Be honest. Two and a half weeks ago, did you know who Joseph Kony was? For most that would be a big, “NO.” However, today, Joseph Kony is well known as a Ugandan warlord and the leader of The Lords Resistance Army. We know he is a cruel, evil man who has kidnapped and forced thousands of children into sex slavery, while turning others into child soldiers to further his warped agenda.
We have one person to thank for bringing Joseph Kony's name into the public light: Jason Russell. Yes, the man who made the "Kony 2012" documentary that hit the Internet by storm and the co-founder of the group, Invisible Children.
As news of his documentary spread, Russell began hitting the media air waves, giving interviews left and right and appeared to be eating up the attention. But Russell was not prepared for the backlash of tough questions related to motive, money and the exploitation of the children he featured in his film.
As the stress mounted, Russell’s mental state began to deteriorate. Finally, last week, he was filmed naked on a street corner in San Diego, talking to himself and making sexual gestures. He was not arrested but retained and placed in a psychiatric facility with a diagnosis of "brief reactive psychosis."
An official statement by his organization Invisible Children said this was caused by "extreme exhaustion, stress and dehydration." They continue, "...the doctors say this is a common experience given the great mental, emotional and physical shock his body has gone through in these last two weeks." His wife, as well as Invisible Children, stress it had nothing to do with drugs or alcohol.
I’m not here to judge whether Jason Russell deserved some of the criticism he received. Rather, I want to discuss "brief reactive psychosis" as a psychiatric diagnosis. In those pre-disposed, intense stress over a short period of time, coupled with poor diet, little sleep and exhaustion can be the trigger. The symptoms can include hallucinations, delusions and disordered thinking. Most patients who experience just a single episode recover fully and don’t go on to develop a more severe, long term psychiatric condition.
Given the right set of circumstances this can happen to almost anyone and it’s important to not let this influence your view of Jason Russell or what he accomplished.
He’s not crazy or psycho or a weirdo.
He has a temporary condition that by definition will be resolved with time. Don’t let this sway your perception of what he accomplished by exposing the evil of Joseph Kony to the world.
The fact that he had this breakdown in no way diminishes the man or his accomplishments.
Dr. Dale Archer is a psychiatrist and frequent guest on "FoxNews.com Live." He is the author of the new bestselling book "Better Than Normal: How What Makes You Different Can Make You Exceptional"For more, visit his website: Dr.DaleArcher.com.