When we read the news it is filled with bizarre behaviors of children, teens and adults who are killing one another, holding hostages, or ranting about drivel. It makes the news but there is more of this going on than you think. Why?
This article is directed towards understanding human mental behavior for the layman but not necessarily changing it; this is directed to recognizing and being able to describe symptomatic incidents to a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist or police officer.
Let us start off by categorizing different mental disorder processes that result in tragic consequences we fear the most.
Stress is perhaps the largest most common disorder in that individuals who are unable to cope with subtitled forms of stress resort to divorce-now running at 55% of marriages, perhaps more when you consider those just living together. Common everyday stressors such as lack of, and mismanagement of money is a stressor. Disabled children and the lack of correct parenting can cause stress. Drugs, illegal and incorrectly managed prescribed drugs can cause stress. Interfering relatives, family separation by distance can cause stress. Stress is always present and as a matter of degree requires a coping skill. Failure to develop a coping skill and manage situations leads to further individual and family problems.
Stress is usually a slow build up and seeks relief usually finding its way in spousal and child physical abuse, drugs and alcohol, abandonment of responsibility to persevere.
Depression usually arises as an internal defense against stressors wherein the stressed person just shuts off, numbs or generally deteriorates as evidenced by lack of communication, angry outbursts, confusion, poor hygiene, withdrawal and a host of negative withdrawal from usual family interactions.
Today we are fortunate in dealing with stress and depression in its many forms by seeking a psychiatrist (MD), who specializes in mental temporary disorders, or permanent mental disorders, as depression can be found in infants, and on through life’s development: treatable with medication.
Some behaviors are not disorders per se, but illness-depression is often classed as an illness, but again, treatable. Suicide impulses in teens and elderly are not uncommon and these impulses transcend what we have all toyed with as a means of escape from unpleasant situations, but actual suicide impulses manifest them selves in identifiable trends.
The interviewer first asks the suicidal person: Do you have a plan? That is the first identifiable impulse. Have you attempted suicide before? Often the individual has through overdoses of medications, chemicals, physical cuttings, and anger directed inward with major depression like symptoms. These impulses can develop as obsessional pre-conscious thinking, eventually manifesting the actual act.
Elderly people also have stressors of declining health and terminal expectations of bed-ridden loneliness. Often the spouse is in poorer health and the rational, as we have all seen, is murder-suicide.
A focus is the Columbine shootings, which has gathered the public’s eye and the latest massacre is Sandy Hill in Connecticut. The Why? Points clearly at mental illness yet the public shrugs this off, perhaps because there are so many pre-teens involved in the planning and execution of violence with firearms, explosives, knives, sticks and stones. The public denies that young grade school and middle school children are mentally ill, weak minded- being recruited into violence, gangs, religious cults, and adapting to disorders of the mind.
Diane and I, having worked with and boarded mentally ill children for over a decade learned a great deal. Once you settle them down and remove stressors they integrate into a family household. Those that do not will show evidence of any number of illnesses and disorders.
Psychiatrists and those that work with troubled youths are reluctant to disclose the identity of the behavior, often labeling Attention Deficit Disorder with hyperactivity. True, this could be an actual treatable disorder, but the underlying pathology-not identified- limits proper intervention with medications and parenting techniques.
In the extreme we interview serial killers, arsonists, rapists, pedophiles and hebephiles, plus many other violent people and we learn of their inability to cope as a child with stressors. This is a presumption as another view dictates the child is born with the character disorder-personality disorder, and exhibits bizarre behavior from infancy on. Mental illness is the neon sign. Nurture-nature as the story goes.
Some pathology can be learned such as Sociopathology with distinctive road signs. There are two distinct observable traits: (1) the “con” that lures you into acceptance of a promise and (2) there is no remorse-no conscious concern for a disreputable act. The sociopath is similar to the Psychopath, also is easily identifiable, but in the adolescent, and adult, the hope of retraining the mind for conformity is nil.
Psychopaths usually start as unmanageable infants leading to biting, disruption behaviors and as they mature you will witness continued enuresis, small animal killings, fire setting, bullying, smaller child fondling and rapes. Many parents seeking help for this disorder are usually rationalizing the behaviors, or ill advised that the child is merely in a phase, autistic or ADDH .
Fire setting can start as early as age 3, however it often stops at this point as in a supervised setting the normal child is trained to light a match, then extinguish it. Wherein fire setting starts somewhere in the pre-pubescent years there may be one fire and then again no more for several years. The random nature appears to be motivated by a stressor. Then again there is the true constant arsonist who continually seeks fire as a gratification, being psychotic delusional. As the incidents escalate there is more violence and homicides.
For the young college student majoring in psychology I would encourage you to go on to clinical psychology for your Masters degree and pursue these terrors increasing in our society, perhaps finding answers.
The text: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Vol: 3 and 4, give good explanations. In any case avoid such people and seek professional advice.
Copyright: Back2theLand.com, all rights reserved, June 2013, Mark Steel.