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July 01, 2014

Supremes Run True to Form

In a blog entry dated April 20, 2811, I wrote. "Notwithstanding the 2012 election results, the drug war seems assured of enough Congressional support to survive as a protected policy for the indefinite future. Nor does it lack support from a Supreme Court that's been stacked with a Roman Catholic majority by fundamentalist Republicans intent on overturning Roe V Wade.

Yesterday's "Hobby Lobby" decision by the Supreme Court will, if nothing else, cause an increase in the numbers of unwanted children. My work with cannabis applicants revealed- somewhat unexpectedly- that children who–- for whatever reason- do not have the support of their biological fathers during critical childhood years, are prone to exhibit maladaptive behaviors such as ADD and ADHD from as early as age 4 or 5 (some even younger). It was also discovered that adolescent use of cannabis not only mitigated those behaviors, but exerted a positive influence on symptoms by reducing anxiety while enhancing focus, concentration, and memory with attendant improvement in school performance.

Associated findings (which make sense in the light of those discoveries) included an increased tendency by affected children to try (initiate) other psychotropic drugs such as nicotine, alcohol, and a bevy of so-called psychedelics in early adolescence. Needless to say, when the repressive Controlled Substances Act of 1970 with its emphasis on police as society's primary agents for dealing with "addiction," collided with the record population of young people produced in the immediate aftermath of World War Two (the “Baby Boom”) things began to happen.

The unfortunate, but easily understandable, result of that collision-especially in the wake of the JFK's assassination- was a surge in urban homelessness at precisely the wrong time. The surge and its results were aptly described by Psychiatrist Sally Satel in a November 1, 2003 NYT op-ed entitled “Out of the Asylum, Into the Cell."

Unlike Dr. Satel, who is decades younger than myself (and also graduated from Cornell before going to medical school) I'd witnessed the "Asylum to Cell" transition almost in real time. In 1956, while still a 3rd year Medical student, I'd sent a month at a huge VA Hospital in East Orange NJ. It's important to recall that Psychiatry and the VA have undergone huge changes in the interim, thanks to the delusional thinking of a world leader who had risen from obscurity after being wounded and gassed in the service of the Kaiser in World War one.

What Hitler's (and may other "leaders'" careers) illustrate is how the delusional grandiosity typical of Bipolar Disorder (formerly "Manic Depressive Psychosis") can, by afflicting someone with great political potential, alter the course of history and destroy many lives in the process.

If anything, our species is more vulnerable than ever to the noxious effects of such delusional thinking simply because there are so many of us and we have become so mutually interdependent.

Sadly, as a glance at the headlines reminds us, we seem as unable to work together as a species as ever.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at July 1, 2014 06:31 PM