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Insanity Offense: How Americas Failure To Treat The Seriously Mentally Ill Endange Hardcover – 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The ill effects of not providing proper treatment for people with serious mental disorders has become all too apparent in recent years, writes research psychiatrist and treatment advocate Torrey (Surviving Manic-Depression). Released en masse from institutions beginning in the 1960s, the most severely ill are most likely to become homeless, incarcerated, victimized, and/or violent. Torrey details how civil liberties suits have prevented such people from being involuntarily institutionalized, leaving them a danger both to themselves and to others. Confronting these issues head on, Torrey offers both the clinical and the anecdotal, citing several tragic examples: in the case of Cho Seung-Hui, the 2007 Virginia Tech killer, he faults both the university and stringent state laws regarding involuntary commitment for neglecting to treat a clearly very ill young man. This reform-minded book calls for a change in laws affecting how mentally ill people are treated, keeping close track of those with a history of violent behavior and creating a more comprehensive treatment approach. Chilling and well documented, this text has many no-nonsense solutions to protect the mentally ill themselves as well as society as a whole. (July)
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Torrey's book describes a nation that has been unable to come up with a humane mental health policy—one that protects the ill from their own demons and society from their rare but deadly outbursts. — David Brooks (New York Times) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Deinstitutionalization was a policy to move psychiatric patients out of public mental hospitals and place them in the community. The trend began after WWII, sparked by a series of exposes of dreadful conditions in state psychiatric hospitals and aided by the discovery of effective anti-psychotic drugs in the early 1950s. Unfortunately, essential after care in most places varied from inadequate to invisible.
Additional impetus came from the legal profession via logic that civil liberties were violated when patients were involuntarily treated in most cases, including refusing to take medications.
An estimated 4 million American adults have the most severe forms of psychiatric disorders - schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and sever depression. The most severe 1% are the ones most in need of enforced treatment.
Relatively simple solutions that Torrey recommends include direct observation of medication-taking (backed up by required inpatient commitment if not complied with), the use of longer-lasting medications (eg. single injections that provide treatment over 3-4 weeks), and compilation of local statistics that reveal the true cost of untreated mental illnesses.
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