Stratified Reproduction and Kin of Last Resort
This chapter explores how the women living in the daily-rent hotels experienced mental health crises and psychiatric care in the context of ongoing stimulant use. Today, posttraumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder are diagnosed at very high frequency, and the prescription of broad spectrum atypical antipsychotic medications is routine among homeless women. Clinically speaking, post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder are difficult conditions to diagnose and treat in the presence of active substance use. Yet the symptoms of these conditions—trauma, despair, rage, and mania—are viewed as appropriate responses on the part of addicted women to experiences of structural vulnerability, social suffering, and housing instability. Women experienced “neurocratic pregnancies,” in which poverty and addiction made mental health diagnosis and treatment both necessary and problematic.