“The fear of having a psychiatrist diagnose a chemical disorder of the brain simply overwhelms the usually good judgment of many of us…if we develop a behavioral or mood or thinking disorder, we shy away from having an evaluation by a psychiatrist. Instead, we prefer to go to counseling for a few years ‘to see if it will help.’” The stigma of being perceived as “crazy” stops many of us in our tracks.
The good news is that these chemical disorders of the brain are treatable if properly diagnosed. Contrary to popular opinion, violence by the mentally ill is quite rare, and is usually preceded by warning signs of strange behavior or thoughts.
Dr. Eccleston has spent much of her forty years of clinical practice working with seriously mentally ill patients in public mental health facilities. She goes on to write, “Early intervention with mental health care is crucial, but most of us would be horrified if we were to learn that we or our loved one might have a mental illness like manic depression or schizophrenia.”
Dr. Eccleston adds, “We need to remove the stigma of mental illnesses and instead understand them as brain disorders. We need to feel as entitled to get help for these disorders as we do to get help for disorders of every other organ of our bodies.”
Dr. Eccleston has written Beyond the Walls to educate lay people about psychosis so they can move beyond the stigma and seek appropriate treatment. Professionals working with the mentally ill will find valuable information about the many changes in treatment programs over the past 20 years. To get your copy go to www.beyondthewallsbook.com.
About Dr. Joan Eccleston:
Joan Eccleston, M.D., has spent much of her forty years of clinical practice working with seriously mentally ill patients in public mental health facilities including state hospitals, community mental health center day-hospital programs and outpatient departments. Her employment in Department of Corrections facilities includes several state prisons as well as at the Hospital for the Criminally Insane. She has served as a consultant to group homes for both the mentally ill and for the developmentally disabled, and she has testified in court well over three hundred times.
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