Saturday, March 6, 2010

Mental History Counts With John Patrick Bedell

People who suffer from Bi-Polar disorder experience the same emotions that we do. The twist is in how they experience them. Emotions tend to be experienced in an extreme form. This is more complicated, considering that their extreme emotions may be based on misperception. However, it does make perfect sense and a perfect recipe for disaster.

Often enough people feel threatened in some way, or at least wronged severely, before they will react violently in a situation. The same is true of victims suffering with Bi-Polar disorder. The problem is that their perceptions of what is happening around them, are incorrect. Yet, it's all they have to navagate with. The proof that this ends badly comes
to us today in the form of John Patrick Bedell.

In a statement from the family they said, "We are devastated as a family by the news from yesterday. To the outside world, this tragedy is the first and only thing they will ever know of Patrick. To us, he was a beloved son, brother, grandson, nephew, and cousin. We may never know why he made this terrible decision. One thing is certain, though -- his actions were caused by an illness and not a defective character." I can agree with what they are saying because, I have family members who suffer with this. My brother diappeared 20 years ago. No one knows whatever happened to him. Even when victims live with family for support, it can be tricky to always know what is happening, especially when the sufferer is an adult.

So, the next question is how could this have been prevented? Who's at fault? The short, simple, answer is...nobody. The disease itself is to blame. It's so difficult to diagnose, that often patients aren't correctly diagnosed for ten years. Incorrect medication, resulting from incorrect diagnoses, complicate later treatment, making it more difficult.

Part of the answer seems to be a good support system. I can talk about this in a practical fashion because, I've found myself confronted by this disease too many times, in those around me, and I've watched an assortment of situations and levels of disease. If nothing else, someone should stop in often, in the most serious cases, to verify that meds are being taken correctly, and that the Bi-Polar Disorder victim is not ill. I read where in one study, participation in a DBSA patient-to-patient support group improved treatment compliance by almost 86% and reduced in-patient hospitalization. (DBSA, 1999)

Often times family members have been so overtaxed and overwhelmed, that they can't be a part of that support system. Or, they care deeply and would do anything but, they don't know what steps to take, or where to go for help. That's why I want to share this link, which offers state by state information. If you have a friend or family member that seems to be a threat to themselves or someone else, there are steps you can take. I was impressed with the resources at Treatment Advocacy Also/or, it's a good idea to contact a local mental health center and double check how you can go about getting help when the friend or loved one becomes a threat to themselves or someone else. If you have any additional questions, about completing the process, they would probably be knowledgeable.

Once you've completed the process, your friend or family member, will be picked up and transported to a mental health facility. While there, they will be assessed and medicated. Generally no one is held over 72 hours without a court order. Stabilization is achieved when the victim is nolonger a threat to anyone. More time may be required for complete
effectiveness of medications. For additional information, please check the links below.

Treatment Advocacy
ABC News

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