Lately, there has been a surge of different diagnoses for seemingly normal behavior. It seems that ordinary behavior is being marginalized, compared to an objective standard of ‘normal’, for no good reason. But who is to blame for this? I think many people are.
1) Big Pharma
The pharmaceutical companies make drugs that help people. Ironically, they are also disincentivized to cure people. If they make a drug that cures someone of a mental “illness”, even if they charge an exorbitant amount for that drug, they only make a relatively small profit. However, if they make a drug that treats and/or improves the illnesses, they can make huge profits forever.
At the same time, they are disincentivized to cure rare diseases, for the same reason – small profit. They lean towards curing illnesses that many people have. And what happens when they have reached most of the people? When they have saturated the market?
They have to find new diseases, new illnesses. The power of suggestion is a tempting thing. That’s where these guys come in.
2) The Psychiatric Community
People visit psychiatrists and other mental health specialists in greater numbers now. The stigma of mental illness is gradually being removed. This is generally a good thing – but with a few side effects.
There are many issues that people bring to psychiatrists and psychologists that they can’t explain. They have no name for it. So when the mental illness of the month comes along, or big pharma makes a suggestion, it’s all too tempting to seize one of these as an explanation for otherwise normal behavior – especially in children. A child who has tantrums is diagnosed with “Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder” instead of just ‘being a child’ – i.e., acting within normal parameters for a child.
I think there are other situations where this is true. If there is a traumatic event or situation, I think it is normal to react with sadness, withdrawal, and any one of a number of different human reactions. Everyone is different. This is why there can’t be just one drug to treat something, and can’t be a simple catch-all diagnosis to bestow on everyone.
3) The Media
2-3 years ago, it was all the rage to abstain from giving kids vaccines for fear it would cause autism. According to widespread reports, the onset of autism happened to coincide with the Mumps,Measles and Rubella, or MMR, vaccine. So of course one causes the other, right? Wrong. But the media reported on this as though it were true, because it was backed by science!
Unfortunately, nearly all of the evidence for this came from one study conducted by Andrew Wakefield. Wakefield was formerly Doctor Wakefield, but his license to practice medicine was stripped in Britain. He was the leading proponent of this erroneous claim – at least, until the ultra-idiotic Jenny McCarthy came along and amped this stupid claim up to eleven. She appeared on television and was actually treated as an authority, simply because she once took her clothes off and picked her nose on MTV 20 years ago.
Wakefield was found to have faked the data, and furthermore was found to have a financial stake in an alternative vaccine company, one that would have benefited greatly from the fooling of the public. And to this day, despite his claim being debunked, many stupid people still believe this is true.
At the same time, incidents of autism diagnosis have been on the rise for many years. This is in part because of improved detection methods, yes – but also an increase in massive media coverage, and in mental health professionals latching on to the label for lack of a better explanation.
This is just my opinion. I’d like to say that I’m not a Scientologist or something. I think the psychiatric community has merit and value. I also think many people legitimately need help, and in fact are helped by drugs they are prescribed.
I just think that two things may be at work here. First,psychiatrists and other mental health professionals are extremely reluctant to say they don’t know why or even if something is wrong, and they tend to grasp at labels that are virtually handed to them. Second, they seem to be equally as reluctant to say that there is nothing wrong, and what a person is feeling or acting out on is perfectly within normal parameters for human beings.
I am also not a doctor, so don’t take medical advice from me. I am merely suggesting that if you are currently taking something, and have been for quite some time with no “improvement” or change, please consider the possibility that there is actually nothing wrong with you. You are a normal human being. To use a metaphor, perhaps you merely need ‘reading glasses for the brain’, as opposed to ‘lasik surgery for the brain’.
- Is Mental Illness Over-diagnosed? Backlash Over The New DSM-V (medicaldaily.com)
- A disease called “childhood” (recoverynetworktoronto.wordpress.com)
- Mental Illness in Kids: The Surprising Warning Signs (everydayhealth.com)
- Infighting, boycotts, resignations: Psychiatry faces another crisis of confidence (theprovince.com)
- Marketing Crazy – manual doctors use to diagnose mental illness has critics fearing a bonanza of over-medication (cchrint.org)
- Psychiatrists, critics face off over new diagnostic manual (fresnobee.com)
- Medicine’s Big New Battleground: Does Mental Illness Really Exist? (disinfo.com)