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My cat is bipolar.

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My cat is bipolar.

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby dealing with it on Mon Jun 03, 2013 4:15 pm

Well, not really. I don't even have a cat. But, I posted this elsewhere and would like more thoughts.

To what degree is the mental health institution necessary? Should we be able to lock people up for weeks, months, or years -- effectively treating them like criminals -- because their behaviour not normal? Is it ethical to force a personality-altering course of treatment on the eccentric, or is that a violation of the Hippocratic Oath?

The Big Three illness upon which the psychiatric institute is founded are depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. How are these three perceived in the popular consciousness? Is "bipolar" a good synonym for "wacky" or "crazy" or "random"? And, do we rush to judgment when someone commits a crime, and blame mental illness for behaviour that has nothing to do with any kind of illness?

As well, would you willingly beget children with someone who was diagnosed as a schizophrenic? If not -- and that is the only reason -- is that a form of eugenics?

How do you feel about people who self-diagnose or diagnose others without a licence? Can a common person understand the implications of these labels without the experience of a psychiatrist or psychiatric client? Or is the whole edifice just a witch hunt that isn't meant to be understood?

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Re: My cat is bipolar.

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Snozberrie on Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:23 pm

well not a single person in the world is the same so how is there even anything considered normal.

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Re: My cat is bipolar.

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby cucumbersome on Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:09 am

dealing with it wrote:To what degree is the mental health institution necessary? Should we be able to lock people up for weeks, months, or years -- effectively treating them like criminals -- because their behaviour not normal?


Only if their behaviour is a serious danger to others. For example someone who is running around with a knife claiming that God is telling them to stab babies should be locked up and medicated until they no longer appear to be dangerous. Here the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

dealing with it wrote:Is it ethical to force a personality-altering course of treatment on the eccentric, or is that a violation of the Hippocratic Oath?


It is ethical when they are incapable of rational decisions and are a serious danger to themselves. This is difficult to judge.

In such cases inaction would be a violation of the Hippocratic Oath.

dealing with it wrote:The Big Three illness upon which the psychiatric institute is founded are depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. How are these three perceived in the popular consciousness? Is "bipolar" a good synonym for "wacky" or "crazy" or "random"? And, do we rush to judgment when someone commits a crime, and blame mental illness for behaviour that has nothing to do with any kind of illness?


The last few years hard-to-explain murders by “quiet people” tend to get blamed on Asperger’s (I guess that will change to Autism Spectrum Disorder now the DSM-V has removed it as a separate definition), even though there is no evidence of the murderers ever receiving that diagnosis. It’s a shame, because people who do legitimately receive that diagnosis tend to be less dangerous than the average “healthy” person, and to be socially isolated. The last thing they need is to be considered potential murderers.

dealing with it wrote:As well, would you willingly beget children with someone who was diagnosed as a schizophrenic? If not -- and that is the only reason -- is that a form of eugenics?


I don’t know. Because of my own weaknesses I hope I would not start a relationship with someone who is schizophrenic. For the same reason I would avoid having to raise a child that might develop schizophrenia. But I don’t think everyone should avoid it, so I don’t consider my decision in that eugenics. It’s just that I don’t want to raise a child in a situation in which *I* am likely to have mental breakdowns. That said, schizophrenia seems easier for me to deal with than for example borderline disorder, but that might be bias based on me only having experience with the latter (or, to be more precise, I have been in a relationship with someone who claimed to have received the borderline diagnosis which was later retracted by a different therapist, and I should make no claims about which one was right but can say that it sure looked like borderline to me).

dealing with it wrote:How do you feel about people who self-diagnose or diagnose others without a licence?


A self diagnosis that doesn’t appear to be a false one caused by hypochondria, münchausen, or antisocial disorder should be taken seriously. However, if self diagnosis does not lead to asking for any kind of assistance or to the observation that one needed such assistance in the past or is likely to need it in the future, it is nonsense. If there is no problem, never was one, and never will be one, there is no need for a label to describe the problem.

Those who diagnose others without a licence but then don’t tell them to get that diagnosis confirmed by someone who does have a licence need to be ((violent remark self-censored)). It can be extremely damaging to give someone a wrong diagnosis, as it may lead to them feeling sure they don’t need the particular type of assistance they do need. I have zero respect for self-educated-by-encyclopedia people who go around sticking labels to people, and think it is a clear sign of an oversized ego.

dealing with it wrote:Can a common person understand the implications of these labels without the experience of a psychiatrist or psychiatric client?


A common person can study to become a psychiatrist. They can also study only one disorder to the same extent a student of psychiatry would learn about it. But if a common person is someone who at best read a wikipedia entry, then no, absolutely not.

dealing with it wrote:Or is the whole edifice just a witch hunt that isn't meant to be understood?


The purpose of a (psychiatric or other) diagnosis should be to save everyone the work of having to describe the most basic parts of a problem again and again. I know seeking assistance from a different organisation often leads to having to go through the basic tests again anyway because they don’t trust each other, but still, that’s what it’s for.
I can keep myself sane because I’ve got my candy gun!

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Re: My cat is bipolar.

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby dealing with it on Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:20 pm

cucumbersome wrote:For example someone who is running around with a knife claiming that God is telling them to stab babies should be locked up and medicated until they no longer appear to be dangerous.

cucumbersome wrote:The last thing they need is to be considered potential murderers.

Am I imagining this contradiction?

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Re: My cat is bipolar.

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby cucumbersome on Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:39 pm

You may need to elaborate on that. Asperger’s =/= running around with a knife and obviously dangerous hallucinations.

First quote: It’s okay to lock someone up ONLY when they clearly are a danger to others. (And as mentioned a bit further in that post, it’s complicated situations in which they are a danger only to themselves.)

Second quote: It’s not okay to spread misinformation/slander.

I don’t see a contradiction. Unless you think I’m slandering people who according to their own words, body language, and weapon in hand are dangerous?

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Re: My cat is bipolar.

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby dealing with it on Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:23 pm

The hallucinating man with a knife in his hand ready to kill some babies is completely atypical of schizophrenics. You are slandering people who have been locked up for Illness by suggesting that that behaviour is what lands a person in a mental hospital. The criminally insane land in jails and on forensics wards.

When I'm having an episode, I become extremely flirtatious, generous with all my money and possessions, and highly spiritual. If you didn't know me "normally" you wouldn't think anything amiss. And that's severe schizophrenia.

(Edit: although I seem to be conveniently forgetting nearly burning down my house for a gibberish reason, playing hide-and-seek with imagined FBI agents, trying to phase through a wall, and oh so many other incidents. I think I've come to a stalemate.)

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Re: My cat is bipolar.

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby cucumbersome on Thu Jun 06, 2013 4:08 am

dealing with it wrote:The hallucinating man with a knife in his hand ready to kill some babies is completely atypical of schizophrenics. You are slandering people who have been locked up for Illness by suggesting that that behaviour is what lands a person in a mental hospital. The criminally insane land in jails and on forensics wards.


No, I’m saying that ONLY such extreme atypical behavior can be reason to lock someone up and medicate them without their permission. Being different does not remove your human rights. Note the word “only”. It’s important. If you don’t behave in such an extreme way, it’s not about you. (Also, I did not assign a gender to the dangerous person. I could now say you’re slandering men, and it would be more justified than your accusation you base on your own repeated missing of the word “only”.)

“Criminally insane” is a slippery term. In my opinion, someone who is likely to commit a crime because of their mental condition, but hasn’t done so yet, does not belong in a forensic ward and certainly not in a jail. They do belong in a place from which they won’t be allowed to leave until the immediate problem goes away. If you want to call that something else than a mental hospital... okay. To be clear, and I will repeat such things below because I wrote this paragraph last, when one is not a danger to others one should always be permitted to leave, unless specified otherwise by the person themselves.

dealing with it wrote:When I'm having an episode, I become extremely flirtatious, generous with all my money and possessions, and highly spiritual. If you didn't know me "normally" you wouldn't think anything amiss. And that's severe schizophrenia.


In such cases, if there is going to be any locking up, it should be with prior consent. In other words, you might tell someone “if I have an episode and start wasting my money or doing other things that are harmful to myself, please do whatever it takes to stop me”. Or you might choose not to do that and prefer some self inflicted problems over ever having your freedom temporarily taken away.

Things get complicated when someone never is in a state of mind in which they can ask someone else to prevent self harm, or when a medical professional is present because they seem to be required to prevent self harm even without permission.

If - to make up an example - being extremely flirtatious includes singing love songs to a stranger who is trying to sleep, the same limits to your freedom apply as would if the cause of it were alcohol. (I should add that if police would decide to let you sleep in a cell, they have the responsibility not to just assume unusual behavior is caused by alcohol or another drug and to call in appropriate help.)

dealing with it wrote:(Edit: although I seem to be conveniently forgetting nearly burning down my house for a gibberish reason, playing hide-and-seek with imagined FBI agents, trying to phase through a wall, and oh so many other incidents. I think I've come to a stalemate.)


Depending on how you try to phase through walls, it might be something you want to ask others to prevent you from doing.

Burning down your house is dangerous to others, so moving you to a place where you have no access to lighters and matches would be justified. But by itself it’s not enough for medication without permission.

Nobody should stop you from playing imaginary hide-and-seek, unless you have requested that, or it’s likely to cause traffic accidents, or you’re trespassing.

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Re: My cat is bipolar.

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby dealing with it on Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:26 pm

cucumbersome wrote:(Also, I did not assign a gender to the dangerous person. I could now say you’re slandering men, and it would be more justified than your accusation you base on your own repeated missing of the word “only”.)

I'm not missing the word "only". That is the crux of the argument. When you claim that someone only lands up in a hospital by being a danger to others (and only that by that method), you have painted a particular image of psychiatry. If you were then to walk into a psych ward and discover (surprise surprise) that maybe 1 or 2 people out of a dozen were even remotely close to dangerous, your "only" becomes inaccurate.

Unless, of course, you are not talking about what people real-world psych wards are filled with, but only about what people you think they should be filled with.

My considerable experience within the system (11 years of being a patient/client/nutjob) convinces me that you will find atypical behaviour in a hospital. I'm not convinced that it's all that harmful.

Here's the DSM-IV entry for schizophrenia: http://www.biopsychinstitute.com/psychi ... izophrenia

You might have to convince me that meeting these criteria is dangerous in itself, and is not just bizarre/atypical/eccentric.

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Re: My cat is bipolar.

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby cucumbersome on Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:11 am

dealing with it wrote:Unless, of course, you are not talking about what people real-world psych wards are filled with, but only about what people you think they should be filled with.


dealing with it wrote:To what degree is the mental health institution necessary? Should we be able to lock people up for weeks, months, or years -- effectively treating them like criminals -- because their behaviour not normal? Is it ethical to force a personality-altering course of treatment on the eccentric, or is that a violation of the Hippocratic Oath?


...

Maybe I’m weird, but to me it looks like you asked under what conditions it’s acceptable and necessary to lock someone up. I answered that, so yes, I am talking about what people I think they should be filled with.

Talking about people who are not dangerous to others, my answers are as follows:

To what degree is the mental health institution necessary?

To the degree desired by those who seek treatment.

Should we be able to lock people up for weeks, months, or years -- effectively treating them like criminals -- because their behaviour not normal?

Assuming they never asked to be locked up: no.

Is it ethical to force a personality-altering course of treatment on the eccentric,

No.

or is that a violation of the Hippocratic Oath?

Yes.

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Re: My cat is bipolar.

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby dealing with it on Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:35 pm

My bad.

One of the reasons I don't like using the dialect of mental health is because it effectively criminalizes aberrant thoughts. Precedent shows us that the DSM is political (homosexuality, for instance, used to be a diagnosis -- a mental disease). It probably would be better to lock people up for danger, not illness.

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Re: My cat is bipolar.

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby FallenWings on Sun Jun 09, 2013 1:18 pm

When I first read the title "My cat is bipolar", I was like... Ok?
.

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