Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mad Scientists and Dupes

There is apparently research suggesting that exercise beats psychotropic meds for effectiveness against mental disorders. The studies aren't funded and promoted with Big Pharma billion$, so the regular authorities whom the Illinois legislature and the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) use as mental health experts (e.g., Heyrman at University of Chicago) may not be paying much attention to the implications yet. Let me suggest a couple.

Court ordered "treatment" can be much, much cheaper. When we decide somebody is not criminally culpable and shouldn't be punished for their behavior, well, we just don't necessarily have to go all medical about it.

I have a client, "Mr. D", who was found not-guilty-by-reason-of-insanity (NGRI) for burglary. He's been in the Elgin state nuthouse for a year or so, with various conflicting diagnoses of mental disorder which have justified about a dozen different psychotropic meds. It's just complex as all hell. The guy nearly died from drug side effects at least once. He's young - early twenties - and never had any life threatening health problems before he was psychiatrically "treated". His family is upset with the nuthouse doctors, and litigious. His sister's a pharmacist, so she's not easy to control with PR about medicine. DHS clearly wants this patient out as soon as they can talk his judge into a conditional release. All their clinical expertise is devoted to just stabilizing him for a few months, just making him look good enough to get past the court so they can be rid of him before he becomes their disaster.

Dr. C at Elgin, who took over from Dr. H, after this patient returned from an emergency hospital admission for acute renal failure, asked me one day whether I "believe in" any kind of medications at all. The question presumed of course that I don't "believe in" psychotropic meds. I refrained from laughing, and told him I had occasionally been highly impressed by the efficacy of ibuprofen for shingles. I also said I really have no principles against psychotropics as restraint, if someone is immanently threatening violence. There's nothing fraudulent about that, no betrayal or pretense of help.

But I pointed out that trying to fine-tune somebody's brain chemistry to improve his behavior is a ridiculously complex, expensive and unlikely enterprise. Mr. D is a perfect demonstration. Dr. C was very relieved about recent tests showing medication blood levels better than he expected, because such results should look very positive to Mr. D's court when it is asked to grant his conditional release.

In my experience judges don't know the significance of blood levels of meds any better than they know schizophrenia from schizo-affective, and that is not at all. Dr. C and the Elgin nuthouse have this whole ornate operation going which nobody really understands, and which Illinois taxpayers finance only because they automatically believe in all things medical and think there's no other choice.

At the moment I don't recall the exact amount of the budget deficit Illinois is running. But I know the daily expense of involuntary psychiatric confinement is about $400/person/day. That probably means we spend $350 million annually to keep guys like Mr. D in institutions like Elgin.

Now, what do you know! Maybe Mr. D should have been run around a quarter-mile track for an hour or so every day rather than fed neuroleptic poisons. It would have been much, much cheaper, and it might have worked at least as well for the purposes of the court and community safety, not to mention Mr. D's health.

Another implication: forensic psychiatry has been a major rip-off. The state has been wasting our tax money on a mad-science, vaguely perverted fantasy. The current and prevailing tradition in Illinois suggests somebody should go down for that....


  1. At least 400 yearly machine gun murders and car bombings have been prevented for the last five years due to the $1,000 dollars per day Illinois' taxpayers spent to treat me. That's SEVERAL THGOUSAND human lives spared. I think my previous captors would want to claim credit for my law abiding behavior. I appazrently have nothing to do with it, as they never considered or described me as a posessing moral agency.

    But, maybe that is prudent because I could tomorrow get out and dust off my machine gun.

  2. ^^Good to see you around, Mr Yoder. You could use that machine gun to shoot at the monkeys that, I am certain, are going to fly out of my butt tomorrow ;-)

    In recent years, I have become very fond of weight training. It's a hypnotic, repetitive behavior much like drug use but entirely legal, socially acceptable and non-harming.

    Yah, I've been watching these various state budget crises. I would care about cuts in mental health services if that money actually did poor people any good. But it doesn't. It is only used to employ a lot of shallow middle-class professionals, who couldn't survive without government subsidies. I'll be happy to see them in the unemployment line and the psychiatric beast starved.

  3. Down in Chester where I was imprisoned, there weren't a lot of state parasites coming from the "middle class". Lots of goat-fucking, Dueling Banjo-playing yellowhammer hillbillies. Same class as comprises the politicians' mercenary armies. I think the Chester school football team is even called the Yellowhammers.

  4. "...but I can tell from your shoes, Clarice, that you're just one generation away from poor white trash..."

    Yah, I used to live on the Indiana side of the Wabash River. The rednecks across the river in those rural southern Illinois counties made our rednecks look like Enlightenment Philosophers. The people over there also make the Chicago Political Machine look like an ethics committee. Not to slam Illinois people or anything.

    I read bits and pieces of your story on the web, Mr Yoder. You have my deepest sympathy for having to put up with psychiatry as long as you did. I loathe people who obfuscate with language and claim they're something they're not the way that psychiatrists do.