Stigmatization and cost of treating failures in cognitive processing

Stigmatization and cost of treating failures in cognitive processing

When somebody breaks a leg, or has a kidney infection or gets a heart valve replaced we don't cast dispersions about the person per se, they're just a regular person with a broken leg, or a kidney infection or what have you.

But when there is a disease of the brain we ending up using the most utterly charming terms for that person: they're retarded, they're mental, they're lunatics. Somehow because the disease affects the brain and not the kidney suddenly they're somebody who is deemed bad in some way even the words are uncomfortable to use and are in fact used as terms of derision in language for as long as there's been language. "He's mental", "she's a retard", "he's a lunatic... what he says doesn't matter" and no great distinction is made from somebody who is completely sane but has a seemingly bizarre position on some subject and somebody who has a brain chemistry problem manifesting as aberrant physical behavior by a person who is intellectually agrees that such behavior is not rational or "sane".

So then, "mental hospitals" are not thought of as with the same happy ideals that "the hospotal" is in our language - a place where (at least for the most part) sick people go to and they come back cured and healthy, no, mwntal hospitals are thought of more a "a place to keep crazy people that we can't really put in prison. Or just kill outright".

So we tend to forget about them. It's uncomfortable to even have to use the words so we just ignore the whole mess.

And this point is driven home with no greater force in my opinion than to look at what would happen if remediating a broken bone, treating an infected kidney or replacing a defective heart rate had the same cure rate we have for schizophrenia, depression or any of the other neuroses and psychoses that are frankly quite rampant today in every country in the world. It's not a joke any more that the world has gone crazy, the rising rate is in fact something much more to be alarmed at that any other fears warned about on a nearly dialy basis on the TV news; this is comparable to the AIDS epidemic.

So, now that there has been an impetus to do something about this, there is some meta data and medical statistician Harry Foster and lipid biochemist David Horrobin documented this in a study of the cost per cure, by any sense a fairly reasonable metric, of curing people that have schizophrenia.

    On October 27, 2000, King County in Washington State, by a vote of 11 to 1, passed a very unusual ordinance. This directed psychiatrists working in the state mental health system to make their patients well and to report annually on how successful they had been in achieving this goal. The ordinance defined exactly what was to be considered a mental health recovery. Such a former patient had to be able to meet four criteria. They must have become well enough to engage in volunteer work, or be employed full or part-time, or be engaged in culturally appropriate activities, or be pursuing educational or vocational opportunities. Secondly, a recovered mental patient had to be living independently or in supported housing. Thirdly, they must have been discharged from the county's publicly funded mental health system or, at most, be receiving only infrequent maintenance services. Lastly, when tested they must be able to score 81 or more on the Global Assessment of Function Scale. This scale measures such things as aggression, ability to communicate, and level of personal hygiene.

    It is now some 3 years since this ordinance was passed and the required initial report on the efficacy of the system has been issued, covering the period January 1 through December 31, 2001. King County, Washington is not a rural backwater. It is one of the most progressive counties in the US, the location of Seattle. So what did the residents of King County get for the more than $90 million they spent on mental health in 2001? According to the first mandated report, 7,831 mental patients, mainly schizophrenics and patients with major depression,were treated during the year. Of these, 6,949 (88.7%) showed no change, 597 (8%) displayed some improvement, 285 (4%)regressed, and four (0.05%) recovered. Put another way, ifyou suffered from schizophrenia, major depression, or other mental illness in King County during 2001, your chance of a full recovery was less that one in one thousand.

    That is, the residents of the Seattle area are paying over $22 million for each mental health recovery.

    In Medieval times, victims of the bubonic plague had a far better chance of recovery than this. Treated with hot onion, fig, and treacle poultices or partially plucked pigeons to draw off poisons from their swollen lymphnodes, they were much more likely to completely recover than schizophrenics receiving the best treatments that modern psychiatry has to offer. If you believe that this is acceptable,throw this book away. If not, seriously consider the alternative treatments that stem from an acceptance of the adrenochrome hypotheses.

    H.D. Foster, "What really causes schizophrenia" P 208-209