CT shooting raises questions about mental health, part 1
What signs should be watched for?
- Duration 8:13
- Date Dec 21, 2012
What signs should be watched for?
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The Connecticut shooters brother has reportedly told police that his brother have autism or Asperger's syndrome as well as a personality disorder.
Joining me -- Caroline -- wolf an attorney who specializes.
In mental health issues.
-- in in your experience when a person has certain behaviors.
Like we've seen in the shooter.
Are any of these disorders the type that would exhibit themselves in this manner.
Not in the manner to which we've seen in the last several days but certainly there are signs and symptoms that lead up.
To certain behaviors.
So if you know what to look for at the red flags as I call them if you know how to identify them.
On that you can actually go back and see.
What what could be potentially problematic.
But to put parents -- who may have a child who has either autism or Asperger's.
Just the presence of some form of autism or even Asperger's should make -- -- all my child is potentially.
A mass -- just because of the of the disorder.
No you have to put into context it's really the behaviors that you -- -- look at and it's the change in behaviors that are really ever -- of what's concern.
You have a child who is doing well in school is socially active.
Is behaving appropriately and then suddenly there's a change they become more isolated -- they become.
More -- socially on engage simple.
They don't want to go to school -- grades go down those should be signs to parents to at least take a look at and put into context the behavior.
And any symptoms or any diagnoses that may be at play.
And the reason I wanna kind of delve into this a little bit because I I think some parents say who don't have to worry about my child.
Because he doesn't have Asperger's are any form of autism and that's not necessarily.
A valid conclusion -- is it no it's.
There are -- -- them is a spectrum disorder.
So there are many different behaviors and symptoms along the way.
I'm in addition there are other disorders.
That are at play there are serious mental health issues.
There are personality disorders their character -- logical disorders.
I'm so you really need to focus in on what it is you're talking about.
-- we try very hard to ascertain a diagnosis or at least a working diagnosis.
On and then go from there and sort out what are our expectations.
What can we expect to get worse what can we expect to be treated.
-- what interventions can we bring to bear.
And we work as a team approach so that we can bring in mental health professionals.
Case managers for example psychologists psychiatrists who can address each individual symptom based on what's going on.
Psychologically and psychiatric -- And Carolyn I want you to help our audience understand because they've heard a lot of words thrown -- over the weekend words that.
You use every day in the course of of your practice of of law and psychology but most people don't use these words and maybe they're not familiar to them.
When we say that a person is a psychotic.
What does that mean.
That usually means a break with reality.
You're not able to see things realistically you're not able to process.
Information coming in in a realistic way.
And a sociopath.
What what does it mean if a person is described as -- -- Patrick.
Socio paths are those is a character illogical and disorder.
And it manifests by a usually people who can't feel they don't have in -- They've known connect to the usual day to -- feelings that most of us can can connect to them.
So some people could be somewhat psychotic and sociopath because it possible to -- A person with both characteristics from the mental health experts I work with every day I believe the answer to that would be yes okay so.
That's what I I think I wanted to make sure that people understand this is very complex -- it's not like you can just take a child and say -- He's got Asperger's therefore he is more likely to do a mass murder oh and by the way that means -- psychotic.
It it really does involve.
A very complex kind of diagnosis.
-- complex diagnosis as well as putting it into context and really looking at how it manifests in the real world.
How people interact with other people.
How old appropriate to treatment might be whether people are open to treatment.
Getting help denial I think it's the biggest problem that we face in my practice.
Parents it's difficult for them to -- my child is having.
Mental health issues.
And if they can get past that hurdle then they're more open to allowing.
Experts in the field to intervene and and try and head off any problems down the road.
-- -- and the stigma.
-- it's very difficult and I I'd feel for parents who.
As you say are very afraid to say -- I think my child may have a mental illness because then you have a child saying there's something really wrong with me that's different.
But we need to help people understand that a mental illness is no different.
-- is a physical infirmity we don't say -- a person has a broken leg I can't talk about that that would be embarrassing that somebody might think if my child.
Has a broken leg or appendicitis.
How we get to the place where we can treat mental illness as it were.
Comparable to any physical ailment we have.
Funny that's something I say in my practice to my clients every day and I think it goes to the conversation.
The conversation people need to have with one another it's the conversation and need to have with their physicians.
And with other mental health professionals with whom they work with the mental health attorneys.
-- they need to have that conversation and say exactly that.
You have it's a brain chemistry issue it's an illness if you had a heart problem you've got a cardiologist.
And -- what you're saying if you break your leg you put a cast on it.
But it's been so many decades of people having that stigma and thinking it's bad.
On and also the publicity that goes with -- every time there is a tragedy such as the one we've seen this week.
On the first questions I asked -- to -- have a mental illness.
-- rather than what went on with this individual or what might have led up to it -- what issues was he facing.
I'm so I think we need to have that -- conversation to.
I couldn't agree more I think it's such a very important thing that it has to happen and hopefully at some point in our culture.
There has been a common denominator seemingly on a lot of these mass shootings involving young people or even children.
And the common denominator.
Is the prolific manner in which many of these kids played.
Very violent video games.
I want to be careful not to just immediately draw the line from the video games to the behavior.
But it there does seem to be some connection do you see a connection and if so how we deal with this.
Again I think you have to put all of this into context.
If you're seeing other behaviors.
And they're playing video games there's probably a bigger issue than the video game.
There is a lot of talk a lot of research being done on whether video games actually lead to violence think it's very hard to connect up to two.
On when we take a history there's a lot more going on in the course of the discussion than just my son or daughter.
Spends all day playing video games.
I think you need to have a predisposition.
For the video games to actually.
Cause you to then take some sort of negative action.
-- become violent.
I -- continue that thought and discussion when we return we will be right back with Caroline -- wolf.
When we return on this special edition of Huckabee.