On the (terrible) idea of putting people in Rehab centers

DSC00895In response to my article in the Hindu, I got this mail-

Respected maam..i have read your todays article on mental illness in the hindu. I have mailed as you are working the field of mental health..
Problem is that My elder brother is suffering from schizophrenia since 16 years.. currently 32 yrs age and unmarried..whole his teenage and adulthood have been destroyed due to this disease..we had consulted many doctors from aiims to peripheral institutes.. symptoms only get for few days or weeks..then again relapse. Doctors advised to indulge him in some work..but its impossible to get him into as he his very resistive..
So just mailed you maam that if you could tell me regarding some rehablitation center for schizophrenia patients in india..where work with medicines will both go together..thanks ..

(i have not changed this in the least)

This is one among many. People think that by sending their ‘mentally ill’ family members to any rehabilitation center they can really rehabilitate them. What is the meaning of rehabilitationRehabilitation is the act of restoring something to its original state, says this link. In what manner do people think that a rehabilitation center can restore anyone to their ‘original state’ I cannot imagine. Mostly people who recover do so because they DO NOT GO TO ANY REHAB CENTER. The ones who go are the ones who are condemned for life to go there or condemned to remaining mentally ill! I have NOT seen anyone who recovered in any significant manner by going to a rehabilitation center. They just went there, spent their time and got home tired so as not to be a burden for their own family. That was that. No progress- just a dead repetition day after day, month after month, year after year!

Okay let me share with you what happens in a rehab center-

From morning to evening, they keep people of a similar kind, engrossed in one activity after another. How about basket weaving, walk in garden, eating your food, lying down for sometime, meet a counselor for some time…everyday? Day after day! A fatigue factor will set in.

The rehab center is NOT interested in your patient, if you are not. They are only interested in being paid for performing some service on a day-to-day basis, because that keeps them going and keeps the general cycle in motion. Rehab centers have no new ideas or any ideas at all about how people can recover. IF they did, rehab centers would become empty! ( the ways psychiatric facilities are becoming empty in Finland)

As far as I am concerned I have only seen people deteriorate progressively by going to any rehab program, unless that rehab program be worked out within their home environments with supportive others, who gently coax and help the person when they go through their periodic spells of anxiety or other emotional turbulence. To write about what I have seen in rehab or of those who have been to rehabilitation centers, I would require more time and space- or it would go into something different from a blog post. But this is just to warn those who are considering the option of rehab centers, that if you really want your loved one to get better- rehab is one option you best leave alone. But of course you are the best judge of your situation. This is only my experience based on my work for the last 20 odd years.


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