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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-09-11 07:53 AM
Original message
They are REALLY afraid of us here comes another layer of stereotyping
and broad brushed generalizations that will perpetuate misunderstanding and make living with mental illness difficult.

The media focus on Jared Loughton as mentally ill and the hysterical rhetoric of DU posters about mental illness following the Tuscon massacre suggests it's once again time to drag out some of what is known about violence and the mentally ill.

From the New Englan Journal of Medicine
http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp068229#t=arti...






<snip>

(The) NIMH's Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) study, ...examined the rates of various psychiatric disorders in a representative sample of 17,803 subjects in five U.S. communities. Although this study was not initially designed to assess the prevalence of violent behavior, data on violence were collected for about 7000 of the subjects.3 Violence was defined as having used a weapon such as a knife or gun in a fight and having become involved, with a person other than a partner or spouse, in more than one fight that came to blows behavior that is likely to frighten most people.

The study showed that patients with serious mental illness those with schizophrenia, major depression, or bipolar disorder were two to three times as likely as people without such an illness to be assaultive. In absolute terms, the lifetime prevalence of violence among people with serious mental illness was 16%, as compared with 7% among people without mental illness. Although not all types of psychiatric illness are associated with violence anxiety disorders, for example, do not seem to increase the risk and although most people with schizophrenia, major depression, or bipolar disorder do not commit assaultive acts, the presence of such a disorder is significantly associated with an increased risk of violence.

Of course, because serious mental illness is quite rare, it actually contributes very little to the overall rate of violence in the general population; the attributable risk has been estimated to be 3 to 5% much lower than that associated with substance abuse, for example. (People with no mental disorder who abuse alcohol or drugs are nearly seven times as likely as those without substance abuse to report violent behavior.) But substance abuse among the mentally ill compounds the increased risk of violence: one study involving 802 adults with a psychotic or major mood disorder showed that violence was independently correlated with several risk factors, including substance abuse, a history of having been a victim of violence, homelessness, and poor medical health.4 The 1-year rate of violent behavior for subjects with none or only one of these risk factors was 2% a prevalence close to the ECA study's estimate for the general population. Thus, violence in people with serious mental illness probably results from multiple risk factors in several domains.



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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-09-11 08:09 AM
Response to Original message
1. Did you know the mentally ill lack motivations like healthy people?
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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-09-11 08:19 AM
Response to Original message
2. Mentally ill don't shoot at random they shoot at their delusions
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

I am just absolutely unsure that so many of the mentally ill are shooting up the landscape that there is statistically valid empirical evidence of this.
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mopinko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-09-11 10:02 AM
Response to Original message
3. all i can say is
that stupid comments about mental illness should be alerted on. many have been removed.
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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-09-11 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Ok I'll just wallow back under my rock.
I wouldn't want to upset anyone more than I have.



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mopinko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-09-11 12:51 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. i'm not saying that. your perspective is needed.
education is a long slow slog. keep at it.
we really do try to remove offensive stereotypes. but it is also at moments like this that we need to point out just what the consequences are of our failure to respond to clear signs of someone being in need of help. honestly, i would have to bet that people tried to get this guy some treatment and failed. that is where it sticks. in the old days you could force someone into treatment, but anymore you mostly can't until they commit a serious crime. that first step is the hardest part for everyone.
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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-11 07:27 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. DU policy and post deletions wasn't the point.
The point was timeliness and making sure people who read this forum understood what was happening.

The time to act on mental health education includes the middle of the fray, when the mentally ill are being painted with all manner of misinformation and hyperbole in the major forum on DU. That IS the teachable moment, the time to do something in addition to providing comforting words and hugs to each other.

But believing mental health support includes dispelling the wild-assed views of our fellow DU members regarding mental illness, the mentally ill, and access to mental health care is just an irrational thought of mine.

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Cetacea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-11-11 10:35 PM
Response to Original message
7. Thank you. I posted a similar op in GD
I was surprised at how many positive responses there were, and it even mad the greatest page. However, the amount of people on DU and in the media, dems and repubs alike, who think that mental illness= violent person is discouraging. The stigma is so strong that citing these studies seems to produce cognitive dissonance. I'd imagine just as many people cannot understand how or why words like "psycho", "nut" and so forth could be considered discrimination.
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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-11 06:26 AM
Response to Original message
8. From Slate/Science-- we are too quick blame "mental illness" for violence.
http://www.slate.com/id/2280619 /


Crazy Talk
We're too quick to use "mental illness" as an explanation for violence.
By Vaughan BellPosted Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011, at 12:52 AM ET

Shortly after Jared Lee Loughner had been identified as the alleged shooter of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, online sleuths turned up pages of rambling text and videos he had created. A wave of amateur diagnoses soon followed, most of which concluded that Loughner was not so much a political extremist as a man suffering from "paranoid schizophrenia."

For many, the investigation will stop there. No need to explore personal motives, out-of-control grievances or distorted political anger. The mere mention of mental illness is explanation enough. This presumed link between psychiatric disorders and violence has become so entrenched in the public consciousness that the entire weight of the medical evidence is unable to shift it. Severe mental illness, on its own, is not an explanation for violence, but don't expect to hear that from the media in the coming weeks.

Seena Fazel is an Oxford University psychiatrist who has led the most extensive scientific studies to date of the links between violence and two of the most serious psychiatric diagnosesschizophrenia and bipolar disorder, either of which can lead to delusions, hallucinations, or some other loss of contact with reality. Rather than looking at individual cases, or even single studies, Fazel's team analyzed all the scientific findings they could find. As a result, they can say with confidence that psychiatric diagnoses tell us next to nothing about someone's propensity or motive for violence.

A 2009 analysis of nearly 20,000 individuals concluded that increased risk of violence was associated with drug and alcohol problems, regardless of whether the person had schizophrenia. Two similar analyses on bipolar patients showed, along similar lines, that the risk of violent crime is fractionally increased by the illness, while it goes up substantially among those who are dependent on intoxicating substances. In other words, it's likely that some of the people in your local bar are at greater risk of committing murder than your average person with mental illness.
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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-11 10:44 AM
Response to Original message
9. test

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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-11 04:08 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. well, that test initiated evidence.
Edited on Wed Jan-12-11 04:37 PM by HereSince1628
And this acknowledgment will provoke a similar response.
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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-12-11 02:44 PM
Response to Original message
10. We mentally ill are all killers
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crim son Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-11 10:09 AM
Response to Original message
12. I read a new one here on DU,
that the mentally ill are playing the "victim" card. I wanted to scream.
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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-11 10:33 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. Luckily, I missed that one.
I can't speak directly to a thread I didn't see.

But a general comment...the people posting on DU are mostly US citizens and US society has deep seated misconceptions. The posts on most of the DU forums reflect society's basic anxieties and prejudices about the mentally ill. The posters themselves are so deeply ensconced in their bigotry they don't see all the misconceptions as validations that what they feel/think is correct.

Those folks are immovable, they've got the answer and there is no way to present them with a question that doesn't fit their preconception. It sucks. But the on DU attitudes about the mentally ill are pretty much just like most of the rest of America--based on misplaced fear and self-protective.
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crim son Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-29-11 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. I've never tested that theory
outside the U.S. but the fact that insurance coverage/social programs for the mentally ill is spotty and inconsistent supports the perception that our illnesses aren't "real" and therefore we are personally responsible for our own crazy.
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