Individuals with severe mental illness (SMI) should be forced into treatment
Debate Rounds (3)
1. Individuals with SMI have impaired awareness of their illness. Most do not realize that they are sick, and therefore don't seek treatment.
2. Not treating individuals with SMI leads to homelessness. Is it fair to leave those who are not aware of their own illness living in the streets and eating out of garbage cans?
3. 10% of all homicides in the United States are committed by individuals with SMI. 99% of those homicides could have been prevented if such individuals were being treated.
4. Some people claim that forced treatment violates the freedoms of persons with SMI. However, one must ask, is a person with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder who is living on the streets truly free in any meaningful sense?
5. It's the condition, not forced treatment, that takes away the liberties of individuals with SMI. Individuals with SMI have proven themselves time and time again they cannot properly exercise their liberties.
6. In one study of patients who had been involuntarily medicated, 71% later agreed with the following statement: "If I become ill again and require medication, I believe it should be given to me even if I don't want it at the time." In another study, 60% of patients who had been forcibly medicated agreed retrospectively that it was a good idea.
7. The final word on this belongs to Herschel Hardin, who for 9 years was a director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association:
"The opposition to involuntary committal and treatment betrays a profound understanding of the principle of civil liberties. Medication can free victims from their illness-free them from the Bastille of their psychoses-and restore their dignity, their free will, and the meaningful exercise of their liberties."
The origin of mental illness is commonly thought to be genetic, although environmental stress may aggravate a condition. A well known example of a genetic mental illness is depression which results from faulty selective serotonin re-uptake inhibiting proteins in the brain. I'm not going to suggest a strict breeding policy here, that would be rude. What i would suggest instead of a breeding policy and locking up the mentally ill is making mutagenic substances which effect genes less accessible. This would mean removing the sale of alcohol, tobacco and other commodities. People complain about the economic loss from this action, do they care about the homocidal consequences of mental illness enough however? Also a capable economist would be able to alter the financial difference with levies and taxes if it was decided to be beneficial to the typical upstanding citizens liberties. Altzheimers, Parkinsons and many mental illnesses are commodity related also. Why not change the diet of affluent nations from alcohol and fatty foods to green tea and salmon rich in catechins and linoleic acid to prevent a build up of beta amyloid plaques. What i'm trying to say is it is unfair to punish the perceived mentally ill for the mistakes made by their parents and others around them; a mental illness is a horrible thing to have because of how people treat the mentally ill and we should be more sensitive. If we don't deal with underlying causes producing illness the problem remains.
Is it not also hippocrisy to say that certain people are mentally ill under the Freudian definition that "they are a harm to themselves and others around them" given the side effects and nature of some treatments? It is persecuting one person for negative behaviour whilst empowering others. Exposing a person to a potentially harmful drug is just as harmful as what the patient is accused of, how is compromising the welfare of one persons for another's reasonable? Not to mention other methods used such as conjugal role therapy and electro shock therapy which is quite frankly just bullying. I agree that the situation needs to be dealt with and that mental illness does exist, but, if the range of treatments available are drugging and bullying why can this not be done in the home and not called domestic abuse or victimisation? Better yet why can't mental illness be dealt with compassionately by relatives and those with so much money they need to occupy their time with those less fortunate? stop rejecting them and admit you have a problem.
A part of my mind is assuming that many would prefer to detain the mentally ill and administer medication and other therapies as this is much quicker and accessible. If we all click our fingers and decide to do the more humanitarian thing and care more for our sick relatives and the less fortunate however the solution could be just as quick. We all have access to the internet and other sophisticated methods of communication, this should be easy to do in an organised society which recognises the ramifications of our actions on others. Perhaps mental illness is more diffused than reported, apathy is a symptom of depressive disorders, mental health is said to be correlated with IQ also; it is clear to see that treating the individual will not stop the production of other ill individuals in a schizophregenic society where mind altering drugs and harmful mutagenic substances are readily available.
In the case of street homeless folk that you mention i would suggest detainment combined with social intervention into general drug use and childcare not a physical application of medication or other methods. At the very most psychotherapy should be advised for the individual, and if so by trusted professionals and not someone with bias as is so often the case.
On the topic of homocide too, as you mentioned it in your post, does an individual need to be mad to commit homocide, "the act of a human killing a human"? If so many civil wars experienced throughout history are therefore insane? You mention that 99% of killings in America are committed by the mentally ill, was it the act of homocide which suggested an illness or was there a pre diagnosed condition? in the first case isn't it logical to say that homocide is seen as insane and Reaganism is far less popular than supposed in America or is this supporting evidence for the negative consequences of labelling the mentally ill ( http://en.wikipedia.org... ). To be seriously mentally ill there would have to be a serious problem presenting in the first place i would imagine, problematic illness would not lead to homocidal behaviour rather homocide or something equally important would be an indicator, otherwise i wouldn't waste my money on public health care.
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