Excerpts from Dr. Paul Steinberg’s article in the New York Times recently. Dr. Steinberg is a psychiatrist in private practice.
‘In the USA, there has been a swing in mental health care over the past 50 years; too little hospitalization of teenagers and young adults who have had a recent onset of schizophrenia and too little education about the public health impact of untreated mental health disorders; too few psychiatrists to talk about and treat severe mental disorders, even though the medications available can be remarkably effective.
Psychosis means losing touch with reality and is an umbrella term. The most common source of severe psychosis in young adults is schizophrenia, which means ‘split personality’ in Greek, but is actually a physiological disorder. This illness usually rears its head between the ages of 15 and 24 and there are early signs. Acute symptoms do not appear until adolescence or young adulthood.
People suffering from schizophrenia are unaware of how strange their thinking has become and do not seek treatment. At Virginia Tech, where Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people in a rampage shooting in 2007, his professors knew that something was terribly wrong, but he was not hospitalized for long enough to get well.
Parents and classmates of Jared L. Loughner, who killed 6 people and shot and injured 13 others including a member of Congress in 2011, did not know where to turn.
We may never know what demons tormented Adam Lanza, who slaughtered 26 people at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut on Dec. 14, 2012, though his acts strongly suggest undiagnosed schizophrenia.
Too many people with acute schizophrenia have gone untreated. There have been too many Glocks, too many children and adults cut down in their prime. Enough already.’
I am convinced that if teachers, professors, parents and students knew more about the early onset signs of this illness, they would be able to bring this information to the attention of professionals who would know what to do.
To do this, we have to bring mental illness out into the open, which is what I have been writing about for a very long time. HELP ME PLEASE. The more people who take up this task, the faster we will get there.