Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Top Ten: “Mental Disorders” That Aren’t

10. Cannabis addiction
9. Gender identity disorder
8. Hysteria
7. Borderline personality disorder
6. Narcissistic personality disorder
5. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
4. ADD/ADHD
3. Depression
2. Dissociative identity disorder (Split personality)
1. Sex addiction

22 comments:

  1. Some of those, sure. But on what basis are you saying that -- to take the most obvious objection -- depression isn't a mental disorder?

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    1. Being happy all the time is more of a mental disorder than depression is.

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    2. So wait, you're saying depression isn't a disease because the opposite of depression is a disease? Or are you confusing "being sad occasionally" with depression? (Hint: they aren't the same thing at all.)

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    3. No, depression isn't a disease because there's no need to diagnose "being a whiny bitch" as a disease. I was just pointing out that I think chronically happy people have some sort of mental disorder.

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    4. Okay, thanks for sharing. Glad to know your stance. You could have been unambiguous and slightly more concise by just writing "Regardless of the evidence, I consider that the medical evidence for or against the classification of disease is secondary to my personal ideology, and engage in armchair diagnosis along the lines of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh." But I suppose it would have been less poetic.

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    5. Keep believing the people who are so eager to sell you the cure to something that mysteriously didn't exist until they developed pills to cure it.

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    6. ...as opposed to believing the Guy On the Internet with no qualifications whatever to give a qualified opinion?

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    7. I always expect a lot of butthurt when I point out that depression is a phoney "disease" invented to sell numbing pills. You don't have to value my opinion; keep popping that Xanax and see where it gets you.

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    8. Right, and they just made up HIV because it didn't exist until recently.

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    9. You can do a blood test to detect HIV, which is an actual virus. I don't think that's a good comparison at all. At least go with schizophrenia or something that is an internally based mental disorder, not something caused by a pathogen.

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    10. Being whiny isn't a disease. It's also not the definition of clinical depression.

      Depression and schizophrenia can both be internally based mental disorders - they may just involve different neurotransmitters or different areas of the brain (schizophrenia tends to involve increased dopamine receptors in the limbic area of the brain). There is a strong genetic component to both disorders.

      Drugs are a treatment, not a cure, and they aren't right for all patients. If symptoms are caused by external factors (grief, extreme stress, etc.), drugs aren't doing to change those factors. They can be helpful for those who have serious clinical depression, although the science isn't perfect and side effects can be a serious problem. A disease, however, does not cease to exist merely because the perfect cure has not been found.

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    11. I would feel better about the idea of "depression" being a disease if it weren't for the fact that nearly anyone can be diagnosed with it at some point in their life. A mental disorder is not some transient mood, it's not a lack of drive, it's not losing interest in people and activities going on around you.

      I know quite well what the clinical definition of depression is, but the end result is always this: the person needs to make actual life changes, but they're too chickenshit to do it, so they get medicated into being numb to how empty their life is and how detached they have become.

      If people want to medicate themselves, I wouldn't try to stop them, but I'm not going to pretend people who take these pills are any different than some poor working schlub who goes to the bar for a couple drinks after work, or, perhaps more accurately, the narcotics user who needs their fix just to get by. I'm fine with it, but I still reserve the right to judge them.

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    12. 1. I agree that a mental disorder is not a transient mood.

      2. There's more than one cause of depressive symptoms. If it's external (grief, job loss, bad living situation), then life changes are needed. If it's not, and the person objectively has no outside reason to be depressed, they are going to need treatment.

      3. I agree that there's not much difference between prescription drugs, alcohol and street drugs - but it's not uncommon for alcoholics or drug abusers to actually be suffering from mental illness and to be essentially self-medicating with drugs and/or alcohol.

      4. If someone seeks treatment for depression, and finds that they are able to get the proper amount of sleep, keep a healthy weight, actually function at home and at work, properly care for their kids, stop obsessing about suicide and otherwise be a more functional person as a result of that treatment, why would you judge them? What would make you think that you are in any position to do so?

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    13. You can't think of any problem associated with over-prescription of drugs that have been shown to increase incidence of suicide and are difficult to stop taking? There are billion dollar pharmaceutical companies profiting off pills that are designed to make you numb, even if it kills you, and you have to take them nearly indefinitely or risk a relapse even more severe than when you started.

      But like I said, I wouldn't stand in anyone's way, I would even fight for their right to have these treatments covered by insurance if it ever came to that, but I still know for a fact that too many people who have taken anti-depressants would have been better off without them. If we had a mysterious epidemic of depression and the treatment wasn't so overtly harmful, I might not feel compelled to say anything. However, since anti-depressants are a bigger problem in society than depression is, I do feel the need to say something.

      The mood altering drugs we lazily prescribe people by the millions are a serious danger, and I worry that prescribing them so much has eroded the integrity of the medical profession, which is something we should all be able to trust.

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    14. So if you need to "judge" anything, judge over-prescription and those doctors that do it. While you're at it, fight for some funding for supports and therapies that don't require meds (people who have a roof over head, decent food on their plates and functional relationships, for example, tend to have better mental health).

      Judging people for making use of a treatment that works for THEM, just because it may be abused by others, seems a bit too close to the arguments used against medical marijuana.

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    15. Is it working? More pills are sold every year... I don't think they're "working."

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  2. I don't know whether you're say they aren't real or that they aren't disorders because they're fairly common? A bunch of those are definitely real conditions.

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  3. I have to mostly agree with you, Bret. Most of should be classified as character flaws at best (or worst?).

    Then there's Gender Identity Disorder. Are they suggesting trans people have a disease?

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    1. Then there's Gender Identity Disorder. Are they suggesting trans people have a disease?

      Exactly, I'm glad it didn't seem like I was saying transsexuality wasn't real, just that it isn't a disease. I always found that to be an odd way of looking at a form of sexuality.

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  4. It's not so much that depression was invented to sell pills. Chronic depression was discussed in psychoanalytic circles long before the pills were available. It's just that nobody regarded it as a disease all by itself until it became economically advantageous to do so. It was always considered a surface symptom of some deeper psychological issue.

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    1. Sure, going back to it being called by other names, like malaise. I don't even have a problem with people taking a pill (or having a drink or doing a drug) to treat their depression, I just think the drug-pushing industry is particularly bad when it comes to these sort of disorders.

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