Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Little Victory for Sense

TRENTON -- New Jersey will add nearly 900 more treatment beds for people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol and suffer from a mental illness -- expanding the state's inpatient mental health system by almost 40 percent, Gov. Chris Christie announced Tuesday. 
The announcement is the latest step in Christie's plan to drive down the number of New Jerseyans who are addicted to heroin and opioid-based prescription medication.
Much of the mental illness problem is weak involuntary commitment laws, but some states have reduced the number of beds to absurdly low levels. Keep in my mind that much substance abuse is symptomatic of serious mental illness problems.


Will said...

Clayton, it might be more accurate to say it is symptomatic of brain chemistry/wiring problems than to paint it totally as mental illness. The US seems to have a higher percentage of ADD/ADHD in their population than is typical worldwide. It's been observed that some of the "recreational" drugs are used to self-medicate for that condition.

One of the most used is nicotine.
Cocaine also works, as do most all the speed or uppers type drugs. Odd thing is that they mostly don't get them "high". Actually is calming. Helps to enable one to focus. The fact that a lot of street cocaine has been cut with some sort of speed to hide the low actual purity of the coke is not a problem for them, generally. Where they can get into trouble is if they ramp up the dosage in an attempt to achieve that expected high that they hear about, and see.

I'm not sure if those further along the autism spectrum (Asperger's Syndrome) get any benefit from these, or other types of drugs. I suspect that marijuana may be useful for them, as those I know or suspect to be in that category tend to be users. (think Silicon Valley) They also tend to overuse it, according to their own statements. I suspect that it is more addicting for them, than for the general population. I'm unsure what the actual benefit they obtain from it is.

Other conditions may be attracted to other types of drugs. I'm not clear if much study has been done on this sort of situation. The ADD angle has been noted, but others?

Jim Horn said...

Washington state, a deep "blue" state (particularly Seattle/King county), has all of 18 beds for residential mental care for youth. In my immediate area, of over 200 youth with major disruptive mental issues, the local resources have managed to get one (1) into that in history. And the residential care is only for 3 to 6 months.

Thank you, Clayton, for your research and writing on this issue!

Clayton Cramer said...

Will: At least one study shows Americans at higher rates of bipolar disorder than most other nations. Bipolar and schizophrenia are tied to the same chromosal mutations. Perhaps the risk taking associated with bipolar increases willingness to immigrate?

Will said...

That's the suspicion behind the high numbers for our ADD population, more or less. They like to travel. They like change. A repetitive work environment is not appealing.

Is BiP associated with the Autism Spectrum in some fashion?

Clayton Cramer said...

Bipolar is associated with schizophrenia. The same 10,000 mutations that cause one cause the other. Why some family members get one or the other isn't clear. The bipolar expression is probably what keeps schizophrenia in the gene pool.