Skip to comments.Snake Phobias, Moodiness and a Battle in Psychiatry
Posted on 06/13/2005 7:11:09 PM PDT by neverdem
A college student becomes so compulsive about cleaning his dorm room that his grades begin to slip. An executive living in New York has a mortal fear of snakes but lives in Manhattan and rarely goes outside the city where he might encounter one. A computer technician, deeply anxious around strangers, avoids social and company gatherings and is passed over for promotion.
Are these people mentally ill?
In a report released last week, researchers estimated that more than half of Americans would develop mental disorders in their lives, raising questions about where mental health ends and illness begins.
In fact, psychiatrists have no good answer, and the boundary between mental illness and normal mental struggle has become a battle line dividing the profession into two viscerally opposed camps.
On one side are doctors who say that the definition of mental illness should be broad enough to include mild conditions, which can make people miserable and often lead to more severe problems later.
On the other are experts who say that the current definitions should be tightened to ensure that limited resources go to those who need them the most and to preserve the profession's credibility with a public that often scoffs at claims that large numbers of Americans have mental disorders.
The question is not just philosophical: where psychiatrists draw the line may determine not only the willingness of insurers to pay for services, but the future of research on moderate and mild mental disorders. Directly and indirectly, it will also shape the decisions of millions of people who agonize over whether they or their loved ones are in need of help, merely eccentric or dealing with ordinary life struggles.
"This argument is heating up right now," said Dr. Darrel Regier, director of research at the American Psychiatric Association, "because..."
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
This stuff makes me crazy!
Watching the gradual increase in the number of classifications of mental disease is driving me nuts.
Great minds think alike.
Haa haa haa haa haa!!! Hee hee hee hee heeeee!!! I am Napoleon, and YOU can't do anything about it!!!!
Yes they do.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
"Haa haa haa haa haa!!! Hee hee hee hee heeeee!!! I am Napoleon, and YOU can't do anything about it!!!!"
Not true. I can try to get a federal grant to study and 'treat' you. That is, after all the point of all this. You declare you're mentally ill, you get some sort of disability determination, and you get free money from the gummint. To quote the learned Sally Brown, "All I want is what I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share."
I love Stupid Pet Tricks...
Stochastically® speaking, those look like no substantial changes over the last two decades.
I was going to make a joke about this, but how can I top Howard Dean?
I trust shrinks less then I trust lawyers.
If you see a shrink at one end of the hall and a lawyer at the other end of the hall, run toward the lawyer.
On the other hand, if the lawyer and shrink have teemed up on you and there is an iron maiden nearby, run into the iron maiden and shut the door firmly.
If there is no iron maiden around, act as crazy as possible. Shrinks and lawyers working together can only really victimize sane people, if they think you're actually crazy, there's a chance they'll leave you be.
Oh yeah? Well my dog just told me that my real name is Xorq and I am the supreme ruler of the Andromeda galaxy! So take that, little earthling. Now where is my medicine? Oops, the dog ate it.
"Mental illness" is largely a matter of who's doing the defining. During the heyday of Communism anyone who didn't toe the Party line could easily find himself in a "mental health hospital." The dominant group usually has the power of confinement over any anti-establishment figure who crosses normative boundaries.
Certainly there are genuine psychotics and neurotics who pose hazards to themselves and others. That's real mental illness. But outfits like the American Pyschological Association have entered the field of politics and pose a huge danger, redefining mental illness along politically correct lines; as do the type of social workers who brought us terrifying travesties such as the McMartin Preschool disaster. This is very scary stuff.
Thanks for the ping. Interesting topic.
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