Help for the Psychiatric Ward

In almost every state in the country, the supply of inpatient psychiatric care is insufficient to meet the demand. In a 2006 survey, 34 state mental health authorities reported a shortage of beds for  acute psychiatric care.[1] The shortages mean that patients who enter an emergency room with an acute psychiatric crisis may wait days or weeks for a bed, inmates who qualify for psychiatric care may wait in jail for several months before a bed becomes available, and patients who are admitted to a psychiatric hospital are often released too soon, in order to make room for other patients. In a 2014 survey, 19 state mental health directors said the judicial system had found them in contempt, or threatened to, for failure to admit jailed inmates to psychiatric hospitals in a timely manner

Today, there are fewer than 40,000 beds in state psychiatric hospitals in the U.S., down from a peak of more than 550,000 in 1955. Despite the shortages, the number of beds continues to decline—down 13 percent since 2010.[2] As a result, thousands of persons with serious mental illness are living on the streets, or in jail, or with families who are ill-equipped to cope with the acute symptoms of mental illness. Why have the states not acted to address the issue? Why are we not providing adequate facilities for these desperately ill people?  more

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FEATURE: Bucks man opens up about battle with psychosis in bid to end mental illness stigma

At 16-years old Martyn was a star footballer – however his sporting dreams were shattered when he was told he may never walk again following a devastating injury.

Although the doctors’ fears did not become reality – Martyn was unable to pursue his passion, and found himself sinking into a deep depression.

Years later, after developing paranoia, voices in his head and an addiction to drugs and alcohol, Martyn attempted to kill himself in a desperate bid to end his mental turmoil.

Now 34, the Chalfont St Peter resident is a trustee at mental health charity Buckinghamshire Mind, and is a passionate advocate for Bucks County Council’s (BCC) Time to Change Campaign – which aims to end the stigma surrounding mental illness.  more

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Hearing Voices: PTSD and Auditory Hallucinations

Hallucinations and Combat Veterans with PTSD

Among combat veterans with PTSD30-40% report auditory hallucinations(AH). AH are more frequent in combat veterans with chronic PTSD and it has been suggested that this may reflect a distinct subtype of PTSD that may be under recognized for two reasons: first, patients are reluctant to report AH and, second, more emphasis has, traditionally, been placed on the intrusive images associated with PTSD and less on intrusive auditory hallucinations.

It is important to recognize that such patients do not have the overt changes in affect or bizarre delusions characteristic of other psychoses e.g. schizophrenia.  AH in PTSD appears to be seen more in veterans with higher combat exposure and more intense PTSD symptoms and who report more severe symptoms of hyperarousal. The AH are typically: ego-dystonic; contribute to an increases sense of isolation and shame; associated with feelings of lack of controllability; consist of combat-related themes and guilt; non bizarre; not associated with thought disorders and, overall, more refractory to treatment interventions.  more

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Voices: Overheard in Psychosis But Underheard in Autism

One of the many opposite symptoms of autism as opposed to psychosisthat was apparent from the beginning was that a classic symptom of schizophrenia is hearing voices, whereas a common complaint about autistics is that they seem to be deaf, and many autistics report difficulty hearing what someone is saying in a noisy ambience.

Now two different studies, kindly brought to my attention by Bernard Crespi, not only confirm this feature of the diametric model of mental illness, but also go some considerable way towards explaining it.

Not only psychotics, but a minority of the general population also experience auditory hallucinations frequently and without distress. As a recent study by Ben Alderson-Day and colleagues points out, “non-clinical voice-hearing (NCVH) is featurally similar to auditory verbal hallucinations described in psychosis, but usually more controllable and positive in content.”  more

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