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   Mental Health Problems

       There are a myriad of mental health problems that unfortunately often lead to arrests for criminal offenses.  However, many of these problems do not have to result in lengthy periods of incarceration, as long as the accused can be properly diagnosed and medicated.  Here are the major mental health problems I have seen firsthand when assisting clients in resolving criminal arrests: 

DEPRESSION 
Depression is typically characterized by a depressed mood or irritable mood, and: 
  1. Markedly diminished interest in things normally found pleasurable 
  2. Insomnia/hypersomnia
  3. Fatigue/loss of energy 
  4. Weight loss or weight gain (or nearly daily serious change in appetite) 
  5. Observable psychomotor agitation or retardation 
  6. Excessive guilt or feelings of worthlessness 
  7. Significantly diminished ability to concentrate, and/or 
  8. Recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal thoughts/ideation 

BIPOLAR DISORDER 
Bipolar disorder is often diagnosed when one or more manic or mixed episodes, lasting at least one week, is accompanied by a major depressive episode.  The other symptoms are:
  1. Abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive or irritable mood lasting more than one week
  2. Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
  3. Decreased need for sleep (e.g. feels rested after only three hours of sleep)   
  4. Much more talkative than usual or feels pressure to talk 
  5. Flight of ideas, with thoughts racing 
  6. Easily Distracted (attention too easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant stimuli)
  7. Increase in goal-directed activity or psychomotor agitation, and/or  
  8. Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g. engaging in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, foolish business investments) 

SCHIZOPHRENIA 
There are a number of types of schizophrenia, which is characterized by a pattern of detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of emotional expression.  Negative symptoms include a lack of normal activities and motivations (e.g. speech, hygiene, relationships, facial expressions, work and family).  The positive symptoms include:
  • delusions (fixed false beliefs, believes crazy things) 
  • hallucinations (hearing voices, and seeing things) 
  • disorganized speech (frequently incoherent speech) and/or 
  • grossly disorganized behavior 
PSYCHOTIC 

Often a person is diagnosed as psychotic when he/she does not meet the criteria for schizophrenia and two of the criteria below persist for more than a month:
  1. Delusions (fixed false beliefs) 
  2. Hallucinations 
  3. Disorganized speech
  4. Grossly Disorganized or Catatonic Behavior, and/or 
  5. Negative Symptoms, such as lack of normal facial expressions, abnormal speech patterns, lack of motivation to do many normal things such as get a job, having a family and being successful in society.

It is important to have the accused evaluated and appropriately diagnosed.  So, that any medication recommended can have the desired effect, and minimize any further contact with the criminal justice system.  I have worked with, and will continue to work with, a number of experienced psychologists, psychiatrists, drug/alcohol counselors and family/marriage therapists that have been instrumental in minimizing the legal consequences of an arrest.    

FAILURE TO LAUNCH 
With all of the aforementioned reference to negative symptoms, such as a lack of motivation to do many normal things such as getting a job, having a family and/or being successful in society, it is important to discuss the increasing prevalence of young men that seem unmotivated to do much other than play video games.  In his best-selling book Boys Adrift, Dr. Leonard Sax identifies five socio-environmental factors that are robbing young men of their motivation to grow-up and achieve something in their lives.  These factors include:
  1. Changes in the educational format and curricula in the schools over the past thirty years, in particular
    • (a)The acceleration of the early elementary curriculum (reading and writing which used to be the province of first grade is now being taught in kindergarden)
    • (b) The shift from Kenntnis (to know by experience) to Wissenschaft (knowledge acquired through books)
    • (c) The abolition of competitive formats
  2. The advent of ultra-high-tech video games 
  3. The increased frequency of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) diagnosis and overprescription of academic steroids for ADHD (e.g. Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, Metadate, etc.) 
  4. Endocrine disrupters (many of which are found in plastics) and    
  5. The lack of rituals that signify a boy’s transition from childhood to manhood.  

Dr. Sax writes: In the brain, both videogames and medications may adversely affect the delicate balance between the nucleus accumbens (part of the brain) and the DLPFC, resulting in boys who look normal, who feel normal, but who just don’t see the point of working hard to achieve some objective in the real world (p. 97). 

Lawrence Lewis is an experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer practicing as Drug Attorney, License Suspension Lawyers, Sex Offense Attorney, Traffic Citation Lawyer, Misdemeanor Offenses Attorneys, Felony Offenses Lawyer, Bond Lawyer, Armed Robber Attorney, dui lawyer, Preliminary Hearing serving Lawrenceville, Gwinnett Country, Metro Atlanta, Alpharetta, Roswell, Marietta, Buford, Fulton County, Canton, Decatur, Norcross, Woodstock, Stone Mountain, Duluth and Cumming .

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