Dec 2, 2008

Is half the population crazy or is is just the shrinks?

From the great Junkfood Science comes the latest "kids nowadays" - shrinks claim that one is every two college kids has a psychiatric disorder. The mind boggles.

Wild and crazy toga parties, food fights, drinking, smoking, and foolish pranks made National Lampoon’s Animal House a cult classic thirty years ago. Today, college kids like Bluto, played by John Belushi, and his friends would be diagnosed as needing psychiatric treatment.

Nearly half of all college-age young people had a psychiatric disorder in the past year, according to psychiatrists from New York in the latest issue of Archives of General Psychiatry. More precisely, their behaviors, as reported to interviewers during a 2001-2002 epidemiological survey, matched symptoms listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).

Right. And there was I thinking that "outlandish" behaviour was a result of freedom after restriction since childhood. But then again, I'm thinking logically not emotionally.

I had a few wild years in college, as did most of my classmates, and guess what? Now most are perfectly normal adults leading good enough lives. The very idea that we somehow have a psychiatric disorder is ludicrous. Seems to me like the shrinks want to scare us into therapy, where they make a mint.

I've no doubt that a particularly bad shrink may label me paranoid for writing this but it seems to me that there is more of a emphasis put on diagnosing the masses than treating with compassion and respect. I've seen two shrinks and both sucked: shrink A because she treated critical incident stress as an ongoing clinical issue; and shrink B because she pathologised my personality based on my fat.

That's a ridiculous assessment. Either shrinks are crazy or I am. As someone who has a mental illness, I am within the system. I don't think that accepting what I cannot change is a symptom on a personality disorder.

When I read shit like this it pisses me off because I know so many people that are utterly failed by healthcare systems, public or private. It also starts me wondering that if half the population has a psychiatric disorder then (a) can we really call it a disorder and (b) why is it so stigmatised?

When I go to see a doc, a mental one or otherwise, I evaluate care based on these criteria:

  • Respect for patients
  • Diagnosis
  • Ability to work with me
  • Listening to me
  • Hearing me
  • Disagree when you need to but try not to hit me over the head with it
  • Talk to me as I am, not as a child or an idiot
  • Do not ever express that you know more about my body then I do. So tired of explaining to each doc that my temperature is normal at 36 not 37...
  • Don't be afraid to admit ignorance

A medical professional is in the business of providing and not creating services. If a doc provides a crappy job then ze doesn't get paid. As for the doc who told me to "look it up on the internet", I'm never paying that bill.


Anonymous said...

Hell yeah!!!!!!!!!!!

GallingGalla said...

Seems to me like the shrinks want to scare us into therapy, where they make a mint.

Oh, i think that this is a big part of their motivation, esp. in the USA, where most shrinks won't even accept insurance, so they charge what they want.

But also, I think they are trained to treat difference as defect. They learn a white, male, upper-class, eurocentric, neurotypical standard of so-called "normalcy", and pathologize any difference from that very narrow worldview, and hence operate to reinforce kyriarchy (there I go, repeating myself...)

oh, and btw, my body temperature averages 36C also. Fortunately, my doc isn't concerned, and neither am i...

Mór Rígan said...

GG I'm glad that you doc doesn't think you're a nutter when you explain the 36 degrees to hir! It's just a variation.

I am seriously thinking that it's a numbers game. How many people can you other and put it a box?

I agree with that it probably is a training issue. But that does not excuse the wilful application of irrelevent details. Most of us are taught by the kyriarchy that to be other is lesser but we stand up and say no. But when it comes to shrinks, the belief that we are equal pathologises us.

No wonder that 50% of the population comes off as other when the default is a middle class white euro male.

Mór Rígan said...

You know it Lola!