A Major Problem With Compulsory Mental Health Care Is the Medication

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From The New York Times: “If severe ‘mental illness,’ untreated, underlies the feeling of encroaching anarchy and menace around the homeless encampments of San Francisco or in the subways of New York City, then the remedy appears obvious. Let’s rescue those who, as New York’s mayor, Eric Adams, says, ‘slip through the cracks’ of our mental health care systems; let’s give people ‘the treatment and care they need.’

It sounds so straightforward. It sounds like a clear way to lower the odds of tragic incidents occurring, like the chokehold killing of Jordan Neely, a homeless, ‘psychiatrically’ troubled man, or the death of Michelle Alyssa Go, who was pushed off a Times Square subway platform to her death by a homeless man ‘with schizophrenia.’ Improving order and safety in public spaces and offering compassionate care seem to be convergent missions.

But unless we confront some rarely spoken truths, that convergence will prove illusory. The problems with the common-sense approach, as it’s currently envisioned, run beyond the proposed solutions we usually read about: funding more beds on hospital psychiatric wards, establishing community-based programs to oversee treatment when people are released from the hospital and providing housing for those whose mental health is made increasingly fragile by the constant struggle for shelter.

The most difficult problems aren’t budgetary or logistical. They are fundamental. They involve the involuntary nature of the ‘care’ being called for and the flawed antipsychotic medications that are the mainstay of ‘treatment’ for people dealing with the symptoms of psychosis, like hallucinatory voices or paranoid delusions, which can come with a range of severe psychiatric conditions.”

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4 COMMENTS

  1. “The most difficult problems aren’t budgetary or logistical. They are fundamental. They involve the involuntary nature of the ‘care’ being called for and the flawed antipsychotic medications that are the mainstay of ‘treatment’ for people dealing with the symptoms of psychosis, …”

    I couldn’t read the entire article, since I’ve passed my limit of free reads from the NYTimes. But it’s good to see them publish some truth about the improprieties of forced drugging with the antipsychotics.

    A little more truth about the “flawed antipsychotics”:

    The antipsychotics and antidepressants can both create the “psychosis” symptoms, via anticholinergic toxidrome.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxidrome#Anticholinergic

    And the antipsychotics can also create the negative symptoms of “schizophrenia,” via neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroleptic-induced_deficit_syndrome

    Likely everyone here already knows that, but please pass on that synopsis of my many years of psychopharmacological research … if you’re more tech savvy, or less censored, than I. Thank you!

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  2. The article in the NYT was very good. What was not so good were the numerous comments supporting forced drugging.

    The most recommended comment concluded, “Medications are no more perfect than any other medical intervention but client outcomes are worse without them.”

    Another popular comment said, “Mandatory treatment is the only humane solution.” Also, “Flawed as psychiatric medications are, there is a role for compulsory treatment.”

    What was not so popular was my position that there should be more social support for the mentally ill (housing, for example), and minimal drug use, always with consent.

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