’s cool and sexy to be “mentally ill”, just look at Joey Pantoliano.

Let’s hope Joey Pantoliano hasn’t got what Glenn Close’s sister has got.

Meanwhile, outside of Hollywood, psychiatric disability translates into a big burden the taxpayers are having to shoulder. Psychiatric disability is one of the most expensive health conditions we’ve got, and through public insurance programs, this is a bill that the taxpayer is footing. This burden is also growing bigger by the hour. There have been fears that the country will run out of social security before too long, and this segment of the population is one of the chief reasons why this is so.

The “mental illness” rate has been going up for years. It has risen most markedly since certain pharmaceutical products came on the market in the 1950s, and this growth has been spiraling out of control ever since. Undoubtedly this incline in the number of people labeled “mentally ill” in this country has something to do with the drugs these pharmaceutical companies have developed to contain this population. Some of these drugs used to treat “mental illness” have been known to cause even more health problems for the people taking them then they resolve. Selling drugs also involves the selling of disease.

Not only are there more “mentally ill”, but there are more “mental illnesses” for people to have caught. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, psychiatrist bible and field guide to “mental illnesses”, has expanded over time. The DSM I had categorized 106 “mental disorders”, the DSM II had 182 such disorders, the DSM III had 265 listed, the DSM III revised edition had 292, and the DSM IV has 297 “mental disorders”. The expectation is that the DSM V, set for publication in 2013 will have developed even more “mental disorders” to plague humanity with. It helps to keep in mind that this plethora of diseases is also, of course, the psychiatrist’s bread and butter.

Schools are screening children as young as 5 years old for “mental illness”. Mental health screening is notoriously unreliable. These tests have incredibly high false positive rates in the 90% range as a rule. If you screen for mental health, you’re going to raise the number of people labeled “mentally ill” in this country. The question that is not being asked here is how different is the person so labeled from any other human being. Is it possible some of these mental health professionals have made a mistake somewhere along the line? Labeling children “mentally ill” is not going to help them succeed in life.

Contributing to an epidemic in disease is not the best path for us as a nation, or even as individuals, to take. I don’t care if this organization or that says 1 in 4 people in this country are off their rockers or not. In many cases they are making a stark raving lunatic out of a simple case of the nerves. Anybody with half a brain, and that’s giving a lot of people a lot of credit, should be able to figure that one out. The idea should be to produce fewer rather than more “disturbed” people. This is an idea that just hasn’t registered with a lot of people yet. Well, let me drive it home until it finally does register.

People can and do recover from serious “mental illnesses”. The President’s New Freedom Commission Report said that. If people can and do recover, the “mental illness” rate can decline. If the “mental illness” rate rises at a rate substantially faster than the population increases, something other than heredity is involved in the rise; something environmental is contributing to this increase. If it can go up so dramatically, it can also go down. What we need to be looking at are ways to shrink the population of people labeled “mentally ill”. What we don’t need to be doing is expanding that population. There comes a time when a lack of foresight could have us looking at a problem that has gotten way out of hand.

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