stigma

David Earl Johnson, LICSW

3 minute read

Time To Change The stigma about Schizophrenia is huge. Popular media exploits the topic for ratings, not necessarily to better inform the public. Often the results more misinform rather than educate. A different kind of stigma has a problem within the mental health industry. Up until a couple of decades ago, new practitioners were trained to believe that people with schizophrenia get worse with age, and have no hope for recovery.

David Earl Johnson, LICSW

1 minute read

The sad thing about Cho, is that his problem was well beyond the ability of the school and mental health system had with which to cope. Even though Cho appeared to have been pretty well served by the high school in their special ed program, there were deeper seated problems than just an anxiety disorder. Could a similar support program in college headed off the massacre? Possibly. But it also may not have.

David Earl Johnson, LICSW

24 minute read

[Updated] Ideas about treating schizophrenia seem to be gradually coming full circle. What began as little more than blaming, shaming and confining, evolved over hundreds years into a state policy of institutional care with “humane treatment”. Over the next hundred years treatment has evolved into primarily a highly professionalized medication regime with an inconsistently available community based supports. Now there is evidence that early intervention in the course of schizophrenia with psychotherapy, medication, and consistently applied community based supports may sometimes prevent the usual long-term permanent disability. Medication alone is not sufficient treatment. What has always been assumed as a manifestation of the illness, may in fact be a by-product of a paternalistic and de-humanizing treatment by the community and service agencies as well as isolation due to the pervasive experience of stigma and discrimination by the individual. In this article, I will review some of the relevant history of treating schizophrenia, and reveal the uncanny convergence of new seemingly unrelated research that could shift the paradigm in the treatment of schizophrenia. This article is an expression of my opinion, not peer reviewed literature. In fact, I invite my peers to comment tell me where I’m wrong or help me develop the ideas presented herein.

David Earl Johnson, LICSW

4 minute read

Mental Nurse posted a wake up call for caregivers today. Please note she writes with tongue firmly inserted in cheek. Service users are time-wasters. They want to be in hospital, are happy to be dependent on professional carers and are ready, willing and eager to become institutionalised as soon as they fall into our grasping hands. Sound familiar to anyone out there? …probably not, but now replace the general with the specific, and I wonder how many staff have either heard these words uttered from the mouths of colleagues…or even, dare I say it, have said it themselves: “Patient x shouldn’t be here, s/he’s just wasting our time….

David Earl Johnson, LICSW

7 minute read

Prior to about 1960, mental ill individuals were warehoused in state funded hospitals which provided structure and asylum for people who created at least a nuisance for the community and a hardship for families and others feared. Periodic expose’s about the deplorable conditions in these settings and the development of modern psychotropic medications lead to realistic alternatives in the community. Deinstitutionalization like all great policy ideas, began as a noble mission, and gradually was distorted into a means to save tax dollars.

David Earl Johnson, LICSW

3 minute read

I find it increasing disturbing what people find entertainment these days. I guess I shouldn’t. It hasn’t been that long ago that Romans turned out by the thousands to watch lions devour Christians. American TV audiences seem to relish watching people immersed in bugs or snakes. I remember watching “I Love Lucy” and loving her antics and cheering for her to get one over on Ricky. But watching people under pressure engage in self-destructive behavior is not something I’d call entertainment.

David Earl Johnson, LICSW

3 minute read

The personal aspect of stigma is the most damaging kind. As the old adage goes, an insult only hurts when the victim believes it at some level true. Similarly, stigma in the form of discrimination to the extent it limits someone’s choices, certainly provokes a righteous and potentially empowering anger if directed in some constructive action. But if the victim at some level believes she is deserving, often she may suffer a damaging blow to self-esteem which may worsen anxiety or depression.

David Earl Johnson, LICSW

3 minute read

Psychiatry has always been a step-child within medicine. The problem may well have been a product of the Freudian revolution in psychiatry that lasted one hundred years. Sigmund dared to ask if the mind functioned effectively like any other bodily system. At the time psychosomatic medicine was the the main stream, not a muddy concept wedded to psychiatry. Reducing stress was considered a central part of any treatment regime for illness.

David Earl Johnson, LICSW

2 minute read

This is really disturbing. Fortunately lawyers tend to be a contentious bunch so there will be lots of fur and paper flying about this. There is no justification of this sort of invasion of privacy unless there is a history of risk to self or others. Then there is an obligation for a thorough review. This is discrimination, nothing less. Markham’s Behavioral Health Connecticut’s State Bar Examining committee is now asking attorney applicants to the state bar if they have been treated for depression along with other major psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, and bi-polar illness acording to an article on Lawyer.