The horrible costs of leaving dangerously schizophrenic individuals free and on medication instead of putting them in state hospitals

Laura Wood tells how two years ago a young man in her neighborhood murdered his father, his mother, and his twin brother with a samurai sword. She then gives the background of the event:

For years, this son had been acting strangely. While his brother went to college, he remained home. He had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and, apparently, the family was attempting to cope on its own with this disorder. Aside from the gruesomeness of their deaths, I imagined hellish years as they encountered his increasing irrationality and paranoia. Their isolation was haunting in retrospect. Why had no one stepped in and institutionalized this young man? Did this couple, because of their love for their son, entertain false hopes? Where were the doctors to confine him to a mental institution?

A commenter points out that there has been a 95 percent drop in the number of public hospital beds available to psychiatric cases since 1955. Another commenter describes the usual scenario that leaves dangerously crazy people at large in society (I’ve edited slightly to maintain agreement by number):

In most states, a person can be involuntarily committed only if he meets one of the following criteria: 1) he is a danger to himself; 2) he is a danger to others; or 3) he is gravely disabled. Medication usually alleviates these symptoms. Once the symptoms are alleviated, the institution must release the patient, who stops his medications because they make him feel bad. The cycle starts over. I have been involved in many commitments.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 20, 2012 11:13 AM | Send

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