( Read Kindle ) ô No One Cares About Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America ⚤ eBook or Kindle ePUB free

( Read Kindle ) ⚨ No One Cares About Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America ì New York Times bestselling author Ron Powers offers a searching, richly researched narrative of the social history of mental illness in America paired with the deeply personal story of his two sons battles with schizophreniaFrom the centuries of torture of lunatiks at Bedlam Asylum to the infamous eugenics era to the follies of the anti psychiatry movement to the current landscape in which too many families struggle alone to manage afflicted love ones, Powers limns our fears and myths about mental illness and the fractured public policies that have resulted Braided with that history is the moving story of Powers s beloved son Kevin spirited, endearing, and gifted who triumphed even while suffering from schizophrenia until finally he did not, and the story of his courageous surviving son Dean, who is also schizophrenicA blend of history, biography, memoir, and current affairs ending with a consideration of where we might go from here, this is a thought provoking look at a dreaded illness that has long been misunderstood This text weaves two major threads an opinionated history of the treatment of mental illness, mostly in the U.S., and a tragic memoir of the author s sons gifted and schizophrenic There s conflict between these threads I tried to read this as a history and at times felt an excessive number of pages were spent on juvenilia and family emails This is forgivable, of course I can t imagine a parent s sense of loss from these events, and it s clear that every scrap of happier times would be tr This text weaves two major threads an opinionated history of the treatment of mental illness, mostly in the U.S., and a tragic memoir of the author s sons gifted and schizophrenic There s conflict between these threads I tried to read this as a history and at times felt an excessive number of pages were spent on juvenilia and family emails This is forgivable, of course I can t imagine a parent s sense of loss from these events, and it s clear that every scrap of happier times would be treasured.The book s thesis seems to be that parents should be able to involuntarily commit their adult, mentally ill children to institutions without court order, which I could not agree with The author believes this power might have spared his family at least some portion of the pain recorded here, but, with all respect for what his family went through, this isn t clear Much of what the author identifies as the sons prodromal phase wasn t distinguishable from youthful angst and self discovery some of the worst events occurred when the sons had already returned to parental care The author may have been able to build a stronger case by includingindividual stories, but the structure of the book, split between the specificity of his own family and a general high level history, didn t allow for that.I was forced instead to compare the stories of my own mentally ill friends I recently had to get a friend to an emergency room after she had a bad episode knowing her full situation, I would never want her parents to have that power Should an abusive, disapproving parent be able to involuntarily commit an adult LGBT child to an institution even into her 20s or 30s mental illness or no The proposal might make sense for happily nuclear middle class families like the author s, but families come in all sorts, and I don t trust that the kinds of families recognizable by governments should be given a fast track to lock away people over the objections of their families of choice.The author doesn t address this very real possibility of abuse, or the mental health costs of institutionalization itself He mentions he attended a legislative hearing about a similar plan where many mentally ill people and their friends spoke out against it, but in this book s greatest deficit, he gives them no voices here Instead he avers that the only reason not to grant this power is a libertarian perspective, blithely dismissed without review I m no libertarian, but I m certainly cautious about how such powers can be used to harm and limit people, especially marginalized people, abused people, and my own friends.I ll grant that, if we ever manage to build kind, rehabilitating mental health facilities on a sufficient scale and we should try they d be often preferred to the prisons and streets where many mentally ill people live currently However many, many mentally ill people flourish anyway, and if they d all been preemptively locked up, there would have been no way to know who would have succeeded, who would have loved, and who found beauty of the sort that doesn t bloom in even a very large cage This was an extremely painful book to read, not least because I have a history of mental illness in my family Both my mother and her mother committed suicide same method, same place and I grew up visiting the local mental hospital where my mother stayed for long periods of time She died in 1979, when I was 26 By then she was largely vegetative as a result of over 70 electric shock treatments she had permanent burn scars on her temples.And so I found it shocking to read not only the appalling This was an extremely painful book to read, not least because I have a history of mental illness in my family Both my mother and her mother committed suicide same method, same place and I grew up visiting the local mental hospital where my mother stayed for long periods of time She died in 1979, when I was 26 By then she was largely vegetative as a result of over 70 electric shock treatments she had permanent burn scars on her temples.And so I found it shocking to read not only the appalling and, unfortunately, familiar history of mental health care in my new, adopted country, but that some of these practices are still taking place Of course, there were no beatings or solitary confinement in my mother s hospital, but mental illness was a stigma and poorly understood Today, mentally ill people can be committed to hospital in the UK, something that can only take place in the US if the patient has shown sufficient evidence of an imminent threat to him herself or others as Mr Powers intimates, this is often too late for early intervention and treatment This assumes, however, that there are beds available For those not able to secure sparse psychiatric care including thousands of military veterans, the homeless we see on our streets, and many of those in our jails, there is little help, although things may be improving on both the scientific and legislative sides This help didn t come quickly enough for Mr Powers beloved younger son, Kevin, but I hope with all my heart that his older son, Dean, continues his journey of recovery, if that is the appropriate word.Please do not let my comments above dissuade you This is a powerful book that should be read, and Mr Powers deserves our thanks for having the courage to write it This is a deeply emotional book about an important topic, and it seems to have found a large audience judging by the number of holds at my local library if not the number of ratings on Goodreads It s a great idea, alternating between nonfiction chapters about the nature and history of mental illness and a memoir of the author s family, including two sons with schizophrenia And as a journalist, the author has an engaging writing style that kept me wanting to read on It is marred, however, by This is a deeply emotional book about an important topic, and it seems to have found a large audience judging by the number of holds at my local library if not the number of ratings on Goodreads It s a great idea, alternating between nonfiction chapters about the nature and history of mental illness and a memoir of the author s family, including two sons with schizophrenia And as a journalist, the author has an engaging writing style that kept me wanting to read on It is marred, however, by odd choices in structure and focus In the end, there is far less about mental illness in it than I expected, and the author s major policy proposal involves disempowering the very people to whom he claims he wants to give a voice.The larger part of this book is the nonfiction, much of which is history The author writes a bit about the spiritual roles often held in traditional societies by people who would today be defined as mentally ill, before discussing the history of asylums they seem to have started out somewhere between prisons and zoos, to be later reformed in the era of Dorothea Dix and then deteriorate again And other low points eugenics Hitler was all about wiping out mental illness through murder, but the U.S pioneered forced sterilizations , lobotomies shudder , and deinstitutionalization the U.S closed most of its asylums in the 1960s, resulting in many of the mentally ill winding up on the streets or incarcerated For no reason I could discern, the chapter about the aftermath of WWII comes after the deinstitutionalization chapter, but it s otherwise roughly chronological.Powers s writing style is engaging, and there is useful information here for those who don t know much about the topic, but the nonfiction portions could have been much better When the subject is science what is schizophrenia, or the link between mental illness and creativity there s little actual science and lots of authorial speculation Powers spendstime detailing debunked theories with emotional appeal for him than laying out the facts When the subject is history, he has a tendency to go off on tangents at best loosely related to the topic of the book the eugenics chapter goes into detail on how Darwin came to travel on the Beagle, but neglects to mention that forced sterilization went on in the U.S until the 1970s.The chapter on antipsychotics is particularly off base I expected this chapter to answer such questions as how effective are antipsychotics What is it like to be on them How have these drugs changed in the sixty odd years since they first became available What are their disadvantages Instead we get a history of the development of the precursors to the first antipsychotic drugs, including biographical details of involved scientists, and then a long catalogue of misdeeds by drug companies, often not related to psychoactive drugs at all There s even a discussion of the intricacies of patent law that cause medication to be expensive in the U.S in the first place, and mention of Bernie Sanders bussing seniors up to Canada to buy cheaper meds As a piece of journalism it s fine, but that isn t why I picked up this book.The memoir portion is equally marked by odd choices of focus Three quarters of it takes place before either of the author s sons begins showing signs of schizophrenia I understand the author s desire to focus on the happy events in their lives, and even his drive to include supportive emails he sent his kids over the years Perhaps one of his goals was to get readers invested in Dean and Kevin as people rather than seeing them as representatives of an illness But a good writer could have done that while focusing on the years when they were actually sick they re still people, which is supposed to be the author s point, and they re hardly psychotic all the time And this structure winds up giving the impression that life ends with schizophrenia, that everything worth telling in his sons lives happened beforehand even though one of them is alive and apparently doing well.Again, there s a lot of authorial speculation and tangents here He theorizes that his older son, Dean, was moody and withdrawn as a teenager because he was in the early stages of the disease, never mind that Dean s first psychotic episode seems to have come around age 30 He discusses at length the social and judicial consequences of a car accident when Dean was 17, during which it becomes clear that he has a bone to pick with the other teenager s family who previously wrote their own book Dean s own opinions are noticeably absent The author will mention that he never asked how Dean felt about a particular event, or doesn t know some fact from Dean s life, leaving me wondering why he didn t just walk downstairs and ask Memoirists generally have living, non estranged family members read their manuscripts and share their memory of events, which could only have improved this book.Finally, though there s little discussion of specific policy proposals, Powers advocates throughout the book for parents having increased authority to force treatment on their unwilling adult children Of course, early diagnosis and treatment is extremely important to health outcomes, and it was clearly agonizing for Powers and his wife to watch Kevin go off his meds, insisting that he d gotten better But having recently read a horrifying account of involuntary commitment in another memoir, I m hesitant to say we should do this , and concerned by the author s pooh poohing of civil liberties concerns A basic tenet of a free society is that adults get to make their own life decisions, even if their judgment is terrible, as long as they abide by the law If someone is incompetent, the court can appoint a guardian Powers apparently believes this option is insufficient because there can be delay in which case the delay is the problem and, bafflingly, because this is not a medical hearing, with psychiatrists, but a judicial hearing, with a judge and lawyers Um, yes, this is how government works it s called due process of law and why courts exist There s nothing stopping psychiatrists from testifying in them.At any rate, the author doesn t seem to have thought this proposal through Does he believe in involuntary treatment only during episodes of acute psychosis, or indefinitely once someone has a diagnosis His experiences make it seem like the latter In which case, what diagnoses are sufficient How long does someone have to be stable to get their rights back Does he think parents should have this power for life, or only while their children are financially dependent young adults How would he prevent situations like Rosemary Kennedy s, where less conscientious parents choose a treatment that destroys their child in an attempt to make her easier to manage If the ill person is married, does the spouse get to dictate treatment Has he considered the ways mental illness already leaves people vulnerable to domestic violence you re crazy, so no one will believe you There s a long history of inconvenient women forced into mental institutions, because people given power over others don t always exercise it well It doesn t appear the author has considered the implications of his ideas beyond his own pain, and while his experiences are a valid consideration, the inquiry can t stop there.So in the end, while there is some good journalistic writing here and I found the bookengaging than a 2 star rating implies, it falls short of the author s stated goals He writes in the introduction that he wants reading the book to hurt, and he wants to give a voice to people with mental illness The book includes a few tragic stories taken from the news, dealing with police shootings and suicide in prison, and certainly his son s suicide is one of the most tragic events a family can experience But farpage time is spent on Powers family vacations and why the author hates Thomas Szasz And I m confused as to how he believes he s given anyone a voice when there s no indication he interviewed anyone with mental illness for the book even his own surviving son appears to have had no involvement Raising awareness is good, but this book is too much of the author s feelings and too little of anything else What a wasted opportunity.EDIT Happily, people with serious mental illnesses have voices of their own and don t need Powers to speak for them, especially when he s pretty clearly speaking for caretakers instead Here are some fantastic memoirs that you should read The Center Cannot Hold apparently the schizophrenia memoirManicGorilla and the BirdIt s been a couple of years now since I read Powers s book and while parts of it were an effective history lesson the lobotomy section in particular , the memoir aspect seems unfortunate in retrospect and the author s policy proposals evenso If you care about people with mental illnesses, try reading about what it s like to actually be in their shoes instead The subtitle the chaos and heartbreak of mental health in america describes this book perfectly, for Ron Powers probes deeply into a failing system His personal story, that of two sons diagnosed with schizophrenia, is his heartbreaking front row seat As Powers and his wife Honoree Fleming, PhD, face this nightmarish situation, their love for their sons is always in the foreground Powers introduces his family during his sons early years I got to know Dean as the brown haired boy with hazel The subtitle the chaos and heartbreak of mental health in america describes this book perfectly, for Ron Powers probes deeply into a failing system His personal story, that of two sons diagnosed with schizophrenia, is his heartbreaking front row seat As Powers and his wife Honoree Fleming, PhD, face this nightmarish situation, their love for their sons is always in the foreground Powers introduces his family during his sons early years I got to know Dean as the brown haired boy with hazel eyes that grew to love writing and literature as well as taking an interest in politics Kevin, the younger brother, blond and blue eyed, would take an early interest in the guitar and grow to be a virtuoso, becoming almost one with his guitar When Dean played guitar along with Kevin, writing lyrics and creating music, they seemed like any two young men with the world at their feet Powers made me love both these boys I could feel the love and heartbreak of an entire family as he describes crises, but also special outings, concerts, first dates, and friendships Dean experiences an event as a teenager that his father believes triggers a prodromal stage of schizophrenia I think that s probably the most important thing I learned from reading this narrative Early intervention in schizophrenia can play an important role in better outcomes later on Powers includes a quote from a paper published in 2010 by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, The prodromal period can last from weeks to several years, and comorbid disorders are very common during this period The prodrome of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders is characterized as a process of changes or deterioration in heterogeneous subjective and behavioral symptoms that precede the onset of clinical psychotic symptoms My aunt was diagnosed with schizophrenia after the birth of her third child, her only daughter In recent years, I learned that she had been an unmarried pregnant teenager and her father my grandfather hit the roof, going to get the young man and calling for a wedding After reading Power s explanation of how stress can play a pivotal role in schizophrenia during the vital adolescent years when the brain is undergoing a remodeling event called pruning, I realized that my aunt had likely undergone severe stress with this first pregnancy, and thus began a prodromal stage that would later lead to full blown schizophrenia Diagnosed in the 1960s, she was treated with electroshock therapy and antipsychotics For me, Power s story was riveting Interspersed with chapters about his family, Powers presents a history of mental health care, from the London institution known as Bedlam in 1247 to contemporary mental health treatment, unfortunately still sadly lacking The history of antipsychiatry, lobotomies, and the tragedy of deinstitutionalization are all part of the narrative There are a few good guys along the way While part of this book is investigative and research oriented, I found the language easily accessible This is an important work for anyone interested in mental health, and my guess is that s most of us Highly recommended