Skip to comments.Schizophrenic son 'kills parents' after he was released from mental institution
Posted on 10/01/2011 7:25:35 PM PDT by Niuhuru
Police have arrested a mentally-ill man in connection with the death of his parents, whose bodies were found at their home on Friday.
David William Hamilton, 26, from Huntersville, North Carolina, was arrested at a motel on Friday night after his sister reportedly found their parents' bodies. Huntersville Police Captain Michael Kee said Hamilton was living with his parents - James and Stephanie Hamilton - at the home after being released from a mental institution earlier this year.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
That said, if everyone in the state were as knowledgeable and compassionate as you, toward the man in the original post, I can't see that it would make much difference. He killed his parents and that's a fact, as written. How could the attitudes of the general public change that?
This is absolutely not a knock on you or your post, but a genuine question.
I hear you.
Diseases of the brain and how it affects consciousness are NOT given the same respect as cancer, or diabetes, or asthma, or ANY other disease state.
I know. I have been there. And, unless any would-be commentator had been there as well, then they have NO comprehension of the physical/emotional/spiritual HELL that this class of illness inflicts on the patient and their loved ones.
Thanks for sharing your and your family’s experience. It is hell to live through, and not to receive the support you need only makes matters all the worse.
My nephew is going through your experience with one of his sons. (I don’t know the complete diagnosis, other than ‘bi-polar’) but I know how he and his family are suffering.
Not the least to suffer is the patient who is bi-polar, because he really doesn’t have control over his episodes. I’m happy your son’s condition is presently under control, and hope it stays that way for all your sakes.
Schizophrenics don’t need anything except to stop taking their meds like they like to do because the meds down them out and make them tired.Besides they feel fine so don’t need the meds anymore and then they kill someone.
The fact that you only see these insane acts after people get in the hands of shrinks should act as a clue.
This is absolutely not a knock on you or your post, but a genuine question.
Fair question, and I'll try to answer it the best I can based on my interactions with hundreds of families who have loved one's with mental illness. One of the big problems often faced by families and their ill relatives is that, because of the stigma that has been placed on mental illness, people who are affected (and their families) are often reluctant to really seek the kind of help they need.
When someone has cancer, they know that the community is going to surround them with compassion and love. But often with mental illness, people will be in denial because they fear the treatment that they will get from friends and society in general if people know they are mentally ill. They fear they will not get compassion, but rather judgement, as if their illness is a character flaw. So, that's how attitudes can affect the outcomes of illnesses like these. How many times have you seem someone being called "psycho," or "schizo" in a movie as if it were some joke? We don't see these kinds of thoughtless comments in movies towards people with cancer or other serious illness, but for some reason, as a society, we still think it's ok to make light of mental illness and treat people affected as second class citizens. If you were diagnosed with an illness that you thought would subject you to ridicule, wouldn't it be a hard thing to accept? So it is for people affected with mental illness because of societal attitudes.
This man killed people and that's tragic. Of course I can't "know" how things might have turned out differently because I don't know all the details of this particular case. But I do believe, based on my personal experience, that the less a person feels stigmatized by their mental illness, the more likely they are to seek treatment and stay on the kinds of medications they need. Attitudes towards people with mental illness in general can and does affect the degree to which they and their families will seek the kind of help they need.
My son's initial diagnosis (back in 2006) was BiPolar, but as his symptoms got worse, it was eventually changed to Schizo Affective disorder, BiPolar Type. I would urge you to suggest to your nephew, to contact his local nami office and inquire about the "Family-to-Family" 12-week education program. I've been teaching this course for several years now and I can tell you that it changes lives. It won't cure their relative's illness, but it will give family members a much better understanding of the illness and give them problem solving tools and communications techniques that will really help them navigate the difficult waters of a relative with a serious brain disorder.
I don’t deny your son’s or any other person’s mental illness, necessarily. I don’t have a solution, either, I just struggle with the following hurdles:
1. If we give people with mental health a pass for violent behavior, then many people will certainly feign mental illness to get a pass. Psychiatrists can be fooled or can be in cahoots for any number of reasons.
2. I base my support of the death penalty and etc. on the Bible, and the Bible does not give exceptions for mental illness. Nor a procedure for diagnosing it.
This does not mean the Bible doesn’t ALLOW me to consider it, just that, there are no clear directions for me there that I am aware of. If the truly crazy are not to be held responsible for murder etc., then it seems to me the Bible would make allowances for that.
3. “Harmless” schizophrenics are sort of a myth, to me. The fact is, they do not have a hold on reality. They can stay harmless all their lives or break at any time. How can that be predicted? “This person who has no hold on reality has not been predatory for five years, thus we foresee he will never be predatory.” There is no way of predicting that.
4. But to involuntarily incarcerate schizophrenics and similar if they have not committed a crime, even in a gentler institution than a prison, still, involuntarily incarcerated, does not seem just and presumes they will commit crimes, when I understand the majority do not.
I have no answers here. Just question. Would be interested in other FReepers’ thoughts.
Thanks for that tip. I’m going to cut/paste your info and email off to my nephew right away. From what I’m hearing from my nephew, and your son’s further diagnosis, I wonder if his son doesn’t have the same thing. I’ve known a few people with bi-polar who can function just fine, so I’ve wondered if maybe there was more to this kid than “just” bi-polar.
The boy (15 now) got the diagnosis in the past 2-3 years, and has been to a few places to deal with it, including a 3-month stay this past summer. Nothing was ever that much help.
I’ve wondered if his growth has something to do with it? From pix it looks like he grows a few inches every couple of months. The boy SEEMS to be about 6’5” to my nephew’s maybe 5’9”. I don’t know if meds for bi-polar are calibrated to height/weight as some meds are for other ailments.
You’ve really helped with explaining the more extensive diagnosis your son received. They need all the help they can get! Thanks.
“I had a friend who was a big strapping handsome guy, raised in a conservative family attending church as he grew up. He joined the military at eighteen which unfortunately was about the time his mental illness started to take hold.”
Schizophrenia usually strikes in the late teens, and early 20’s, so this guy fits the mold. My cousin’s husband was a paranoid schizophrenic, and ended up gassing himself while sitting in a turned-on car in my aunt’s garage while they were on vacation, killing himself. It was very sad. When lucid, he was a really nice guy, but the older he got (he made it into his early 40’s) the more his paranoia manifested itself. I was talking to him at a family reunion pig roast at another relative’s horse farm, as he had come over and sat next to me with things on his mind. What was on his mind was that everyone was out to get him in one way or the other, and he was very concerned about it.
That was a pure example of his paranoia, and I tried to reassure him that it wasn’t true, but of course, it didn’t make any real difference, although I did manage to calm him. It wasn’t much longer after that reunion party that he ended up offing himself. Couldn’t fight his demons anymore. I hope someday they can either find a cure for schizophrenia, or find meds that will truly modify the disease so that it is merely a maintenance issue, but that day is not yet.
“He joined the military at eighteen which unfortunately was about the time his mental illness started to take hold”
That sounds about right. The average age for onset of schizophrenia in males is 18. A bit later for women. An insidious disease that takes away any promising future the victim might have had.
That insurance company lost two paying customers.
There are bad seeds. This guy is one.
I respect your taking the time and sharing your circumstance as you have here.
It seems from even your own story, let alone those like this one in the press, that the laws regarding who is institutionalized need changing—or at least tweaking.
“the shrinks who released him probably are immune from lawsuits”
2. I support the death penalty also, but the law can and should consider the mental competence of someone. "Faking" mental illness isn't as easy as you think. For one thing, a person who is mentally ill usually has a history of the illness. Not saying it is not something that people don't try, but it's not as easy as as you might think.
3. Education about mental illness is key - I understand your assumptions, but they are not based in fact, but rather on the stereotypes that have permeated popular culture. I have first hand experience, thus know what I'm talking about. Your attitude is common in society and is why I'm "coming out" about my son - there is just too much ignorance and misinformation about mental illness out there. That is just a fact. Opinions are formed based on the stereotypes and misinformation out there. Most people who suffer Mental illness are not dangerous or the "Norman Bates" character that we see in the movies.
4. Involuntary commitment isn't done without a court order. The judge has to be convinced that the person experiencing the psychotic break could be a danger to themselves or to others (in my son's case, it was a danger of suicide). If someone is committed, as my son was, it is not a punishment, it is done because the person needs medical help (remember, mental illness is REAL biological illness) but the court determines that the person is not competent to make the choice to get the help needed. The same thing is often done, for example, with people with Alzheimer's.
5. I appreciate your thoughts and opinions, but unless you have walked in my shoes, it's really difficult to fully understand just how difficult dealing with these illnesses can be.
Lobbying on behalf of the mentally ill to change laws is one of the things that Nami does. For example in my State, until very recently, only a handful of police officers were trained to deal with mentally ill individuals and learn how to "deescalate" dangerous situations when the person is psychotic. These officers are part of a CIT team (Crisis Intervention Team), but many people didn't know that they could ask for "CIT" when calling 911. Now, a new law requires that ALL new police officers get CIT-type training throughout the State.
In my son's case, he needed to be committed (now that he is stable and properly medicated, even he recognizes it was the right thing to do, even if he didn't think so at the time).
You have mail.
I can't add anything to your post. Those that try to understand the various psychotic illness will....those that don't understand never will.
I'll say one thing, though....when suddenly there's one in your own family circle you get an entirely different perspective......and love and the desire to help overcome ignorance and hatred.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.