No One Cares About Crazy People Book Summary, by Ron Powers

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Overview

Depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia are mental illnesses that can take many forms. For example, depression is experienced by teens who struggle with their emotions. Severe schizophrenia causes people to experience extreme paranoia. Regardless of the form they take, all three mental illnesses require medical treatment rather than confinement in prison or on the streets.

Mental health policies took a turn for the worse in the 1970s. This resulted in suffering for patients and terror for families, as well as a sizable financial burden on taxpayers. The court decision that sealed mental illness’s fate was made back then, and this is what caused these problems. Freedom isn’t always ideal; sometimes it can be harmful to people with mental illnesses. Mental illness packed America’s prisons because of one court decision from decades ago.

Big Idea #1: Schizophrenia is a mental disorder caused by genetic and environmental factors, and it can be devastating.

Schizophrenia can be a very difficult disorder to live with, as it affects the brain and may make it hard for people to function. It tends to appear during adolescence when the brain is undergoing a lot of changes.

Schizophrenia is caused by certain genes that are present from birth, but symptoms don’t usually show up until adolescence.

The brain prunes synapses during a person’s late teens and early twenties. This process gets rid of the unnecessary ones, leaving space for new ones that are more important in adulthood. However, this can cause problems if it affects the genes involved in schizophrenia. If these genes get activated at any point after that, they will result in symptoms of schizophrenia or another mental disorder like delusions and paranoia.

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that can be triggered by stress. Stress can cause the onset of schizophrenia, especially if it’s the first time someone faces serious stress in their life.

Cannabis use can trigger psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. This is because there are genes that predispose a person to develop them. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal cited many prestigious medical journals, like the Lancet, which confirmed this link between cannabis use and psychosis.

Big Idea #2: Mental illness has been de-legitimized and denied, resulting in horrific suffering for patients.

Have you heard of Thomas Szasz? He was a psychiatrist who felt that mental illness should not be treated with medication. Instead, he wanted to help people live their lives as they saw fit.

His influential book The Myth of Mental Illness was published in 1961. It helped to increase skepticism about mental illness and its existence. In the book, Szasz claimed that what is commonly known as mental illness are behaviors that society finds annoying and inconvenient; he argued that the mind cannot be measured or seen, therefore it’s not tangible.

This book changed the way mental health was viewed by medical professionals. It caused a decline in the number of people who chose to specialize in that field.

In 1975, the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to hospitalize or medicate a person with mental illness without her consent.

It can be hard to help someone who is suffering from schizophrenia because they are often not able to recognize that they need help. It takes time to get a court order and the person usually doesn’t ask for treatment themselves.

This is complicated by the fact that people with schizophrenia who don’t get treatment for long periods tend to have even worse symptoms.

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Despite being dangerous, Szasz co-founded the Citizens Commission on Human Rights in 1969 to push for his perspective. The group remains active and has influenced how mental illness is viewed within psychiatry.

No One Cares About Crazy People Book Summary, by Ron Powers

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