Mental Illness


We see them on the streets holding their signs reading, “Will work for food,” but the people who give them money know they are not mentally capable to work. Mental illness is a growing problem in society, yet society may be the reason for the growing number of the mental ill people. Before the more modern society, mentally ill people could have fit in as farmers and minor labors. Today the work force has become more complex due to education. People with severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression may suffer the inability for social relationships, which reduces the person’s ability for employment (Tessler 9).


A movement began in the sixties to get as may people with mental illness out of state hospitals and into the community, often for economic reasons, by state mental health departments and managed care companies (hospitalization being the most expensive form of treatment). This puts the burden on the community and families of the mentally ill if families are available or willing (Neugeboren 98). When treatment is going on outside an institution, the issue is where is the mentally ill person is going to live. Families, whom take on role of housing provider, find it to be a costly burden. The worries and distress of a crisis or mostly attempted suicides seem to be the consequences to the families. Alternatives to living with families, is putting the person in a halfway house. These halfway houses are usually in rundown neighborhoods, and mentally ill persons wondering the streets without supervision.


Before advancements in anti-psychotic and anti-depressive drugs, the mental ill where put in hospitals for years or sometimes their whole life. Now doctors have come out with new drugs that help regulate mood and thought. In many ways these drugs have been a success, but in many cases would worsen a mental illness. This is due to improper doses or the wrong drug. Determining the right drugs and doses has its own problems. At times, it is difficult to tell one mental disorder from another. For instance, some people with symptoms of schizophrenia exhibit prolonged extremes of elated or depressed mood, and it is important to determine whether such a patient has schizophrenia or actually has a manic-depressive disorder or major depressive disorder (NIMH). Secondly, there is no set diagnosis for many of these illnesses like a blood or urine sample that can tell if a person is pregnant or has cancer. Therefore, it’s based on an opinion of a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist tries to determine the right drug and dose to use. Sometimes the psychiatrist gets it wrong making an illness worse due to the drugs’ side effects. Yet, the use of drugs has been one of the biggest successes. Historicity people gave the mentally ill people opium and a plant called Rauwolfia used to calm when the person caused a crisis. Now doctors use the same drug in Rauwolfia, under the trade name Serpasil, for the same purpose (Mckown 2).


As doctors do their best to help the mental ill, it seems as though there may be no solution to the mental illness problem even a cure for some might not be enough. Why is cure not good enough? Well, finding a solution would mean having control over an individual, but how well can a person control someone else?