Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Another I Told You So

Hmmm... what could possibly be wrong with diagnosing "grief and anxiety" as mental illnesses?  I mean, beyond the fact that's just stupid?

Oh, and over here I remember that the SCOAMT promised that his administration would crack down on the mentally ill getting guns.  Apropos of nothing, of course.

My mother often calls me a pessimist.  She says I look on the bad side of things and should really endeavor to see the good instead.  I tell her that Endeavour doesn't fly anymore.  After she rolls her eyes, I tell her that I'm not a pessimist.  It's not that I look at things as they are and say "Doom, gloom, and agony on me," rather I'm a cynic in that I always expect people to act in their own self-interest (that is: selfishly), and a realist in that I realize that is never going to change.

When I wrote that piece, I said this:
Do you know how easy it is for the DSM-V to be modified based on politics?  Congratulations, owners of multiple guns.  You can now be diagnosed as mentally-ill.

Okay, I know that diagnosing children as mentally ill is not exactly the same as calling any owner of multiple guns a psychopath, but they end up with the same result.  People who are not sick (most of them) being forever branded as "mentally ill."  Oh, and incidentally denied their second amendment rights as a result, at least potentially.

I do neither deny nor doubt that mental illness really exists, is a real thing, and that people with mental illnesses need treatment.  What I do reject is any so obviously fuzzy realm of science being given the authority of canon by way of a "manual."  Too many people look at the DSM-V as writ gospel regarding mental health, when we really know nothing about the brain.  We don't know why some medications work for some people, and not others.  Some medications for depression, if given to the wrong person, can actually make their depression worse.  Yet we are told by these same people that grief and anxiety (normal reactions to, say, the death of a loved one) are reason to be concerned about mental illness.

I'm not even going to say that there aren't times that someone's "grief" can go on too long and become a chronic thing that needs real help (though I'm guessing the times it needs to be treated with medication are few and far between).

What I am going to say is that this is proof that the DSM-V is a highly political manual.  It doesn't always and exclusively change because of advances in science; it frequently changes based on "best guesses" and, not infrequently, politics and a social agenda.

Which makes the SCOAMT's Imperial Pronouncements last week especially troubling.

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