When one declares oneself to be a conservative, one is not, unfortunately, thereupon visited by tongues of fire that leave one omniscient. The acceptance of a series of premises is just the beginning. After that, we need constantly to inform ourselves, to analyze and to think through our premises and their ramifications. We need to ponder, in the light of the evidence, the strengths and the weaknesses, the consistencies and the inconsistencies, the glory and the frailty of our position, week in and week out. Otherwise, we will not hold our own in a world where informed dedication, not just dedication, is necessary for survival and growth.

William F. Buckley Jr., Feb 8, 1956, NR

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Who Gets to Decide Who is "Normal"?

1 in 5 young Americans has personality disorder"
CHICAGO - Almost one in five young American adults has a personality disorder that interferes with everyday life, and even more abuse alcohol or drugs, researchers reported Monday in the most extensive study of its kind.

The disorders include problems such as obsessive or compulsive tendencies and anti-social behavior that can sometimes lead to violence. The study also found that fewer than 25 percent of college-aged Americans with mental problems get treatment.

The article also stated that one expert said personality disorders may be overdiagnosed. Go to the link for the full article. You can actually read an article from MSNBC without suffering too much of a personality disorder.

What seems normal to one person may not seem normal to another. Two questions: Who's deciding what a personality disorder is? Do they have any personality disorders themselves? Are all psychiatrists personality disorder free? Okay... that's three questions. Sorry.

I've been tagged by Don's" mind. The tag requires that I post seven "odd" things about myself. it seems to fit in pretty well with this post.

I occasionally enjoy the whiff of Skunk when driving. I'm a woman who hates to shop. I don't like crowds, and after hearing about that poor man being stomped to death at a Wal-Mart, I'm thankful for that! I'm ambidextrous. I don't have a favorite color. I actually like Caster Oil. I like the smell of Cabbage. My favorite smell is gasoline. So... am I normal? Probably not. But what's normal, and as I said before, who gets to decide? Do I even want to be considered "normal"? I don't think so. We're all born with different abilities, and we all have different experiences that help make up our personalities. One man's "normal" is another man's "crazy as a loon", so I don't see how these studies can be made with any real accuracy.

I know the study focused on personality deficiencies that interfere with everyday life, but I still have my doubts as to the accuracy of it, probably because I hate to contemplate one out of five young people being nuts.

I'm going shopping today. :(

(Crossposted at Dragon Lady's Den.)


Clay said...

This personality psycho babble is just another act of keeping Americans fat and stupid and now drugged up. Kids that show uniqueness, the ability to question (authroity like governments), and lead instead of following are now being drugged. The government doesn't like those who asks hard questions. We have seen Obama guilty of this.

Hyperactivity has escalated with the high fructose corn syrup, and the pharmacutical companies are pushing these drugs on kids without educating on the side effects. Get the kids off the sugar if you are worred about their behavior. Stop buying Twinkies and stupid pimpin' energy drinks.It really scares me we want to zombieize children these days with drugs.

In my blog, The Dangers of the Veterans Disarmament Act, I uncovered a dirty little secret about these drugs. It's worth checking out.

Gayle said...
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Gayle said...

I agree with you, Clay. We raised our granddaughter, and when we got her the psychiatrists said she was slightly retarded and unable to learn. We got her when she was 6. Funny thing, she got straight A's throughout her school years and just recently graduated from college. Pretty good for a "retarded" kid, wouldn't you say?

She was our son's daughter, whose moonbat wife kidnapped her and exposed her to all sorts of horrors. She was six when we got her. She was really messed up. Like a child who had been raised by wolves. She needed love, stability, and discipline. She thrived on all three. I don't put much stock in psychiatrists.

I'll check out your post when I return from shopping. Thanks! :)

Patrick M said...

As someone who (according to the experts) would probably have at least 2 or three personality disorders (which explains my blogging), the whole "normal" thing is excessively overrated. It's also an industry.

Consider that this is the reason there are a passel of shrinks and legal drugs lined up to "fix" these poor lost children.

In reality, we as a culture have become too soft and too willing to indulge bad behavior, classifying it as an illness. Instead of requiring the majority to suck it up when life's adversity kicks them in the nuts (figuratively, for you ladies), we fly in counselors so they can express themselves.

This is not to take away from the people who have genuine mental illness, but a lot of these cases come from kids who didn't have their asses beat, learn how to handle bad situations, and take on responsibility as they grew to adulthood.

Try pulling this in, say, the middle of a third world country, and they're just as likely to kill you off rather than put up with you.

(and yes, I copied my comment from your blog)

Clay said...

Gayle, here's the link. http://bungalowbillscw.blogspot.com/2008/11/dangers-of-veterans-disarmament-act.html

Dave Miller said...

I believe to qualify for a disorder, a behavior must match some pretty rigid standards set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, better known as the DSM-III-R.

Anonymous said...

I think labeling someone with a personality disorder is very dangerous in many ways. First, the label itself is hard to get rid of. Whether you are the "bad kid" or "special needs" these labels seem to stick with you. It is also very detrimental to those that are actually special needs. I've learned quite a bit from Robert, who knows first hand, about having a special child, and special she is! To label a child with a bit too much energy because they eat nothing but sugar, solves nothing and can really damage in the long run.

As most of you know I struggle with anxiety. I fight it constantly and I don't like the labels that are thrown my way. Does it feel better to have a "special" name? No, not particularly. Imagine how much harder it is for a kid to escape being labeled. I've seen a number of psychiatrists throughout the years, and I can say with certainty most of them were more out there than the people they see!

I am so with you on the gasoline smell, I love it! Not so sure of the skunk smell though!

I think normal is highly overrated!

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

I was not able to access the original article (kept getting a 404 error message), but I'll comment nonetheless.

First, attempts to popularize psychology range from misleading to dead wrong, so I would forewarn everyone to approach media accounts with great skepticism.

Personality disorders should not be confused with anxiety disorders, eating disorders, mood disorders, factitious disorders, psychotic disorders, somatoform disorders, dissociative disorders, etc. They are all very different categories.

The so-called personality disorders are these: narcissistic, antisocial, avoidant, hystrionic, obsessive-compulsive, paranoid, schizotypal, and borderline (which should probably be re-classified as a dissociative disorder), etc. The prevalence rate for each is roughly 0.5% to 1 1/2 percent ... depending.

The DSM-IV does provide prevalence data, but I doubt all personality disorders account for more than 9 or 10% of the population. The 1 in 5 figure may refer to the entire panoply of categories catalogued within the DSM-IV.

One problem with pop psych is that amateurs tend to use diagnostic categories to "diss" other people. Obviously wrong and highly unethical. A diagnosis can only be made by a trained and licensed professional. Good diagnostics serve a useful function:

1 - Accurate assessment dictates a proper treatment modality

2 - Diagnostic categories are required for health insurance purposes.

Comments about "labeling" are absolutely correct. A DSM disagnosis should always be kept private and personal, and generally are not deterministic of future patient outcomes. It should also be kept in mind that human beings are fallible regardless of profession. One diagnostic error should not cast doubt on psychology or psychiatry as a whole. This happens in medicine and other professions too.

I hope these remarks are helpful.

Gayle said...

Thanks, all.

Octopus, you obviously know a lot more about the technicalities of diagnosing behavior problems than I do. All I truly have to go by is my own experiences and observations. Nothing was wrong with my granddaughter other than the fact that she had not been taught, had been ignored, and also abused. Not physically as much as mentally. But she was far from being the lost cause that they made her out to be.

Anonymous said...

I love how it was back in the day (and I wasn't even there!) when the kids didn't pay attention at school and got slapped around when they got home... they found a way to pay attention after that.
I can't stand doctors throwing pills at everything! They treat symptoms and not the cause - and that goes for things other than just "mental abnormalities" it includes medical issues too.

All these chemicals we are pumping into our bodies... no wonder we have so many diseases and different cancers.

We all need a scapegoat and if it’s a mental, personality disorder then it’s not our fault.

Me? I also don’t like to shop. I don’t like my husband to help around the house because he just gets in the way. My favorite color depends on my mood. I clean and re-organize when I am mad… or listening to classical music. I do not retain long-ago historical facts and do not care to try. I miss my husband when he is away in the field (of course), which is where he is now, but I also enjoy 10ish days all to myself.

To everyone there is a normal and an abnormal and for everyone it is different. We are not zombies!

rockync said...

I don't believe we should "label" anyone and only intervene when whatever is bothering them interferes with their daily activities.
Albert Einstein was considered lazy AND crazy when he was a child.
I fought the school system for a friend whose son had behavioral problems and the school determined he needed to be on Ritalin. Knowing the laws, I forced them to pay for this kid to see a specialist. Let's see, the kid had been sexually abused as a 3 year old by his grandfather and then his father committed suicide. And in all their infinite wisdom, ritalin was supposed to take care of it!?!
Children need love and guidance and they need to be accountable for their actions -- most of the time what they don't need is a label and a pill.
I've known some very smart, cruel people and some "mentally handicapped" loving people.
I don't care what "normal" is; I'm hanging out with the mental folks!

(O)CT(O)PUS said...
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(O)CT(O)PUS said...

Gayle, I surmise a time span of at least 16 or more years ago when your granddaughter's misdiagnosis was made. It is not unusual for abused or neglected children to underperform on standardized intelligence tests. Abuse or extreme negligence should have been considered (or ruled out) before making such a differential diagnosis.

Disorders in children attributed to abuse or neglect are better understood today than they were years ago. Hardly a lost cause, it is gratifying that her condition resolved successfully under your care.

Gayle said...

Thanks, Belinda. It's nice to know a bit more about you. :)

LOL, Rocky. You make my case!

You're close, Octopus. She's 21 now and we got her when she was 6. I hope they're doing much better now, but I still believe many children are being over-diagnosed and given medication when what they really need is direction, attention, consistancy and discipline.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

I still believe many children are being over-diagnosed and given medication ...

I don't like this trend either. A point of clarification: School systems need to accept some of this blame ... those that refer children for evaluation (i.e. medication) to make classroom management issues easier on themselves. The example offered by Rockync is a perfect case in point.

rockync said...

Hey, working in the jail is a real eye opener! So many juvenile inmates are on pychotropic medications - it boggles the mind. It is a great insight into classroom management techniques. And then of course they aren't held accountable for their actions. Even if they end up in jail, it's usally a wrist slap and out the door to blight society further with their crimes.
Medication has its uses, but the misuse of it should be considered child abuse.

Gayle said...

I agree with you, Octopus.

Rocky, that's extremely sad!