The Myth of The Jail and Prison Treatment Facility

One Deinstitutionalization Is Not Two Deinstitutionalizations

Much bad ink has been spilled over calling the nation’s jails and prisons mental health facilities because of the number of people within their walls who have also been given psychiatric labels. The latest report along these lines claims there are something like 10xs more mental patients who reside in criminal justice facilities than in state hospitals. These numbers come from a study conducted by the Treatment Advocacy Center, the USA’s number one lobbyist for more forced psychiatric drugging, and the National Sheriffs Association. The culprit in this debacle is said to be deinstitutionalization.

Let me start off by saying people don’t go to jails and prisons because they are sick and because they wish to receive medical attention. People are sent to jails and prisons by the courts to receive punishments because they broke the law of the land. Second, state hospitals have traditionally been psychiatric jails and prisons. Merely trading this kind of prison for the other kind of prison doesn’t make a hospital in actual fact. I would say that, given the prison overcrowding problem that comes of three strikes laws, America has grown increasingly intolerant of difference, and law crazy itself. If your way of dealing with bizarre behavior is to outlaw it, your jails and prisons are going to fill with people behaving bizarrely. Bizarre behavior may be a crime, but it is only a disease by a wild stretch of the overactive imagination.

Statistics tell us their own story. For statistics, before we look at those coming from the recent study, let me refer to the Preface of the 2006 book crazy authored by journalist Pete Earley. Earley is another apostle of this blame deinstitutionalization religion. According to Earley, in 1955, there were 560,000 people in state mental hospitals. He speculates not about the numbers of people who might have been referred to as “mentally ill” in prison or jail at that time. Between 1955 and the year 2000, the population jumped from 166 million people to 276 million people. Given this population increase, and no change, the numbers of people in state mental hospitals would have been something like 930,000. Earley gives the present number of people, from maybe a 2002 or thereabouts survey, with “mental illnesses” in jails and prisons at 300,000. He gives the present number in state mental hospitals at 55,000.

Hmmm. Something peculiar is going on here. 500,000 people are unaccounted for. These are the people who, with the population increase figured in, would be in the state mental hospital system if we were still doing business the way we had in 1955. 500,000 people is more than half the number of people we are dealing with in the stats for a later year. You add 55,000 to 300,000 and you are still lacking 205,000 people from the 1955 figure. This is not the kind of figure that supports the contention that deinstitutionalization was a mistake, or that it was a disastrous failure. Instead it would seem to indicate that more and more people described as “mentally ill”, if not fully recovering, are being better integrated into the communities from which they came. This is a coup for least restrictive care, and least restrictive care is something that nobody receives as a prisoner on the locked ward of a state mental hospital.

According to the TAC and NSA research, there are 35,000 people in state hospitals, a 2012 stat, and 356,000 in jails and prison. Wow. We’ve got 20,000 fewer people, referencing the Earley stats, in state mental hospitals than we had 10 or so years earlier! If we’ve got more in jails and prison, too, part of that increase can be explained by population increase. What Earley gave us was something of an estimation based on statistics anyway, but we’re still minus a great number of people who would be “hospitalized” in the year 1955. All in all, I’d call deinstitutionalization a major success story. We’ve still got a lot of people in jails and prisons, given stiffer sentences and overcrowding, who don’t need to be there. One deinstitutionalization success story doesn’t justify an increased amount of institutionalization for another sort of institution.

Blaming violence on “mental illness” is the latest media and political trend. I’d like to remind people that the court of public opinion is not a court of law. We have a supply of the kind of acts, in the present climate, that the media circus demands. Should we look at the number of violent acts committed by people with no experience in the mental health treatment system, I’m sure that those crimes are not decreasing dramatically in number either. Violence is not a symptom of any “mental disorder” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). When it comes down to it, death is much more likely to be a result of gun fire than it is to be a result of any psychiatric diagnostic label in a mental health professional’s repertoire. I suggest that we will have more success with the problem if we deal with the causes, and I don’t see “illness”, physical nor mental, as one of the primary causes. I would, on the other hand, do something about the climate of suspicion, hatred, and indifference that breeds crime, hardship, and troubles. Here, I think we can actually make a difference if we tried, and that is exactly what we should do.



Diagnose Not Lest Ye Be Diagnosed

There are few people more in need of mental health treatment today than mental health professionals, unless perhaps we think about treating the relatives of people with “mental illness” labels. Yes, the very people who lock people up should be locked up on account of their proclivity to lock people up. We should give it a “disease” label and treatment. Fair is only fair as foul is awfully foul. It’s just plain un-American.

My reason for going there? I’m seeing all these well intentioned people interested in doing something about “mental health issues”, and that something amounts to, in effect, throwing a flammable liquid on the fire in an effort to put it out. We have an epidemic of “mental illness” labeling in this country, and the method we’ve come up with for dealing with it is by doing everything within our powers to increase the amount of labeling going on.

Our schools, deathly afraid of producing psycho-killers, are training teachers to screen their classes for any indication of “mental illness”.  Isolating and treating the labeled student is supposed to be a violence prevention measure. If the kid is just a little weird and not violent in the slightest. It doesn’t matter. The weird student must bear a psychiatric label, and be scrutinized for his or her potential to do harm, however speculative.

It was rumored when I was a kid that we’d driven a teacher to distraction, or insane, for lack of a better term. No more. Now schools have got the conduct problem licked as conduct is no longer a grade on a report card. Bad conduct, misbehaving, is now, according to our pediatric psychiatrists, a bona fide “mental health disorder”. Given this circumstance, class clown is no longer bound for the circus, but rather for the loony bin. That’s right, clowning is a certifiable “disease”.

I had this friend with the “borderline” label who was going on to me about how important it is to take “mental disorders” seriously. I fell automatically into disagreement with this person. I think taking “mental disorder” seriously is the most direct way to developing a more “serious mental disorder” that I can imagine. Maintaining a sense of humor is the best medicine for this sort of thing. Whatever sort of “disorder” you might have developed, as long as you take it lightly, it can’t be serious.

Of course, if you don’t take your “mental disorder” seriously you are in danger of being nabbed for conduct disorder. Everybody has a “mental disorder”, even if the “mental disorder” a person has hasn’t been invented yet. Some of us just haven’t been caught. Were your “mental disorder” actually an order, that wouldn’t be so bad, unless, of course, it involved orders from the planet Xylon. Disorders from Xylon, that’s okay.

My point? Well, judging from the news, everyday of the week, we are locking up the wrong people. The people least responsible for greenhouse warming, mass extinction, corporate imperialism, poverty and international conflict are often the people who we have selected to endure our psychiatric institutions as patient-prisoners.  I’d like to point out that this is more an instance of ruining the world rather than it is  of saving it. Have we made a mistake? Yes, I think so, and many mistakes at that.

Selling Mental Hellth

The issue is mental illness, and it’s an abstraction rather than a reality. Physical diseases are real. Mental diseases are in the head, just like leprechauns and dragons. The idea presented by the mental health movement is that we need to take it out of the shadows, that is, talk about it, as if talking about it were more healing than silence. Actually, this talking is a matter of positioning that tin cup for a government handout. When it comes to any funds drummed up in this fashion,  maybe we should call it dragon protection money.

The mental health movement is all about mental illness. As this is the case, I think it would be better to change the spelling of mental health from mental health to mental hellth. You can’t talk about mental illness, in excess, without selling it. The Center for Disease Control has already got it, mental illness, spreading to epidemic proportions. Why? People want money so they can treat mental illness. Treating mental illness is what we call mental hellth.

Alright, first premise of mental hellth:  Mental illness is real illness. We’ve got an abstraction here, sure, and it’s a real abstraction. The mental hellth movement wants this abstraction to have a physical presence, and so they are calling it physical. In fact, they wouldn’t have it be an abstraction at all, they’d have it be a medical condition. This leads directly to The Thousand Diseases project, or the DSM; in other words, the labeling of ordinary behaviors as diseased because it puts bread and butter on the plates of mental hellth professionals.

Second premise of mental hellth: People possessed by mental diseases are not able nor capable of mature actions. They are beyond, so-to-speak, the practice of self-control. These people possessed of the mental illness bug have thus been rendered, by this bug, incapable of making mature decisions and, therefore, their position as free moral agents is considered forfeit. Other people, or the state, must make their decisions for them. This forfeiture means essentially that such people are not to be covered by the bill of rights to the US constitution.

If  wisdom were health then this sort of misperception would transform folly into illness. There is no need to correct fools when if you can hospitalize/imprison them, is there? The big issue is whether this implied wisdom doesn’t actually represent the compounding of folly with further folly. The problem we’ve got here is that wise people can be sick, just like the mentally hellthy, and foolish people can be healthy, just like the mentally sick.

Selling mental hellth is not, make no mistake about it, selling health. Selling mental hellth is selling mental illness. As most mental hellth treatment involves harming the patient, it is often thought, falsely, that there is a relationship between mental illness and physical disease. There isn’t. The relationship is between mental hellth treatment and physical injury because that is what mental hellth treatment actually is, physical injury.

Of course, there is no way mental hellth could sell injury as a curative agent without a sleight of hand, without deception. This deception involves implying that the injury was actually caused by the impugned disease, and not by it’s treatment. Mental hellth is big business. The more “sickness” perceived, the more injury inflicted,, the more severe the perception of the typical cases, the more job security, and the more the industry is a growth industry.

Injury as a growth industry presents us with a pretty perplexing conundrum. Generally messes are things we’d want cleaned up rather than exacerbated. This is not true where injury is thought to produce mental hellth. The mental hellth the injury produces is coupled and confused with mental illness. Getting people out of the treatment program , out of the system, is not the major concern of mental hellth professionals. Providing for families and lifestyles at the expense of mental patients, that is the major concern of mental hellth professionals.

Violence Begetting Violence

Let there be no mistake about it, the violence bone is not connected to the “mental illness” bone. When we beef up our mental health police force, our mental health system, although the stated aim has something to do with quelling violence, the real aim is to make it look like we’re doing something about violence. This gesture is only cosmetic because any fool should know that 1. “illness” is not the source of violence, and 2. what is commonly referred to as “mental illness” is not literally “illness”.

Discontent is not “illness” officially until the guy with the medical degree gets around to calling it so, and this still doesn’t make it so. Rebellion and disobedience are now official diseases, but that doesn’t make them real diseases either. The big three, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depressive disorder are, when it comes to medical practice, actually three nonsense terms. Deviate from the straight and narrow, and you will be classified as diseased. Believe in the jargon, and you’ve found your religion. Science itself is a little more  skeptical and open minded.

Mental health treatment is actually about social control. The interests of the individual must be suppressed in favor of the interests of the state, according to the state anyway. Politicians, and the robber barons who own them, must always practice vigilance when it comes to preserving their precious status quo. Misfits, non-conformists, and eccentrics are not to be tolerated as they represent a threat to the way things are, and the way things have been. Authenticity itself, exposing a world beyond the uniform, also must be expelled from the life of the community. “Acting out” is only “acting out” where inauthentic “acting in” is the rule.

Pre-schizophrenic disorder (attenuated psychosis risk syndrome), as it is listed in the DSM-5 section 2, is now an official disorder to be covered by insurance. Anyone not schizophrenic already could be suffering from it. Catching the “disease” early is our new answer to massive acts of gun violence in our nation. Understated problem: If you’re doing a sweep for pre-schizophrenics a heck of a lot of potentially violent people are going to slip through your net. Catching people earlier is likely to result in 2 things. 1. You will increase the number of prisoners you’ve got. 2. The violence perpetuated by people who slip through the cracks so to speak in your prison walls will increase.

Technically this presents us with the ongoing dilemma we started with before we started trying to do something about our problem. Technically everybody in the nation is a pre-schizophrenic. If 1 in 4 people get shuttled into a head doctors office in the course of a year, that makes 1 in 4 people “sick”. Keep dreaming. Just because somebody has been caught by the mental health system, or even if somebody has sought “help” so to speak, this doesn’t automatically mean that that person is violent.

3 in 4 people in this country are not “mentally ill” in any given year because 3 in 4 people have not tried to engage in multiple acts of murder. Should he or she kill numerous people,  every armchair shrink in the nation will have this or that person pegged “coo-coo”.  The media, as it has of late, will be having a field day with the amateur, and professional, diagnoses being made. The obvious problem is that we are trying to call violence the result of “sickness”, and averse circumstance “disease”. Neither interpretation is particularly honest.

Dishonesty is the problem, and that hotbed of pure deception, the mental health movement, is the cause. Trading one bad circumstance for another doesn’t accomplish a great deal in the way of producing positive circumstances. Negative circumstances are more likely to provoke violence than positive ones.  Attributing negative circumstances to people with defective genetic material is simply avoiding the facts of the matter. We are all in this world together, even those of us the rest of us would try to shuttle off into the proverbial community closet. Someday, like maybe today, those  “statistics” are going to come back to haunt us.

Psychiatry Drumming Up More Business From School Children

An abstract in HealthDay News announces, Most Teens With Psychiatric Disorders Don’t Receive Care. By care the article means psychiatric treatment. Consider, did we replace the words psychiatric disorders with the words personal problems, and if we replace the word care with the word solutions, we would be saying something entirely different. The question is whether, given a kid with overwhelming troubles, would the mental health system help the kid resolve those difficulties any better than the kid going at it alone. I think there is a great deal of question as to the effectiveness and benefits in the mental health system for doing so. In so many instances, people who enter that system only get worse. This is particularly true when there was little to nothing intrinsically wrong with the kid in the first place.

Let’s look at these disorders and their rates. We’ve got two types of disorders we are dealing with here. We’ve got specifically childhood and adolescent disorders, and we’ve got disorders that have a potential to persist into adulthood. I submit that both types of disorder are, in the main, entirely bogus. Let’s look at the stats given.

45 % of adolescents labeled with a psychiatric disorder received some sort of treatment during the course of a single year. If “having a psychiatric disorder” is synonymous with “receiving treatment”, maybe it is not such a bad thing that 55 % of the adolescents given diagnoses no longer receive treatment. The person, for example, who is unable to back out of “receiving services” is a lifelong or “chronic” mental patient.

Most likely to receive mental health services

ADHD                                                          73.8 %

Conduct Disorder                                     73.4 %

Oppositional Defiant Disorder              71   %

Least likely to receive mental health services

Specific Phobias                                        40.7  %

Anxiety Disorders                                     41.4  %

Services received

School setting                                            23.6 %

Specialty mental health setting             22.8 %

General medical setting                         10.1 %

Where are the statistics saying that 55 % of the kids given psychiatric labels are going to hell in a handbag because they aren’t receiving mental health treatment? Where are the statistics saying that 45 % of the kids are headed for the pearly gates because they are receiving services? Mental health workers and drug companies do better when they have more students doing business with them, but this doesn’t mean that the students are doing any better in treatment than they would do outside of treatment.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder only officially reached the age of consent with the recently published DSM-5. Previously ADHD was  primarily a juvenile chaos. Mine may be a minority opinion but I don’t think of this milestone as particularly conducive to good mental health. Quite the reverse. Now that adult ADHD is an official disorder label we are likely to see much more of it than we have seen in the past.

Conduct used to be a grade on a report card. Conduct was then previously not a disorder. Certainly making it a disorder might make things easier for teachers. I definitely don’t think making conduct a disorder makes things any easier for school children. Should conduct disorder progress into out and out criminality, the child would probably have to put some distance between him or herself and the school system. Or get expelled. I imagine conduct disorder helps flustered parents get disobedient children back into school following suspension or expulsion.

Oppositional defiant disorder is sheer nonsense. It means a child is being rebellious. Children do become rebellious. In fact, they go through phases that include rebelliousness. The terrible twos and the teenage years are two such phases, but they are by no means the only periods in childhood and adolescence potentially beset with disobedience and rebellion. If the child doesn’t grow out of it, the good news is that there is no adult ODD. Not yet anyway.

Anxiety is human, not medical. Nonetheless, psychiatrists and drug company exes make money treating it as medical. Ditto, phobias. This is a particularly sticky subject because children are particularly prone to anxiety and phobias. Adults, given much more life experience than children dealing with such, tend to be less seriously affected. Anxiety and fear are symptoms of inexperience. Inexperience is a disease that can be cured fairly easily. I suggest that parents and teachers experiment with ways to cure their school children’s inexperience as that is part of the job description.

The good news is that 55 % of the teens in this study once receiving mental health treatment are no longer receiving services. The bad news is that psychiatric researchers want even more teens to receive services. Swallow hard and go figure.

They’re gonna kill, kill your kids

A news item out of Portsmouth New Hampshire runs, Story of patient without available bed all too common. I’d say the story of patient with available bed all too common as well, but get a load of the example used!

“My son is 22 years old and he has had 11 jobs since the age of 18 because of substance abuse and mental illness. He has been going to the doctor since the age of 4. We literally had to fight the system for eight months to help him get assistance,” one member of the F Group said during a break-out session facilitated by a person with Portsmouth Listens. “In April he went to the state hospital. It was very difficult for me. I can’t imagine a person with mental illness getting through the system.

 Emboldened emphasis added.

 How many fingers?! Four! Isn’t that kind of young to receive a “mental illness” label and all the abuse that goes along with it? Not to mention…drugs? Just two years after the terrible twos, while passing through his fearsome fours, whap, right on  the butt cheek, “illness”.

This brings us to our next point, passing through. A person with a “mental illness” label who doesn’t “get through” the system, isn’t passing through the system. He’s stuck in the system. Perhaps permanently. Staying in the system is not recovery from an alleged “mental illness”, nor is it recovery from intervention and its consequences.

 They said their son was diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder at 4, but it took until he was 21 to get help.

Their son was disobedient and defiant. Their son was a rebel. Their son was a child. Duh. Therefore, psychiatric label and drugs, and the consequences of labeling and drugging. At 22 years of age, this arguably adult kid, who initially was merely rebellious, as many kids are, especially when they reach their pubescent teens, would be described as a “chronic” head case.

 The article goes onto “describe ODD” seeing it “as a pattern of anger-guided disobedience, hostility, and defiant behavior towards authority figures which goes beyond the bounds of normal childhood behavior” as delineated in the shrink’s bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

 My point, if you want a really, really, really bad child rearing manual, turn to the DSM. All the kids found in this manual are crazy by definition.

 “Thirty-five years ago you couldn’t say the word ‘cancer.’ It was a dirty word. It meant you were going to die. Now you can’t go a day without seeing a fundraiser or a run for cancer,” [Jim] Noucas [co-chair of Portsmouth Listens] told all of the participants at the beginning of the session. “It is time to take mental health out of the shadows and that is why we are here today.”

 Long hush.

 Given the men and women in their spanking white lab coats, I wouldn’t step from the shadows if I were you. Not just yet.

 Perhaps we are turning the world into a carcinogen. Additionally, give me a rhyme for carcinogen. Oh, yeah. Loony bin works. I think the pollutants, both chemical and cognitive, can seem pretty oppressive at times.

Introducing The Church of Psychotherapy

Although I have dealt with the Church of Biological Psychiatry at one time or another on this blog, there is another religion in the mental health field that I haven’t dealt with in a major way. I’d like to try to correct that error of omission if possible. The religion I am referring to is the Church of Psychotherapy.

Psychotherapy, the practice at the heart of this religion, is all about talk. It is, as it has been put, talk therapy. I’m not completely opposed to talking things out. Sigmund Freud, an early prophet of the church, was big on insight coming of these talks. Insight that I feel could be used to correct instances of faulty logic, especially when this faulty logic involves spilling your guts to a priest of psychotherapy.

Doctors of this divinity compare very favorably with disciples of the goddess Venus in her most terrestrial manifestations, that is, psychoanalysts like prostitutes charge money for their services. You’ve got an elite doing for you for a fee what any friend would do for you for free, if you had any friends. Lack of friends is a primary reason some people utilize the services of a priest of this religion.

1 in 5 people, according National Institute of Mental Health propaganda, have a “mental illness”. Priests of the Church of Psychotherapy are not as inclined to believe in “mental illness”, a cardinal principal in the Church of Biological Psychiatry, but they do all believe in Psychotherapy, that is, in talk. Most of the 1 in 5 people alleged to have a “mental illness” are thought to have what is referred to as a “minor mental illness”. The Church of Psychotherapy has been more instrumental, it is thought, although this is not universal, in treating people with “minor mental illnesses” than in treating people with “major mental illnesses”.

“Minor mental illnesses” were introduced as neuroses by early prophets of the Church of Psychotherapy. Some of the converts to this religion think, despite the 1 in 5 statistic from the NIMH, that 100 % of people of the world are (or “have” in a more updated contemporary lingo) neurosis. Okay, so if 1 in 5 have been caught, that leaves 4 in 5 running around loose.

Priests in the Church of Psychotherapy have to make a living somehow, and what better way to “earn” your keep than to make your spiritual calling a way of life? That’s right! If 100 % of the people are “sick”, just as the Christian church is fraught with sinners, 100 % of the people would be in need of the services you offer. Good deal, huh, for a practitioner of this faith?

Unfortunately for the Church of Psychotherapy, the Church of Biological Psychiatry upset their applecart with the release of the DSM-III in 1980. Psychotherapy, from the absolute necessity it once was seen as being, by this act was rendered something of a luxury again. The Church of Biological Psychiatry, much more adamant about maintaining the divide between “sick” and well, thinks more drastic measures necessary, and these drastic measures come to you courtesy of the pharmaceutical industry.