Breakdown: The Right Title for a Much-Needed Book

I’ve often wondered what treating patients with SMI (Serious Mental Illness) is like for medical professionals. I want to know, too, what the intake process is like for clinicians, and whether they feel as frustrated with the system as we family members do. This book answers these questions, and more.

Through it all, author Lynn Nanos, L.I.C.S.W., shows such concern, knowledge, and caring for people like my son Ben (who is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia), that I kept wishing she were on the team treating and caring for Ben right now.

I had to sharpen my pencil several times, I underlined so many facts and observations.

Five Shocking Facts

Five things that either stuck with me or surprised me – and, after nine hospitalizations for my son Ben, I thought I knew it all…

  1. Often the “easier-to-manage” psychiatric patients get admitted, instead of those who need the help the most, because they are cheaper and less difficult to manage.  Those admitted include “malingerers” who just want to get off the street for “three hots and a cot” and can fake psychosis.
  2. Connecticut (where I live) is one of only three states in the U.S. (along with Maryland and Massachusetts) that do not have laws allowing AOT (Assisted Outpatient Treatment), something that most definitely would benefit my son.
  3. Yes, untreated schizophrenia can increase the incidence of violence.  And often, when the voices tell a schizophrenia patient to harm someone, it’s someone they know…and usually love.
  4. Regarding RLC’s (Recovery Learning Communities, often staffed by “peer specialists who endorse the possibility that signs of psychosis are normal”):  ” Researchers found no significant benefits…to help the seriously mentally ill population”- of which my son is one. I live in fear of those who would try to “teach” him to get off his meds. And yet the government allows antipsychiatry to infiltrate programs it runs. (Chapter 18)
  5. Why do psychotic people not engage in treatment? Nanos lists 17 reasons, and “stigma” was not among them. She argues (backed up by research) that stigma is overrated as a reason to not seek treatment for the seriously mentally ill. She says not one patient has ever mentioned that as a barrier to seeking help.

Lynn Nanos knows her stuff, truly cares about her cases, and fights for what’s right – while fearless in exposing the cracks in the system.

Highly recommended reading.

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