The Evolution Revolution

Forced treatment is the big secret in the mental health “care” world today. Once upon a time, not that long ago, there was only one form of mental health treatment available, and that was it.

The American Psychiatric Association in fact grew out of the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutes for the Insane. Where once you had the heads of what were then called Lunatic Asylums, now you have an association of professional pill pushers.

The big lie is that the pills they are pushing, and whose usage they are promulgating, are good for people, and not people in general, but specific people. People diagnosed with a “mental disorder”. This diagnosis is thought to make the people who have been given one somehow different from the general run of humanity and, therefore, in need of the fix that comes with a drug.

The truth is that mental health treatment is about social control. We have this law that permits confinement of anybody acting oddly on the grounds that they may cause harm to themselves or others. It would be a serious mistake, albeit a common one, to assume that people are held in psychiatric institutions because they are dangerous.

People in mental hospitals are not there because they were given a trial by jury. Usually they are there because they were given a hearing by judge, attorney, and psychiatrist in which judicial opinion subordinates itself to the whims of professional bias and procedural habit. Mental health commitment hearings, in other words, in the present day and age, are little more than kangaroo courts.

Drugs can’t fix people. Drugs can damage people. Drugs can’t straighten out faulty logic. Education can teach logical deduction. Drugs can’t supply insight. Drugs generally mask a problem rather than correct it. Masking a problem is not dealing with it, and coming  up with a solution to it.

Waiving independence in order to be treated by the mental health authorities, usually as a charity case, is not the best course of action to take as a rule. Doing so often involves forfeiting rights we think of as basic to our species. This revelation may take time to register and resonate, but it should come in time.

Yes, Virginia, there is life beyond the confines of the Mental Health clinic. One is not bound to the human services system the way a rat can be restricted to its track through a maze.  The thing is that that system shares many similarities with a rat maze. If it didn’t, researchers wouldn’t be studying rats with the idea of better understanding human behavior. I would strongly suggest that if success in the world is at all important to you, you should abandon the maze.

The irony found in the heading of this post comes with the realization that more complex organisms evolved from less complex organisms. The butterfly in a display frame is not a butterfly in flight. Our capacity expands to the extent that we learn to escape those boxes that other people would try to contain us within. Quite apart from biological limitations, and barring extreme circumstances, we have minds that allow us this advance and that departure.

Pre-psychosis In The News

Attenuated psychosis syndrome, alternately called psychosis risk syndrome, pre-psychosis and prodromal disorder is going into section 3 of the DSM-5. This is the section for disorder labels that need more review, and which will not be reimbursable. The bad news is that it is in the DSM at all, and being in the DSM, it’s going to be considered as a disorder. The good news is that it is not an “official” disorder label, insurance companies are under no obligation to pay for it, and so its not likely to explode into an epidemic next year.

Researchers, it seems, much less fastidious than DSM revisers, are intent in studying people afflicted with this fictitious and elusive label. The latest rage in pseudo-scientific discoveries concerns this nebulous early stage in the development of psychosis. An article in the Detroit Free Press, Schizophrenia may give early warning signs, is typical.

Researchers in Chapel Hill looked at brain scans of 42 children, some as young as 9, who had close relatives with schizophrenia. They saw that many of the children already had areas of the brain that were “hyper-activated” in response to emotional stimulation and tasks that required decision-making, said Aysenil Belger, associate professor of psychiatry at the UNC School of Medicine and lead author of the study.

Now whether psychiatrized families actually think differently from non-psychiatrized families is anyone’s guess, and it could always be the topic for additional research should anybody choose to go there.

People who have a parent or sibling with schizophrenia are about 10 times more likely to develop the disease than those who do not. Signs of the illness typically begin in the late teens to mid-20s. These include declines in memory, intelligence and other brain functions that indicate a weakening in the brain’s processing abilities. More advanced symptoms may include paranoid beliefs and hallucinations.

Perhaps this sounds like an astonishing figure until you realize that it actually means 1 in 10 people rather than 1 in 100 people.  This is to say that among the 1 in 100 people that get described as psychotic, 1 in 10 of their closest relatives could also be so described. Unlike in the rest of the world where the rate stays more or less at 1 %. 1 in 10 means that chances are, if you are in a family haunted by the phenomenon of psychosis in one of its members, 9 out of 10 of it’s members most probably wouldn’t be described as psychotic anyway.

“Of all the people who seem to have compromised circuitry in their brain, if we come back and image them in later years, some may be moving toward the cluster of symptoms for schizophrenia while others may have other types of deficits,” such as bipolar disorder or attention deficit disorder, Belger said.

The article goes on to add, “Still others may avoid serious disorders altogether”, but the damage has been done. If you were an agent of the inquisition, let’s say, looking for witches, you are not going to be questioning the existence of witches. If you want to find fault in anyone, or anything, no problem. Just conduct a fault finding mission. If you are out to praise those people, well, hunting for future “mental illnesses” is just not the way to do so.

I think these researchers have better things to be doing with their time. We really have a problem when the DSM starts predicting disorders in people.  Ignoring any fork in the pathway that may lead to dysfunction, from functionality, is a major shortcoming, I would imagine. Ditto, in the case of paths that lead to folly from reason and wisdom. You are postulating that mental and emotional disturbances are a matter of predestination, and I imagine such leaps of faith belong in the realm of superstition rather than in the realm of scientific inquiry and skepticism.

This doesn’t mean that pre-psychosis isn’t going to make it’s way as a reimbursable disorder in a future edition of the DSM. I imagine, if things continue going the way they are going, it will. There is a lot of nonsense in the DSM. I would say maybe 100 % of the DSM is sheer nonsense. All the same, quite literally, even a listing as a category for diagnosis won’t make future psychosis a real disorder in present time.

The Current Crop Of Whoppers On Capitol Hill

The vote on a bill to restrict the Second Amendment rights of people in America is described as still “too close to call”. The story, as reported in FloridaToday.com, goes under the heading, Background check plan needs GOP.

Words, words, words–it all becomes a blur, especially when so many of those words are just plain lies.

The plan would “strengthen the background check system without in any way infringing on Second Amendment rights,” Maine Sen. Susan Collins said in a statement explaining her support for the measure. But she added that “it is impossible to predict at this point” what will be in a final bill.

Excuse me, Senator Collins. If you are going to enter the names of people, many of whom are citizens, who AREN’T criminals, into a criminal background check system, for the express reason of denying them their Second Amendment rights, you CANNOT do so without infringing on Second Amendment rights.

Do I need to repeat myself!?

These background check measures that may be pushed through congress are unconstitutional so long as we have a bill of rights, but this is hardly the first time we’ve had unconstitutional laws on the books. If I remember correctly there was once this remedy to the mixing of the races called Jim Crow for the longest kind of time in the southern states of the USA.

The measure requires background checks for people buying guns at gun shows and online. Background checks currently apply only to transactions handled by the country’s 55,000 licensed gun dealers. Private transactions, such as a sale of a gun between family members, would still be exempt.

Thus, family members will still be able to sell arms to ex-felons, illegal aliens, spousal abusers, mental patients, and other errant human beings, and all is hunky dory. It is just licensed gun dealers who won’t be able to make such sales.

[Senator Joe] Manchin urged lawmakers to read the 49-page proposal. He said it should dispel any misconceptions about infringing on the constitutional right to bear arms.

I’m sorry. It will take more than a 49-page booklet to convince me that legislation enacted expressly for the purpose of infringing on the constitutional right of American citizens to bear arms is not legislation infringing on the constitutional right of American citizens to bear arms. When you diminish the citizenship of a segment of the population by subtracting this right or that, usually we have to call this subtracting, or restriction if you will, an infringement.

This attack on civil liberties and civil rights is plowing ahead full stream. It has been in effect, through unevenly enforced, since the insanity defense was used to condemn and excuse John Hinkley for shooting President Reagan. Blast the insanity defense! Incarceration should be about punishment, and not about therapeutic rehabilitation, regardless of the criminal’s mental state at the time of the commission of the crime. “Mental illness”, that ‘will o’the wisp’ of consensus reality, should not be an used to excuse people from punishment for criminal activities and, likewise, ill health should not be used as an excuse to imprison people.

The Great Need For Systemic Change In Mental Health Care

Failure and success are manufactured by people. This is part of the problem with the mental health system. On the one side you have the success stories, these are the people described as mental health providers. They make a considerable amount of money, live in enviable conditions, and support lifestyles to match. On the other side you have the failure stories, these are the people described as mental patients or mental health consumers. They tend to be chronically un or under employed, live in conditions of squalor, and seem to be doomed to repetitive cycles of failure that come of lamentable and impoverished circumstances.

Somehow advantage and privilege are built into a system that doesn’t serve it’s recipients so much. Instead you’ve got a self-perpetuating public service system that serves it’s service providers while crippling and impoverishing it’s service recipients. One career option, mental health professional, determines the role of the other, mental patient or mental health consumer. Trouble is the first, middle, and last name of the service recipient while the service providers official name is Help. The service provider is there to Help with the person in Trouble, the recipient, and the process continues. Should Trouble ever find an acceptable role in life Help is out of luck and out of a job.

Given that the provider’s lot is substantially above that of the recipient as a rule, this maintenance of Trouble is not such a tall order. The provider is paid to fail the recipient in his or her endeavors. The provider is essentially in the superior, more predatory, role and position. To draw a parallel from the animal kingdom, you always need more prey in relation to predators and, likewise, recipients must outnumber providers because the provider draws his or her sustenance from the recipients. Were the recipient not in a weaker position, the provider would not be in a stronger position vis-a-vis the recipient. Of course, this structural arrangement requires much collaboration from the community at large in order to persist.

Obviously if we haven’t got a sickness in the first place this isn’t about finding a cure. The cure to a bad situation is a better situation. Problem: if this be the case, you can’t cure the recipient without sickening the provider. When we’re dealing with essentially the lost causes of the survival game, no problem. The provider’s role is to survive by perpetuating the lost cause mythology of the recipient. The recipient’s role is to be the lost cause that supports the provider’s continued existence. Survival is more important to the providers than it is to the recipients in that the recipient’s role is fundamentally not to survive, but rather to be victimized. We don’t have an interdependence of equals, instead we have the relative independence and interdependence of superiors based upon the dependence of inferiors.

There is no way to label and treat people without making these more or less arbitrary value judgments regarding the relative merit of human beings. A wannabe is not a star attraction, but both wannabes and star attractions  are interchangeable. It is the audience that makes the wannabe a wannabe and the star a star, or further, the wannabe a star and the star a has-been. We’ve got more than enough overblown mediocre talents who make megabucks to go around. There is a world of worth beyond the dependency system that I have been critiquing that needs to be mined. This is a matter of rather than expanding mental health care services unto perpetuity, of contracting them. This is a matter of  creating a door crack  into the world at large rather than warehousing certain individuals in the world’s invalidated parenthetical doppelganger, that is, in a would be rehabilitation zone that rehabilitates no one.

The system needs changing. The system needs to lead to that which is not system. A self-perpetuating system of facility and debilitation is what we don’t need. While this system has been very good at convincing recipients of their debility,  it has been very bad at convincing them of their ability. This is because the recipients are not the only people in this system that need treating. The privilege and authority of the providers needs treating as well. They are all too often “sick” with their own sense of self-worth and power.  This conceit has blinded them to the assets of their clients. The providers need another role besides that of benevolent paternalistic dictator. The recipients need another role besides that of victim. The other side of the recipient’s misfortune is the provider’s fortune.  They just aren’t sharing enough of it yet, and this situation needs to change if some people are ever to achieve a better station in life.

Civil Rights Under Seige

If you thought former President George W. Bush, who wanted to screen every man, woman, and child of us for “mental illness” was bad, President Barack O’bama has climbed onto the same band wagon. President Obama essentially wants to turn our entire public education system into a mental health police state.

According to a report in the Bangor Daily News on the subject, White House wants $235 million for mental health programs.

President Barack Obama’s budget proposal will include $235 million in funding for new mental health programs focused on initiatives to help schools detect early warning signs and train thousands of new mental health professionals, an administration official said.

Alright that sounds benign enough, but just keep reading.

The new budget plan will propose $130 million for programs that train teachers and other adults to help recognize the early signs of mental illness in students. That includes $55 million for a new program called Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education), which will give states and local school districts grants to administer such programs, while also collecting data on how well they work.

I’ve got nothing against ‘wellness’ nor ‘resilience’, I just have many reservations about whether that’s what we’re going to get out of these programs or not. On the other hand, training people to recognize signs of “mental illness” can be very questionable, especially when one of those early signs is being under the age of 18.

Another $50 million would go toward training master’s-level mental health specialists, such as psychologists, nurses and counselors, who work in schools. The idea is to expand the mental health workforce to prepare for the demands of millions of Americans who will gain health insurance coverage next year under the Affordable Care Act.

The “mental illness” labeling rate has been skyrocketing for years. Imagine the present “mental illness” labeling rate. Imagine that rate going up even further. It’s got to be extremely difficult to sell insurance plans, treatment options, and anti-“stigma” campaigns, without also selling the “diseases” that go along with them.

The consequences of this “mental illness” selling platform doesn’t concern the President very much as, following the Newton Connecticut tragedy, making scapegoats of people in the mental health system rather than achieving any real gun control legislation is one way for him to give the appearance that he’s doing something about the problem of gunmen in schoolyards. I’m afraid it is going to be causative in so far as increased “mental illness” labeling is concerned, and I’m also afraid that it’s not going to be preventative when it comes to massive acts of violence.

Sooner or later, later apparently, it’s going to come around to acknowledging that these citizens who have had their citizenship rights taken away from them are still citizens. Then comes the revelation, now that we’ve got two unequal castes of citizens, how do we refer to them? Dividing people into sick and well no longer works as what we’ve actually got is a legal distinction rather than a medical one. Sick people get well. Lower class citizens get lower wages, if they get wages at all, substandard living conditions, and the distinction of being deprived of their constitutionally guaranteed rights.

Ending Discrimination By Ending Forced Mental Health Mistreatment

A view point peddled in the “mental health” literature current today states that often people who are thought to need mental health treatment are reluctant to seek mental health treatment because of some “stigma” or other attached to that treatment. This view neglects to consider that many people, regardless of need, who don’t want any mental health treatment whatsoever are being treated by force and entirely against their will and wishes. In fact, before voluntary treatment became as acceptable and popular as it is today, most people who received mental health treatment received that mental health treatment against their will and wishes.

Now any reasonable adult should realize why receiving unwanted medical treatment would be a problem for anybody receiving that unwanted medical treatment. What’s more, any reasonable adult should realize why a person receiving unwanted treatment should be outraged at receiving a bill for that unsought and unwelcome treatment. When the treatment received was also restrictive, harmful, and fundamentally unhelpful, all the more so. There is certainly more than “stigma”, whatever that word could be eluding to, involved in this process of imposing treatment on people who have no desire to be treated whatsoever.

Much of the mental health treatment regime confronting the unwilling participant is directed at convincing the prisoner that he or she is “sick” and, therefore, in need of confinement, and whatever excuse for “treatment” comes with that confinement. The prisoner who doesn’t admit to being “sick” is seen as “sicker” than the prisoner who confesses a “sickness”. Such a prisoner would be considered by staff then further from discharge than the prisoner who confessed to having an “illness”.  Given intimidation, the prisoner learns to do what the warders expect of him or her, or the prisoner doesn’t leave his or her prison called a hospital.

I think we have to think long and hard before depriving people of those rights said to belong to them by virtue of their species. The bill of rights to the US constitution, contains legal protections based on natural rights, and the derivation of human rights from those rights thought natural. Deprivation of the rights protected by the bill of rights is the hall mark of a lower class of citizenship than that of the average citizen. It is, in fact, the license for a more bestial type of arrangement. This bestial relationship is not a relationship of equals. It is the relationship of a group of people who have been granted more rights to a group of people who have been granted fewer rights.

Time in a psychiatric institute, following recent violence blamed on people with troubled lives, more and more, is likely to get a person on a criminal background check list.  This listing means two things. The person on this list is outlawed from purchasing a firearm legally, and the person’s name will come up as a potential suspect any time a violent crime is committed in his or her area. This list, in itself, is prejudicial and completely uncalled for. People who have done time in psychiatric institutes are, by and large, innocent, not only of violent crime, but of any crime. Criminalizing people in mental institutions is not likely to lessen the violent crime rate one iota. If anything, it might actually raise that violent crime rate substantially.

The way to eliminate so many negative associations connected with mental health treatment is to abolish forced mental health treatment. Force in mental health is the thing that permits the rationalization of all sorts of negative responses to people because of the psychiatric labels that they have received. The only way to abolish forced mental health treatment is to repeal mental health laws. When all mental health treatment is voluntary mental health treatment, prejudicial and discriminatory practices will be reduced correspondingly. Forced treatment is the biggest discriminatory and prejudicial obstacle to compassionate and caring understanding of these, no, not mental patients, but human beings that we presently have. It’s time we owned up to the challenge. End forced mental health treatment, and we also restore to them many of the civil rights that we just took away from them.

Obviously a long and hard civil rights struggle is ahead for people who have experienced the mental health system. This struggle is a struggle to be treated as an equal among equals. No self-serving leadership elite can win that struggle for everybody impacted by oppression within the mental health system. Self-serving leadership elites are exclusive clubs like, to give a parallel example, officers’ clubs. In this sense the mental health system itself must do it’s own part, at least as far as a good part of it is concerned, to self-destruct. If it is to do this, it will need the help of newly emergent leaders rising out of the rank and file at the grassroots level. We know what happens where elites develop. The next thing you know you have an establishment, and an establishment that is most intent on tending it’s own.  What amounts to a “mental illness” system actually needs a self-destructive element within it if we are ever to arrive at the goal of maximizing mental health for all.