Mental Health Therapy – Symptoms And Treatment Of Disorders

Know why mental health is important for every individual. Also know why mental health disorders are caused, what are their consequences and how can they be treated.

Many people avoid getting help for depression or other mental health disorders due to embarrassment or an outdated fear of being stigmatized. Economic Status or Legal Status are important aspects determining the standing of a human being. Being a social animal, a man’s standing in the society is determined by many things, including his mentally stability. This is where Mental Health is critical to a person and much the same way how he would spend time in earning money, time also needs to be spent to tend to any rough edges in his mental health. Seeking assistance when necessary is increasingly understood in our society as a wise and mature decision.

Let’s look at an example. An individual is so rich that he owns large areas of real estate in Florida. To add to his luxury he has his own charter fleet of helicopters. In spite of having an embarrassment of riches, he still continues to be alienated from the society. The only possible reason I can see is that the individual suffers from a mental health disorder. This can include depression, anxiety, personality disorders, etc. In fact, Howard Hughes cut himself off from everyone later in his life most likely due to untreated phobias and depression.

What are the causes of Mental Health Disorders?

Mental Health Disorders are caused due to a variety of reasons. An individual can experience a mental health disorder for the first time due to a tragic event, long term neglect or abuse, a genetic pre-disposition to depression, or even a brain disorder that is medical in nature. The results vary widely and may need a professional to help diagnose and treat, but the most common mental health issue is depression and is experienced by everyone at least once in their lifetime. Those with a genetic pre-disposition to depression or another affective disorder like bipolar disorder, will have multiple incidents and usually require some form of treatment.

What are the consequences of Mental Health Disorders?

The consequences of untreated mental health disorders can be extremely damaging for an individual. At every stage of depression, the individual continues to behave less like themselves. They become more sedentary, less social, thinking it difficult to think clearly and in extreme cases may develop paranoid ideas. In all these scenarios, society tends to keep away from these individuals when perhaps they need others most.

Who are affected by the Mental Health Disorder?

Almost everyone will experience some form of mental health issue during their lifetime. It may be common depression, alcohol or substance abuse, relationship problems, post-traumatic stress or perhaps a more serious chemical or brain disorder. Apart from the individual, the next set of people who are impacted by this are the care-givers and the family members of the individual.

How can a Mental Health Disorder be treated?

One of the most effective methods to treat a mental health disorder is to seek the consultation of a mental health professional or family doctor. Mental health therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and one’s family and social network play a big role in treating an individual suffering from a mental health disorder.

Should Alcohol Taxes Pay For Mental Health Programs? Do the Math

Improving the Mental Health System

According to a news release that was dated May 9, 2006, the “Standing Senate Committee On Social Affairs, Science and Technology” in Canada recommended the creation of a Canadian Mental Health Commission that will be responsible for significantly upgrading the Canadian mental health system. As stated by Senator Michael Kirby, the Chair of the Committee, “The Senate Committee is committed to improving the range, quality and organization of health and support services that are required by the tens of thousands of Canadians who are living with mental illnesses and addictions.”

Funding The Proposed Change

Based on an extensive three-year study on mental health and addiction, the Committee determined that it will cost $5.36 billion over a 10-year period for this mental health system upgrade. Where will these funds come from? According to the Committee, the revenue will come from raising the excise tax on alcoholic drinks by 5 cents per drink.

Part of the rationale for the 5-cent increase per drink was obviously the goal of raising the needed funds for the proposed changes in the mental health system. Another justifying factor for the price increase, however, was the fact that since each alcoholic drink will cost more, Canadians will be more inclined to drink lower-alcohol products such as beer and wine instead of liquor.

Let’s Do the Math

At first glance, this proposal seems to make sense. Why shouldn’t those who drink help finance a program that will provide them with a better mental health system? Why not let those who are part of the “problem” become part of the “solution”? This logic seems sound until you do the math. If $5.36 billion is needed to help finance the upgraded mental health system, then how many drinks will have to be consumed in a ten-year period to reach $5.36 billion dollars? The answer: 107,200,000,000 drinks. That’s 107 billion, 200 million drinks.

To arrive at how many drinks this is per year, all we have to do is divide this number by 10 (for the ten-year program) and the result is 10,720,000,000. This is still a huge number that fortunately can be “massaged” even more. According to The World Factbook website, the population of Canada was estimated to be 33 million people in 2006. Dividing 10,720,000,000 by 33,000,000 equals 325. Putting this in terms that the average person can understand, every man, woman, and child in Canada will have to consume 325 alcoholic drinks per year for the next ten years to finance the new mental health system! Simply put, these numbers are not realistic.

More Flaws

The “logic” of this proposed mental health program also breaks down when it is examined more deeply. For instance, why would people drink lower-alcohol products such as beer if the increased excise tax applies to all alcoholic drinks? To help understand this better, let’s use an example. Let’s say that the average shot in Canada currently costs $3.00 and the average beer costs $1.00. Based on the proposed price increase, if Joe drinks an average of 5 shots per week, his weekly average alcohol expenditure will be $15.25. When the numbers are calculated, this figures out to be 1.7% more than Joe would have spent before the proposed tax increase. Let’s do a similar exercise with beer. Based on the projected price increase, if Pete drinks an average of 5 beers per week, his weekly average alcohol expenditure will be $5.25. When the numbers are calculated, this figures out to be 5% more than Pete would have spent before the proposed tax increase. The point: since the proposed price increase affects higher-alcohol products (such as shots) proportionately less than their lower-alcohol counterparts (such as beer), why would Canadians switch to lower-alcohol products?

Alcohol and Mental Health

Another question. What if tens of thousands of Canadians, realizing that drinking alcohol is not good for their “mental health,” significantly reduce their alcohol intake or quit drinking alcoholic beverages altogether? Where will the money come from to offset this lack of revenue? In a similar manner, what if thousands upon thousands of Canadians who drink alcoholic beverages decide that they don’t want to pay the extra excise tax and, as a result, stop drinking alcoholic beverages? If this happens, where will the government get the money needed to transform the mental health system? In other words, does the Canadian government have a realistic “plan B” for this major transformation?

A Logical Contradiction

From a different perspective, isn’t it rather ironic that those who drink alcoholic beverages will pay for the revamped mental health system? Isn’t there a contradiction in logic somewhere in this proposal? Stated differently, if tens of thousands of Canadians have mental illnesses or are addicted to alcohol or drugs, wouldn’t the government want Canadians to drink LESS alcohol in order to reduce the existing alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and alcohol-related mental health problems? Yet according to the current mental health proposal, from strictly a financial standpoint, it would appear that the Canadian government is banking the entire mental health system upgrade on historical data that strongly suggests that Canadians will continue to drink at their current or even higher levels of consumption.

Budgetary Miscalculations

What happens, for instance, if there are cost overruns in the proposed mental health system? There are, of course, two “easy” solutions to this problem: increase the excise tax on each drink or motivate Canadians to drink even more alcoholic beverages. Either “solution,” however, is predicated on the fact that in order to “work,” the upgraded mental health system needs to be funded by Canadians who continue to drink alcoholic beverages.

Conclusion

It appears logical to conclude that the Canadian mental health system is in need of a major overhaul. As with most comprehensive government programs, however, the issue of funding becomes a major obstacle to overcome. The proposed Canadian mental health system upgrade is no exception. Based on the reasons given above, it seems obvious that the Canadian government needs to come up with alternate sources of revenue generation for this worthwhile project. Indeed, to point out one of the major “flaws” in the current proposal, consider the following question: When is more drinking a “good thing?” Answer: when it finances a nationwide mental health system upgrade. Something tells me that Andy Rooney from “60 Minutes” would have a lot of fun with this.

One Consumer’s Observations of the Mental Health Care System in America

The mental health system is a unique culture. Psychiatry itself is, unlike any other medical specialty. Mental health is an enclosed system. That means it is a world within a world. The doctors, therapists, patients, and support workers play roles. It’s a reciprocal environment. Each player in the system allows the other person the opportunity to act out his or her role. For example, the psychiatrist gives you a diagnosis that has no basis (Yes this does happen from time to time). You, the patient, having complete faith in the powers of the behavioral health system, accept this diagnosis as the gospel truth. In time, you begin to notice certain behaviors and thoughts that you believe may be a sign of your supposed illness. You return to your doctor and report these symptoms. Your psychiatrist agrees with your observations and writes them down in your medical record. He also inserts his authoritative comments to support his opinion. Therefore, both parties in the relationship are mutually validated in their roles.

When one has been playing the patient role for so long, a person begins to identify himself or herself as a “psych patient.” That’s who you are. This is the term that defines your very existence. You belong to the mental health system. Soon enough you find that every activity you engage yourself in is related to your disorder and the medication your doctor prescribed to suppress it. It’s a sad commentary indeed. It’s sadder still for the person who needlessly struggles against an undefinable defect in his or her character as if the diagnosis were the irrefutable truth. I acknowledge the fact that the unsettling scenario I am painting here is not true for every psychiatric patient.

At some point, the psychiatric patient discovers the benefits of being labeled mentally ill. There are mental health workers, such as case managers who assist the “consumer” in obtaining a free living allowance from the Federal government in the form of Social Security Disability Income or Supplemental Security Income in whatever minimal amount it may be. I will add for comfort that social security disability benefits are reported (by the government) to run dry in 2016. A consumer is often entitled to free housing, health care, food assistance, and much more. The mentally ill person may even have the right under certain disability laws to bring a pit-bull into a no-pet residential community. Technically speaking, you could even take it on a commercial airliner. The reason is simply because your therapist deemed it necessary that you have an emotional support animal (oops was that a secret?). Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure there are people who require a companion animal for their emotional health. I’m not trying to be disrespectful to those who are struggling. What I’m saying that there are incentives built into the system for many people to accept their diagnosis and play out their role.

There are case managers and outreach workers that will go to court with you, and advocate on your behalf before the judge when you run afoul of the law. They will help the mentally ill with all of their personal affairs. What a bargain! Run out and tell all of your friends about it. Let the government take care of you. It makes being a psychiatric patient seem so much more attractive. Why wouldn’t anyone want a psychiatrist label to them disabled? Again, I’m being sarcastic to make my point that people, who are improperly labeled with a DSM V diagnosis, run the risk of becoming dependent on the mental health system for their needs.

This kind of social welfare encourages people to give up their ambition and motivation. It instills the idea that living a marginal existence is sufficient. I, for one, believe in the greatness people can achieve for themselves and the world by applying themselves.

Remember this. Once you get into the mental health system your chances of getting out are slim. There are a number of reasons for this. Primarily because the psychiatrist or psychologist has you convinced that you have a serious medical problem, which you can’t handle yourself. We all know that’s ridiculous. Many people manage their depression and anxiety remarkably well without the use of psychiatric medications. If Ativan calms your nerves and helps you function, then that’s great. On the other hand, I have seen plenty of people become addicted to sedatives. These drugs are unsafe. I wouldn’t put your faith in the safety of the anti-depressants either. I think the pharmaceutical giants are quick to point that out as a result of the numerous class action lawsuits filed against them.

Some blame can be placed on the pharmaceutical companies for this unnatural drug dependence. As I was writing this article, I surfed NAMI’s website (National Alliance for Mental Illness) and noticed “In Our Own Voice,” a public education program, is funded by a grant from Eli Lily. This is the pharmaceutical giant that manufactures psychiatric drugs like Prozac, Zyprexa, and Cymbalta. I gather (without too much mental effort) that Eli Lily’s generosity is a publicity campaign to make them look like one of the good guys in the mental field, and as a result, boost sales. As I surfaced the Internet, I found that NAMI has been receiving their fair share of criticism for their questionable association with pharmaceutical companies. I will not say NAMI is immoral or unethical. That would be too easy. If Ely Lily offered me thousands of dollars, I would have to seriously consider taking it. Sometimes the decision to cross the line depends on one’s real life needs. Other times it just has to do with making a buck. There is no denying that this kind of corporate misconduct adversely affects the mental health system and exacerbates the suffering of its consumers. Again, I know some people require the assistance of the pharmaceutical companies and the psychiatric community. The screening process for prescribing these medications is a big part of the problem. That’s because there is no adequate process in place for dispensing these potentially dangerous drugs.

Society itself contributes to this dysfunctional culture. The general attitude of the public is “As long as they are not bothering us you can do what you please with them.” This gives the mental health providers even more authority to do as they please. And so the psychiatric patient is stripped of his or her rights. As I see it, a psychiatric patient is a human being without respect or dignity. You can call my words dramatic if you like.

It may seem as I am playing the blame game and the taking on the victim role. Allow to clarify the role of the patient in the mental health system (those like myself). I will be the first to admit that the informed psychiatric patient is the one who is primarily responsible for his or her unfortunate situation. We have to accept our role in the system. No one can twist your arm behind your back, and say, “Go see a therapist about your anxiety.” At least that’s true in most cases. When you reflect on why you did it, you will say, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

The worst thing a mentally ill person could ever do, is telling someone about his or her condition. As soon as you do, the other person looks at you differently. An automatic flash goes off in the person’s brain, “Oh God. Here we go. His illness is acting up.” This attitude is especially noticeable in the face of a mental health professional, your family members, and closest friends. It’s a universal reaction. From the moment you reveal your secret, everything you do will be blamed on your illness. The ways in which you express yourself as a normal human being will be measured against your supposed disorder. If you are frustrated about something, the people in your life will conclude, “His meds aren’t working.” When people think you cannot hear them, they will gossip amongst themselves, “Oh he’s a psych patient. That’s why he looks agitated. That’s part of his illness.” This attitude is quite common. It comes from a lack of understanding. How could a person know, unless he or she has personally experienced it.

If you should attempt to verbalize your rights as a human being, the mental health provider will proceed to have you committed to a psychiatric hospital against your will. The patient can be held for an indefinite period of time until a clinician decides the person has come to his or her senses. The mental health professionals can essentially do whatever they want with you because no one is going to speak out against them. In Massachusetts, psychiatric patients must retain a specially trained lawyer to represent them before a mental health court in order to be released. This is where we are in 2013. I’ll bet most of you reading this article didn’t know how our behavioral health system works. We are still in the dark ages.

The only time the state of the mental health system is brought to light is when a patient commits suicide or kills someone. Then there is a public uproar and the psychiatrist or therapist are blamed or in some cases sued. In their defense, no doctor can control the behavior of their patient in society. That is not their job as I see it. The mental health professional cannot be held responsible for the actions of their patients, unless they were grossly negligent in some way. We are free and sovereign human beings. In the United States, people are generally allowed to operate freely without undue interference from others. The American attitude is “No one has the right to tell me what to do.” It’s a slightly different story if the patient states that he or she intends to commit suicide or kill someone. Then the call to duty is activated.