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Cannabis, Schizophrenia and The Personal Politics of Irresponsibility

January 29th, 2005 Leave a comment Go to comments

Rethink, the British mental health charity have called on the government to study the link between psychosis and cannabis. Because there is an overlap between these things, Rethink believe that cannabis can cause serious mental illness. This is potentially as psychotic as the people Rethink are supposed to be helping.

It is a bit like saying ‘every time I wake in the morning the sun is up – it must be because I am waking up’. As R D Laing pointed out mental illness is principally a social and political fact. It tells us more about our society than the individuals concerned.

If there is a statistical overlap between mental health problems and drug use the causal link lies elsewhere: Persons suffering mental health problems are stigmatised, unsupported, victimised and isolated by society at large, their family and friends and even the massively underfunded support services that are supposed to be helping them. Left in a vacuum of other people’s making many persons suffering mental health problems self medicate with illegal drugs to approximate the highs and lows of a normal life.

Quite simply Rethink and the Government would do better exploring why persons with mental health problems are four times more likely to die in police custody than those without. This fact highlights everything that is wrong with the way we treat such persons in our modern society. They are blamed for problems created by their family, upbringing and the schizophrenic nature of our society in general which avoids personal responsibility at all costs.

Eight years ago at the height of a nervous breakdown I went and asked for therapy. I was told “you won’t get therapy – last week the Health Authority sacked all the therapists to save money. People in the middle of long-tern treatments are back on the street without support”. I, perhaps like many, turned to cannabis to dull the continual ache of a life which made no sense and could not be made sense of.

After several years of heavy addiction I finally found the courage to stop and to heal my hurts. There is nothing genetically or intrinsically wrong with my mind: It was split in pieces by a paedophile who used me as his personal masturbatory toy when I was an infant.

Three years ago the local Psychiatrist told me, “putting to one side everything you have said about being abused as an infant I am sorry to have to tell you that you have a personality disorder”. At the end of last year I plucked up the courage to go back and tell him he got it wrong. After a couple of meetings and tests he said he was ashamed and embarrassed at his original diagnosis and that I am suffering Chronic PTSD as a result of childhood abuse.

Freud was convinced by his contemporaries that his assertion that his patients had been molested as children and got better when they talked about it was dangerous and wrong. He changed his tack and went with the commoner theory of “Hysteria”. We would be in a much stronger and more realistic place in society today than we are if he had stuck to his guns. Of course, he was a very heavy cocaine addict and they are by nature of the drugs they use not very solid people.

Rethink have to stop treading the boards of personal irresponsibility and start laying blame where the causes are: In the abusers, bad parents, nasty teachers and lying politicians and civil servants who set the tone and character of our world of personal irresponsibility.

‘There is no such “condition” as “schizophrenia,” but the label is a social fact and the social fact a political event.’, R. D. Laing (1927-89), British psychiatrist. The Politics of Experience, ch. 5 (1967), quoted from fusionanomoly.net

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