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For Centuries all societies had fortress-like insane assylums, nunneries, monasteries and crazy houses for the mentally ill. Or the attic apartment for your crazy uncle. Sometimes they were treated as fools, witches, magical sorcerers or devil possessed. Sometimes they were given the leadership crown--ie Nero, George III, Hitler, Stalin, Quaddafi, Uday Hussein, Robert Mugabe.
In the past 40 years we have had miraculous breakthroughs in psychiatric medication rivaling the age of antibiotics. Mental illness can be managed like a benign chronic illness like diabetes, HIV infection or hypertension. The mentally ill when properly medicated can live in society, in homes with their families, and even hold a job.
95% of mental illness can be managed successfully as an outpatient. It is a small minority that needs institutionalization, but they are very debilitated.
The other problem with chronic mental medication is how often patients fall off their medication regime. They are otherwise healthy. A lot of them are in denial about mental illness. They think the rest of the world is loony and they are the only sane person on the planet. And why can't they have a fun night drinking a fifth of vodka. And a small heroin injection will really cap a day. And I don't need this medication anyway. And the CIA is bugging my thoughts.
And the medication when in harmonious balance with brain chemistry, falls to subtherapeutic levels. And there is rebound psychosis. And it takes weeks to rebuild the medication effect in an expensive inpatient enviorment.
That is why the schizophrenics live in alleys, streets, and under bridges and bounce backto insane assylum in Salem and back to the streets and back to Salem like a loony, red, rubber ball.
The solution is long term, fail proof medication. We will know our mental illness treatments are successful when the homeless no longer populate the streets. We all need to know about mental illness because it affects us EVERYDAY.
posted 2 years, 1 month ago
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