Tag Archives | Mental Illness

Twenty Percent Of Americans Had Mental Illness In Last Year

A shocking statistic, made worse when you learn that 60% of the mentally ill did not receive any treatment. From MedPage Today:

About 20% of American adults reported having had a mental illness during the preceding year, a government survey found.

The figure rose to almost 30% of those in the 18 to 25 age group, compared with 14.3% of patients 50 and older, according to researchers from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).


And of the nearly 46 million U.S. adults who reported having had a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder when surveyed in 2010, some 60% didn’t receive any treatment for the condition.

The most common reason for not getting mental healthcare was not being able to afford it.

The researchers noted that although the 20% figure is “relatively high,” just 5% reported having serious issues that interfered with their normal activities.

Although more of those with serious mental illness reported receiving treatment, a large proportion — 39% — didn’t receive any mental health services.

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On Living As A Real-Life Psychopath

americanpsycho2Wondering what it would be like to walk in Patrick Bateman’s shoes? From author Jon Ronson, a letter he received in response to The Psychopath Test, his much-talked-about book published a couple months ago, from a young psychopath (who felt no or guilt or emotion, but an overwhelming urge to prey on others). Can you empathize?

I just saw your interview on Australia’s ABC 7:30 report on ‘The Psychopath Test’ and wanted to share my experience. I hope that it can remain confidential for the time being, seeing as it is quite personal.

But, when I was 19 (I’m 26-27 now) I went into long-term therapy – for psychopathy.

My case was rather unusual in that I self-referred. The mental health agency had not had a walk-in of this kind before. In the lead up, I had found myself becoming overwhelmed with a predatorial instinct that I could not shake – I’d sit, watching crowds of people go by, driven to mania by what I saw as their limitless inferiorities.

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40 Percent Of Europeans Have Mental Illness

blogstagefright2The percentage will only increase, with an aging population, the stresses of modern life, et cetera, which leads to the question: What happens when the majority of the public across an entire continent are classified as ‘mentally ill’? Via Reuters:

Europeans are plagued by mental and neurological illnesses, with almost 165 million people or 38 percent of the population suffering each year from a brain disorder such as depression, anxiety, insomnia or dementia, according to a large new study.

With only about a third of cases receiving the therapy or medication needed, mental illnesses cause a huge economic and social burden — measured in the hundreds of billions of euros — as sufferers become too unwell to work and personal relationships break down.

“The immense treatment gap … for mental disorders has to be closed,” said Hans Ulrich Wittchen, director of the institute of clinical psychology and psychotherapy at Germany’s Dresden University and the lead investigator on the European study.

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Mental Illness ‘In A Dish’

Cell culture in a petri dish. Photo: Jacopo Werther (CC)

Cell culture in a petri dish. Photo:

Researchers are using skin cells from patients with mental illnesses, such s schizophrenia, to grow new tissue as neurons. The hope is to find a genetic based influence for mental disorders and recognize the early stages of such diseases. From Ewen Callaway via Nature News:

Before committing suicide at the age of 22, an anonymous man with schizophrenia donated a biopsy of his skin cells to research. Reborn as neurons, these cells may help neuroscientists to unpick the disease he struggled with from early childhood.

Experiments on these cells, as well as those of several other patients, are reported today in Nature1. They represent the first of what are sure to be many mental illnesses ‘in a dish’, made by reprogramming patients’ skin cells to an embryonic-like state from which they can form any tissue type.

Recreating neuropsychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder using such cells represents a daunting challenge: scientists do not know the underlying biological basis of mental illnesses; symptoms vary between patients; and although psychiatric illnesses are strongly influenced by genes, it has proved devilishly hard to identify many that explain more than a fraction of a person’s risk.

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The Strange, Sad History Of The Lobotomy


Orbitoclast, used in transorbital lobotomy. Photo: John Kloepper, Central States Hospital, Milledgeville, GA (CC)

A truly informative article from Annalee Newitz on io9:

If you thought that scene in Sucker Punch where the doctor gave lobotomies with an ice pick was artistic exaggeration — well, it wasn’t. That’s exactly how Walter Freeman, a popularizer of lobotomies in the 1940s, performed thousands of operations.

In the mid-twentieth century, the lobotomy was such a popular “cure” for mental illness that Freeman’s former research partner António Egas Moniz was awarded the 1949 Nobel Prize for Medicine for his role in perfecting the operation. Moniz and Freeman had a falling out after Freeman started using an ice pick-shaped instrument to perform up to 25 lobotomies a day, without anaesthesia, while reporters looked on.

Freeman’s crazy antics didn’t scare off potential patients, though: John F. Kennedy’s sister Rosemary got a lobotomy from Freeman, which left her a vegetable for the rest of her life.

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Why Our Soldiers Are Falling Apart

soldiers110214_2_250New York Magazine delves into the tidal wave of returning soldiers tormented by severe psychological problems and outfitted with cocktail-like regimens of drugs for sleeping, stress, psychosis, and muscle relaxation. Contributing factors include everything from the nature of insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan to Facebook to the failings of modern medicine:

The nature of this conflict is also quite unusual. As in Vietnam, the enemy blends in with civilians, rendering everyone a potential threat; but unlike in Vietnam, this war is fought in cities as much as in the hinterlands, which means soldiers are never allowed to mentally decompress.

There’s no front in this war, and no rear either, which means there’s no place to go where the mortar rounds aren’t. “I was up at Walter Reed the other day,” Chiarelli tells me on the airplane, “and I ran into a young kid who lost both his legs, wayyyyyy up. I asked him, ‘How did it happen?’ You know what he said?” He pauses, looks at me intently.

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Millions Of ‘Mentally Ill’ People Missing From National Gun Check System

Photo: Lukáš Lahoda (CC)

Photo: Lukáš Lahoda (CC)

Just in case a convicted felon can’t get a gun on the black market, he may have a chance to obtain it legally. Raw Story reports:

The issue of gun control leapt back into the national discourse in the wake of January’s Tucson massacre.

But one of the most shocking gaps in the effort to prevent people prohibited by law from purchasing firearms continues to fly beneath the radar. Records of at least two million dangerously mentally ill individuals whose names should already be in the nation’s criminal background check system remain missing.

Tens of thousands of people’s records that would fall into other legally disqualifying categories in the background check system are also missing, with convicted felons high on the list. Yet Raw Story confirmed with experts on gun control that records of those whose mental illness has been legally determined to be a danger to themselves or others far outnumber the unreported information of individuals in other prohibiting categories.

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Outcome of Minors Being Interrogated Without Parental Knowledge


Photo: Depiction of "good cop, bad cop" interrogation style often displayed in films and television

Officers of the law go through training on how to interrogate a suspect or witness. The tactics that are used can determine the outcome of a testimony and, in this case, the mentality of a 13 year-old boy. The boy, previously diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, was questioned about the allegations against the father for sexual abuse against his autistic daughter. The officer seems to have forgotten that a man is innocent until proven guilty, and has decided that he’s guilty until the “evidence” can be proven true. The look at his interrogation tapes (linked below) proves that instead of finding truth in the case, a family is torn apart and a son loses trust in his father. Free Press reporter Brian Dicerkson discusses the case:

On Dec. 4, 2007, without notice to a legal guardian appointed to represent the boy, West Bloomfield Police Detective Joseph Brousseau interrogated a 13-year-old witness about allegations of sexual abuse against his father.

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Jon Stewart Reacts To The Arizona Shootings

Jon Stewart takes a moment to have a heart-to-heart with his viewers on the cycle of craziness and patriotism after the Arizona tragedy. As he stumbles through trying to make sense of the incident he reminds us that whether politics or visual violence was a factor behind the motivation of the killings, “you cannot out smart crazy.”

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