When Doctors Decide Your Disease Doesn’t Actually Exist   Leave a comment

I think I’ve said that I worked as an administrator for a community mental health center for more than a decade.
I can attest to the people whose entire lives have been defined by a disability that I often thought did not apply to that person.
There are people who have schizophrenia who may never be able to work at 9-5 job because they can’t handle the stress and the voices. I’ve met those people. Many of them, however, can work a part-time job with an understanding boss AND SHOULD. And I have met legitimately depressed people who needed help … for a time.
The problem with these diagnoses is that they frequently are used as an excuse for not living. “I can’t get a job because I suffer depression.” Seriously? You were diagnosed 10 years ago and you’ve been stable for a decade and sometime in the last 8 or 9 years you didn’t feel well enough to get off your butt and do something for yourself? You manage to show up at this mental health center several times a week for a free lunch. Seriously? You couldn’t use that energy to work for a living? Then you find out they do have activities to keep them from being bored — church, kids, one woman owned horses — but no, they couldn’t possibly work because they “suffer from depression.”
I’m glad to see the DSM-V is tightening up definitions. Maybe psychiatrists have begun to realize that the country can’t afford so many “disabled” people.

pundit from another planet

People come to like their diagnoses, or at least to feel that they have explanatory power for the dissatisfactions in their lives.

Theodore Dalrymple writes: Diseases that have no objective tests to distinguish them from normality have a tendency to spread like fungus: for example, it is years since I heard anyone say that he was unhappy rather than depressed, and it cannot be a coincidence that 10 percent of the populations of most western countries are now taking antidepressants. Yet the state of melancholia undoubtedly exists, as anyone who has seen a case will attest.

Likewise with autism. I remember an isolated, friendless and uncommunicative patient who tried to kill himself when his landlord could no longer tolerate the collection of light-bulbs that he had collected since childhood, was constantly enlarging, and that now threatened to fill the whole house. For the patient light-bulbs were the meaning of…

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Posted October 12, 2013 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

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