The Major Share of Youth Disability Worldwide Psychiatric

As reported in The LA Times in a story with the heading, Young people’s disabilities due in large part to psychiatric disorders, study finds, the number 1 cause of disability among young people worldwide is reported to be “in the mind”, or with what could perhaps be more aptly called growing up disorder. (Some people even go so far as to call it “not growing up disorder”.)

For young people all over the world, the most prevalent causes of disability are in the mind. For youth, neuropsychiatric disorders including major depression and alcohol use comprise 45% of the disability burden among young people from 10 to 24 years old, according to a study published online Monday in the Lancet. That’s about four times as much as that caused by unintentional injuries (12%) and infectious and parasitic diseases (10%).

You have to do a little reading between the lines when it comes to arriving at any projected remedy to this rapidly escalating problem.

Young people’s health tends to be neglected when talking about global public health issues because they’re perceived as healthy, the authors point out. But catching problems earlier in life can improve longevity and quality of life over the long term.

Or not…

“Although risk factors and the lifestyles that young people adopt might not affect their health during this period, they can have a substantial effect in later life and can potentially affect the health of future generations,” the authors write. “For example, high patterns of physical activity that are adopted during youth and sustained thereafter are thought to have protective effects against the onset of cardiovascular diseases and Type 2 diabetes.”

Problem! The drugs most commonly used to treat so called “serious mental illness” can cause a metabolic syndrome that greatly increases the chance of developing a cariovascular disease and diabetes. A big danger here is that by blindly pursuing standard psychiatric practice the population of young mentally disabled people will increase rather than decline.

The article, Helping mentally ill go back to work a win for all, an opinion piece in The Australian about how the face of disability there is changing from elderly people suffering from musculoskeltal conditions to young people with psychiatric labels, concludes by pointing to more realistic solutions to this problem.

But as the number of people with psychological conditions on disability pensions increases, and the age profile of disability pensioners shifts, we will need to look at more fundamental ways to keep relatively young people with a disability off welfare and in the workforce.

I don’t know how it works in Australia, but in the USA disability benefits and welfare benefits are not synonymous. The idea is to get people off Social Security Disability Income benefits as well. Another snag in this outlook is that people are not supposed to receive SSDI unless they suffer from a permanent disability. We have perception and definitional confusions here that must be resolved before we can affect a reasonable solution to this shortcoming. A person who suffered from permanent disabilities would by definition be excluded from the workforce. This is a particularly trying problem as the social security bureaucracy expects people to prove disability in order to receive benefits. Getting off benefits is not a possibility allowed for by this bureaucracy. I suggest that we need to loosen our definitions in the interests of accurately accessing reality, and of reintegrating people back into the workforce, and back into the community at large.

For many people with mental illness, the disability pension as a one-way street with few requirements and little help to get back into the workforce is simply not good enough.

The exact same statement could be made about people with psychiatric labels and SSDI benefits in the USA. It is my fear that such financial dependence, as shown by the preceding article and study, is growing increasingly common on a global scale.

Prisoners of psychiatry: the first abused, the last defended

The very first sentence in an article in a recent issue of The Baltimore Sun, Many drugs in short supply at hospitals, pharmacies, runs as follows:

For a time this year, a psychiatric hospital run by the state of Maryland didn’t have enough injectable drugs for schizophrenia patients who refused to take pills.

What this article doesn’t tell you is that these drugs are dangerous. They can cause permanent brain damage, and they cause a metabolic syndrome that can cut short a life by many many years. I don’t think anybody should be forced to take such drugs who doesn’t want to do so. I don’t think people should be forced to imbibe alchohol or snort coke who don’t want to do so either.

I’d like to point out that this alarmist first sentence shows an astonishing lack of regard for the humanity of people imprisoned inside state mental hospitals. It is considered entirely acceptable to disregard their citizenship rights. It is considered entirely acceptable to physically assault them, and to drug them into a numb oblivion. Neither one of these precedures are acceptable in my book, and they never will be. Since when did the branch of what purports to be a medical science become grafted onto the trunk of the tree of police science!?

This sort of callousness points to the fact that prisoners in state mental hospitals DON’T have the right to choose what kind of treatment they receive. It points to the fact that they are 1. prisoners, and 2. forcibly treated. Imprisonment and coerced drugging are violations of one’s human and civil rights to freedom of movement, and to security of mind, body and person.

That such a sentence would serve as an introduction in an article of this sort indicates, to use a metaphor, just how steep a climb psychiatric survivor and mental health consumers have yet to summount before their citizenship rights are officially acknowledged, publicly recognized and fully restored.