Mental Health Issues

MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES – KWA Oct 2021 presentation

Andy Meyer presenter’s notes


Myth – People who talk about or threaten suicide won’t actually do it.

Myth – If a person really wanted to kill themselves they wouldn’t contact suicide prevention services.

Myth – Asking a person directly if they are thinking about suicide will plant the thought and thus make suicide more likely.

Myth – If a person has a history of suicide attempts and survived, they really weren’t serious about it.

INSANITY V. MentaI Illness

INSANITY is a legal term, NOT a psychological term

M’Naghten Rule (Originated in England in 1843)

A test applied to determine whether a person accused of a crime was sane at the time of its commission and, therefore, criminally responsible for the wrongdoing.

Today this is generally interpreted as: Did the defendant know or understand when committing the crime, that the action was indeed criminal. A person with no history of mental illness may be deemed insane at the time of commission of a crime, due to a temporary medical condition, e.g. a high fever, imbalance of electrolytes, or reaction to medication. (grandmother example) Conversely, a person with mental illness may, or may not, meet criteria for legal insanity. (chased by demons example)

MENTAL ILLNESS refers to conditions we now understand to be a symptom of brain disease.

Do people who successfully use the insanity defense get off scot free?

There are two issues at play: Competent to Stand Trial, and Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity.

Competency refers to the idea that persons charged with a crime should be capable of assisting in their defense. (revisit grandmother example)

If not competent to stand trial, are they allowed to walk free? No. Such defendants are kept in a locked mental hospital until such time that appropriate treatment staff deem them capable of meaningfully assisting in their defense. This can sometimes take many years.

Psychotic (Mental Illness (brain disease) V. Psychopath (a Personality Disorders mostly learned – influenced by temperament)

PSYCHOSIS. As per the NIH, The word psychosis is used to describe conditions that affect the mind, where there has been some loss of contact with reality. When someone becomes ill in this way it is called a psychotic episode. During a period of psychosis, a person’s thoughts and perceptions are disturbed and the individual may have difficulty understanding what is real and what is not. Symptoms of psychosis include delusions (false beliefs) and hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that others do not see or hear). Other symptoms include incoherent or nonsense speech, and behavior that is inappropriate for the situation. A person in a psychotic episode may also experience depression, anxiety, sleep problems, social withdrawal, lack of motivation, and difficulty functioning overall. There is a small association with increased violence in people with active psychosis, but people with psychosis are more likely to be the victim of crime and or violence that to be the perpetrator or crime or violence. When a psychotic person is violent, it is often associated with hallucinations and delusions, e.g. they feel they are acting in self-defense. An exception to this low rate of violence occurs when a person with

psychosis is under the influence of alcohol and other mind altering substances – in which case the rate of harm to self or others increases dramatically.

Donnie Darko – A movie that does a good job of showing a person in the early phases of developing mental illness. He starts experiencing hallucinations. It shows how a person can both welcome hallucinations, and yet fear them. It shows how people whose beliefs are influenced by hallucinations can go on to commit crimes even though they may know it is an illegal act, yet they feel a moral imperative to do so.

Evolution of terminology. Psychopath? Sociopath ? Antisocial Personality.

Psychopath is now making a comeback as a subgroup of Antisocial Personality.

Asocial – (NOT the same as ANTIsocial) – refers to people who don’t particularly enjoy social activities, thus will usually decline opportunities to socialize.

Antisocial – refers to people who actively and often with premeditation, seek to harm others for the purpose some gain, either emotionally, physically, financially, etc.

Psychopath – in recent years researchers

So why are people so afraid of psychotic people and not psychopaths? Possibly because people in the throes of a psychotic episode appear and behave strange: talking to people who aren’t there; dressing or acting bizarrely. When a person entering a psychotic episode, activities of daily living often slip. Hygiene and appearance decline. Sensitivity to social norms diminish. Their speech doesn’t make sense and they often express strange beliefs. All of these behaviors make people uncomfortable. But a psychopath often has a slick presentation. The psychopath’s approach to life is dependent on winning peoples trust.

Narcissist, Psychopath, or Sociopath: How to Spot the Differences | Dr Ramani x MedCircle – Bing video

Antisocial Personality Disorder vs. Psychopathy – Close But Not The Same – Bing video

Psychopath vs Sociopath: Antisocial Personality Disorder Explained – Bing video

Psychopathy vs. Antisocial Personality Disorder (sociopath, sociopathic traits, & sociopathy) – Bing video

Adjustment disorders – As the term implies, these are disorders that arise in reaction to stress brought on by changes: move, transition to new life (college, marriage, new job, etc.) death of someone close, and so on.

Mood disordersMood disorders – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

Depressive disorders –

Exogenis – caused by external situational factors,

Endogenous – caused by internal genetic or biological processes. Can be depressed even when everything is going great. Bipolar disorder is an example of an endogenous mood disorder.

Anhedonia – inability to feel pleasure.

Anxiety disordersSearch Results – Mayo Clinic

Additional Items Referenced:

Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl

And a podcast called Hidden Brain – the episode entitled, “When You Need It To Be True”.