During the 1950s, mentally disordered people who were harmful to society
and themselves could be treated with medications and were able to return safely
to their communities. During the 1980s, the cost of health care increased more
than any other cost in our national economy. As a result, strategic planning
has been made to reduce costs. “The political decision made to
deinstitutionalize chronic mental patients started with the appearance of
phenothiazine medications. Dramatically reducing the instability influenced by
psychosis, these medications were of great significance to many individuals with
serious mental disorders. At both the state and federal levels, legislators
looked at the high cost of long-term psychiatric hospitalization. Social
scientists guaranteed them that community-based care would be in the best
interests of all concerned: the mentally ill and the general, tax-paying public
(Barry 13).” It was believed that a social breakdown syndrome would develop in
chronically mentally ill persons who were institutionalized. The
characteristics of this syndrome were submission to authority, withdrawal, lack
of initiative, and excessive dependence on the institution.
While deinstitutionalization was kindhearted in its primary logic, the
actual execution of the concept has been greatly undermined by the lack of good
community alternatives. At this time a large amount of the individuals using
community mental health treatment services are the homeless. Nearly half of the
homeless are chronically mental ill. These individuals are often separated from
their families and all alone on the dangerous street. These homeless
schizophrenics stay away from social structures such as community health
treatment centers. Since they start a new life of independence they often stop
taking their medications, become psychotic and out of place, and begin to live
on the street. Since the schizophrenics are deinstitutionalized they are thrown
into a whole new world of independence. Since their brain functions different
than the usual human being they can\'t cope with the problems of life. The
schizophrenics drive themselves crazy wanting to kill themselves and others in
order to escape from this perplexing world.
Schizophrenia is the most common psychoses in the United States
affecting around one percent of the United States population. It is
characterized by a deep withdrawal from interpersonal relationships and a
retreat into a world of fantasy. This plunge into fantasy results in a loss of
contact from reality that can vary from mild to severe. Psychosis has more than
one acceptable definition. The psychoses are different from other groups of
psychiatric disorders in their degree of severity, withdrawal, alteration in
affect, impairment of intellect, and regression.
The severity of psychoses are considered major disorders and involve
confusion in all portions of a person\'s life. Psychosis is seen in a wide range
of organic disorders and schizophrenia. These disorders are severe, intense,
and disruptive. A person with a psychotic disorder suffers greatly, as do those
in his or her immediate environment. Individuals suffering from withdrawal are
said to be autistic. That is, the person withdraws from reality into a private
world of his or her own. The psychotic individual is more withdrawn than a
person with a neurotic disorder or any other mental disorder. The affect, mood,
or emotional tone in a person with a psychotic disorder is immensely different
from that of normal affect. In the mood disorders, one observes the
exaggeration of sadness and cheerfulness in the form of depression and mania.
In the schizophrenic disorders, affect may be exaggerated, flat, or
In psychotic disorders, the intellect is involved in the actual
psychotic process, resulting in derangement of language, thought, and judgment.
Schizophrenia is called a formal thought disorder. Thinking and understanding
of reality are usually severely impaired. The most severe and prolonged
regressions are seen in the psychoses, regression. There is a falling back to
earlier behavioral levels. In schizophrenia this may include returning to
primitive forms of behavior, such as curling up into a fetal position, eating
with one\'s hands, and so forth. The symptoms of schizophrenia usually occur
during adolescence or early adulthood, except for paranoid schizophrenia, which
usually has a later onset. The process of schizophrenia is often slow, with the
exception of catatonia, which may have an abrupt onset. As an adolescent, a
person who later develops schizophrenia is often antisocial with others, lonely,
and depressed. Plans for the future may appear to others as vague or
It is possible that there may be a preschizophrenic phase a year or two
before the disorder is diagnosed. This phase may include neurotic symptoms such
as acute or chronic anxiety, phobias, obsessions, and compulsions or may reveal
dissociative features. As anxiety mounts, indications of a thought disorder may
appear. An adolescent may complain of difficulty with concentration and with
the ability to