Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thankful for the budget ax

In today's Chicago Tribune Bonnie Miller Rubin interviews University of Chicago law professor Mark Heyrman under the headline, "Mental health care offers easy target for budget ax". The presumptive attitude is, of course, everyone knows it's a bad thing to spend less money on psychiatric solutions to human problems.

But I rather think the best thing that's happened for mental health, in many years, is states going broke. Heyrman's Trib interview confirms it.

He talks about "low cost, simple services -- medications ... to keep someone healthy." But psychotropic medications don't keep anyone healthy. Sometimes these drugs keep dangerous people disabled from hurting themselves or others. But then again, it seems that sometimes they incite violence. As anyone who has ever taken them knows, they cause weight gain, diabetes, sexual dysfunction and a host of other very unhealthy conditions. If you take psychotropic meds, just deduct 25 years from your life expectancy.

Professor Heyrman believes mental illness makes people quite sick, but he has absolutely no sense that this is metaphorical sickness. He is a true believer in the strict medical model, despite generations of its documented failure. This scientism, this insanity-equals-brain-disease, goes precisely nowhere to improve anyone's life or to make any community safe.

It's so last century, in more ways than one. For this interview, in Heyrman's version of Assertive Community Treatment, people merely "remind you to take your meds, help solve problems...." Of course Dr. Goebbels, we don't mention coercion, which is endemic even in the term ("Assertive...").

People don't forget to take psych meds so much as they stop taking them on purpose or refuse to take them. That's because they hate them, and that's because the meds don't help, they hurt. I'm sure the Gestapo reminded people to do things, too, like salute properly and so on. And nobody believed so strongly in the biological determinism of all things human or sub-human.

The Trib stays in character with it's anti-Semitic founder, Robert McCormick.

But in this century we will not continue to pay for psychiatry's terrible solutions, with or without Obamacare. The DSM/APA/NAMI/Pharma/
NIMH world view is passing rapidly. These days many people know it's possible to recover fully from mental disorders, and it's easier the more you avoid those exact "low cost, simple services" which Mark Heyrman would love to make everyone accept, whether they like it or not.

Be glad Illinois is broke!