Imsmart, I must say, you probably have not been in psychosis. Nor have you lived with someone with psychosis. These poor people are not guilty. They do not see the world as you do. Their perceptions are all warped. They are victims of a malfunctioning brain. They are not criminals. But they can be dangerous. As a society, we need to spot them early, and treat them. We cannot just leave them on the street, or leave them to wander, lost in insanity. We do not treat animals this way.
WildWilly68 -- think about this.
The people who need to be trained to understand psychosis (see my post earlier) are those who give out gun permits or sell guns. Sure the criminals who are not crazy can get guns. But the people who shoot up schools and shopping centers are not criminals - they are mentally ill people. Those are the people who must not get guns. They are deranged, usually naive. They will be going to gun stores or shows or ordering online. It is there that they must be stopped.
I must say, the idea of all of us arming ourselves because we may be victims of a deranged person - well, this is just crazy. You can have a gun - but leave it at home. The right to bear arms is not about walking down the street with a 'piece'. If a tyrant takes over the government, we will all have time to go home and get our guns!
This young man is suffering from psychosis. He has delusional thinking and creates frameworks in his mind. He shows grandiosity, paranoia and a fixation on a few themes - terrorism, mind control, religion, grammar. He may have schizophrenia or perhaps bipolar illness (severe, with psychosis, type I). My wife and I are the parents of a young man with bipolar I. He is 28 now and very well, completing a graduate degree. When he was 22 and finished his B.A. degree in New England, he began behaving strangely, showing paranoia. We thought he was taking drugs. It took us two more years to realize how sick he was and we only knew this after my wife and I visited a psychologist for advice. We got him committed to hospital (very difficult to do, as he claimed to be very well) and on lithium and an anti-psychotic drug. The difference was miraculous. All of the strange behavior ceased and he remembered everything, telling us why he made faces, was hearing voices telling him to do things. He was well for six months and then the psychiatrist decided to remove the anti-psychotic drug. About a year later we noticed him again commenting about God and sinners and talking in delusional ways. He believed that an actor in a movie was sending him messages. It was difficult to get him back to hospital - the laws are so skewed toward civil liberties and absolute proof - but we finally succeeded and he was immediately put back on the anti-psychotic. Within a few days he began to talk sense again and within a few more weeks was quite well -- returning to university. Our son has never resisted taking the drugs prescribed to him. He has not smoked pot or taken street drugs since he was a freshman in college ten years ago. He drinks 3 or 4 beers a week. We know because he has lived with us these past six years and we have watched him closely. Soon he will be starting a new job and moving to his own apartment. He now has many normal traditional-values friends who are in university or are working.
About 2% of the population will have psychosis -- half from schizophrenia and half from bipolar. Psychosis is caused by problems of brain chemistry. Until 30 years ago, it was not treatable and people spent their lives institutionalized. Now, with newer drugs, perhaps 80% or more of cases are treatable and these people can have productive lives. The illness is not curable - they must always take the medications, even into their 80s - until they die.
People with psychosis are not inherently dangerous. Their basic personalities don't change. What happens is that their perceptions are messed up and their logic doesn't work correctly. Psychosis affects all races, all classes, both sexes the same. There is a hereditary component to it and it can skip generations. You may have a child or grandchild with it, or an ancestor who had it. About one in five of these people who are untreated will eventually commit suicide, because a voice told them to do it or because their hate the lives that they are trapped in.
A major problem for this country is that Hollywood has characterized this illness as spooky and evil -- a medieval view of it -- in order to make money. As a people we need to fix this. Many of the people living on the street suffer psychosis. They often will take drugs to seek relief -- drugs themselves do not cause psychosis. This is a neglected illness in the USA.
Everything that a psychotic person perceives or imagines comes from their environment. We can see that. Almost all psychotic people are pretty normal in their early years, with these symptoms appearing in their late teens or early twenties.
Jared's actions were preventable. If people recognized the behavior for what it is and if the laws did not make it so difficult to confine people for a few days, if psychiatrists didn't fear being sued by the patient -- then people like Jared, mostly, would respond to medications and become normal.
Two percent of 300 million means that about six million Americans living today will have an episode of psychosis or even be psychotic for much of their lives. We cannot ignore this problem. The medications are not expensive. We need to learn about it and get help for those who get this, through no fault of their own.
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