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Can clinicians tell whether a person is mentally ill?

This is the question that many clients are dying to ask. So I thought I'd try to answer it.


I've been an involuntary client of Mental Health Authority (MHA) for 14 years.


During that time, I've seriously struggled to learn more about the MHA system and how it operates. What exactly are clinicians looking for when diagnosing a patient?


The truth is that you can be the happiest, most productive and most polite client and MHA will STILL assign you as mentally ill. However, the clinicians that I've dealt with arent "woke". They lack insight not only into whether a person is or is not mentally ill, but also into the effect that their treatment is having on the client. And because they lack insight, they are not able at all to pass any insight onto their client--no matter how hard you look for it.


There has, at some point in our relationships, been some talk of a "psychoeducation" but this is just garbage. There is no real psychoeducation at work, and clinicians are not interested in educating you their client. But clincians ARE always interested in you continuing to take the medication provided by Big Pharma, and ARE interested in maintaining their job in seeing you. As someone wise once said, "It's hard to convince someone that what they're doing is wrong, if their paycheck depends on them not understanding it."


I've been resistant to being medicated for 14 years, and during that time I've received hardly an ounce of sympathy for my philosophy in favour of being completely drug-free. The drugs that I've been forced with have over-sedated me to the point where my daily functioning, and often my motivation, have been impaired. Whilst my clinician has claimed that my emotions are kept in order but my cogitation is allowed to maintain itself, I believe that antipsychotics work to inhibit not only emotional but also cogitative functioning as well.


Although the effect of the drugs can be difficult to ascertain, the effect can most readily be likened to a "freezing" of the brain and the mind such that extravagant expression is rendered powerless. I've never experienced hallucinations, so I dont know the effect of the drug on those, but according to leading psychiatrist Dr Peter Breggin, antipsychotics do NOT act to reduce symptoms of mental illness, but only make you stop thinking about them.


The forceful manner in which the MHA acts in cooperation with the police have been the primary cause of my long-term depression. Essentially, I've been living in fear for almost 15 years, and MHA simply are not facilitated with the willingness and insight to assuage such fears. In other words, they simply dont have the wisdom and empathy to deal with someone suffering at the hands of their own gigantic powers. The MHA system is so routine and so banal that once you are diagosed, whether incorrectly or correctly, you are forced to remain in the system for a great number of years. Whether or not it is a life sentence nobody really knows, because it is better understood as an "indefinite" sentence for a crime that one never did commit.


If you have any other questions about the MHA system, please let me know.


Re: Can clinicians tell whether a person is mentally ill?

@marc6x Hi Marc6x you bring up some interesting arguements. I would love to be drug free but literally go insane without my medications. It is for my protection as well as protection of others that I am on my medications. Sad but true. I just get overly stimuated by my envrionment. Little things I pick up on plus my delusions and hallucinations make it impossible for me to function without my magic pills.


I agree with you however with what you say but am afraid to go it alone (which I would have to do as my psychiatrist would drop me if I did - she said). I couldn't do it alone. Also I have my kidults to take care of and they need a totally sane mother even if that means she sleeps most of the day due to being drugged out on medication.


No winners in this argument. greenpea


Re: Can clinicians tell whether a person is mentally ill?

Hi greenpea,


It's always good to get an earnest reply from someone, so your response is appreciated. But consider this.


Drug medications always should be considered as a last resort for someone exhibiting signs of mental illness. As wise man Johann Hari has pointed out, depression (and by inference all other forms of mental illness) is essentially a psychosocial reaction. We need to start addressing not "What is wrong with you?" but "What happened to you?". 


MHA never asked the right questions from the start, and antagonised me into much greater misbehaviour. Concerns about my social life, diet, exercise and mindset were never fully addressed, except by myself independently. I sympathise with the fact that you are unable to control your symptoms, but consider someone whose alleged mental illness is not so severe, and is even in doubt. I've done four online tests for mental illness, and three of them have indicated that I do not have a mental illness.


Then there are the severe negative effects of drugs such as bodily tremors and "lightning bolts" which create greater self-esteem problems than they can imagine. I would probably assign you the right to take your drugs, but only if you were to assign me the right not to take mine, until such time as it is a last resort for severe criminal misbehaviour.


Thank you!




Re: Can clinicians tell whether a person is mentally ill?

Very interesting discussion @marc6x and @greenpea 


Can I firstly say, your grasp of the written word is impressive. Smiley Happy It's a treat to read such powerful posts.


Can we distinguish the difference between a mental illness and a mental disorder? I think there's a fine line between the two, and also the fact an illness can trigger disordered responses.


There's far too much emphasis on the 'diagnosis' than symptomology and its cause. I once spoke with a psychiatrist while working in a psych ward years ago about the amount of 'labels' out there. He shook his head and smiled; "There's a name for anything you can think of and more being created every day. Getting your name attached to a new diagnosis can devour some psychiatrist's time. Their focus is self indulgent and separate from the patient's experience


This to me is the biggest problem the psychiatric community has. Unfortunately they deal with the brain and its function and although it's imperative, it's only a portion of our mental health journey. An holistic approach doesn't seem to be out there except among patients/clients with enough drive to educate themselves; usually the hard way which is what I did...self assessment/treatment through trial and error.


I applaud your enthusiasm, even though it's been many years dealing with the system, you're still driven. Kudos and keep up the great work!


Hope Heart


Re: Can clinicians tell whether a person is mentally ill?

@marc6x  You have hit the nail on the head with your sentence ending in 'until such time as it is a last resort for severe criminal misbehaviour.' This is why I take my meds ....


Re: Can clinicians tell whether a person is mentally ill?

Hi Hope4me,


Thanks, appreciated. I dont know the important difference between a mental illness and disorder, so maybe you can explain.


I think diagnoses and prognoses can be useful for ascertaining the actual concern. Being accurate is a discipline. But I take your point about the need for less labelling and perhaps being more inclusive of one's whole personality (?).


I'd like to read more from you - thank you for contributing.


Re: Can clinicians tell whether a person is mentally ill?



Thanks - yours is a short answer but I want to do justice to it. As well as being many other things, I am an anarchist (not in the sense of 'chaos' tho) - in other words, an antiauthoritarian who believes that people behave in the most appropriate manner when given the greatest amount of freedom.


I hope this creates an important point to my story above!




Re: Can clinicians tell whether a person is mentally ill?

Hi @marc6x 

Love your insight and posts

Smiley Happy

@greenpea  I too chose meds for my children, who needed a calmer mother.

Smiley Happy




Re: Can clinicians tell whether a person is mentally ill?

I was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was 24 years old. That was 47 years ago. My battle with MHA and medication has been an ongoing one. For me the medication works, at least to suppress the symptoms, but the side effects of an effective dossage is unexceptable. For years medication has been an on-off affair for me, sometimes with heavy handed  interference by authorities trying to force me to comply with their demands. 


My various attempts to deal with my issues using non pharmaceutical interventions have generally been met with ridicule and discouragement despite the fact that some of these things have actually been quite helpful. Recent overseas research is now showing that some psychological interventions are at least as succesful as drugs in dealing with severe mental health problems but unfortunately Australia remains a stagnant backwater in this area.


My response to the question that you posted is that in my experience, many so called MH professionals have a very limited repertoire of skills that they are willing or able to use. Consequently they tend to deal with people by giving them some simplistic and generalised label followed by a prescription for medication.

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