Who is the real judge of sanity? And should our government and pharmaceutical companies be making those decisions? Frankly, after many of the mental health professionals I have met, I wouldn’t trust them to make those kinds of decisions in my life. I always figured people pursue degrees in psychology because they are attempting to understand what is wrong in their own life and I’ve known many admit that that was indeed the reason they were interested in the subject.
You may ask how I’ve come in contact with so many mental health professionals and although I was taken to counseling after molestation as a teenager, most of my experiences with psychologists were personal relationships and friendships as an adult. And I have to say that most I have known are as unstable as they profess the rest of the world of being. I even went so far as to marry one once… a man who ran around naked in front of the kids, hung the head of our dead dog on a tree and wanted to shingle our house with tin cans, was also the same man who put on a suit every day and made determinations about other people’s state of mental health.
So when I see the American Psychological Association adding new diagnoses to their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) I grow uneasy. These new categories are not created through study or any real new mental disorders, these new diagnoses are decided by member vote. Mental health disorders such as Reading Disorder, Mathematics Disorder, Disorder of Written Expression, Social Phobia and Nicotine Dependence are now worthy of mental health treatment, you know, behavior modifying drugs. News With Views
So who really should judge who is sane and not sane? The way the APA is heading everyone will be declared as having one disorder or another and with the addition of the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health it seems the goal is to have all Americans evaluated, starting in pre-school.
As a young child I had imaginary friends that I talked to and played with, I guess nowadays to the APA that might infer schizophrenia and a need for medication. As a teenager, I failed Algebra, Math Disorder, I’m definitely a nut job now. Is it not enough that hundreds of thousands of kids are now zombied out on Ritalin? Whereas kids used to be able to run, play, jump and explore for hours a day, we’ve convinced parents that having excess energy is a disorder, instead of changing the system, we are attempting to change people and what makes a person an individual.
What we are seeing is one more infringement of our rights, as the pharmaceutical companies seek more ways to sell their products. In an article out of Ireland, psychiatrists are beginning to stand up to the pharmaceutical companies, claiming that "the influence of the pharmaceutical industry is unhealthy". The Drugs Don’t Work
And what is the goal of all this intrusion? Well, to make us more productive workers, tax payers and consumers, of course. That is, after all, the most important thing, right? We are supposed to change our way of being, of thinking and of feeling, to fit in an easily counted bean drawer. People are different, Thank God, and we are supposed to different, we are not all supposed to be same, because then, what the hell would be the point? Although we may all have a different ideas of why we are here, I think most will agree, we’re not here simply to please our employers, authority figures or peers.
In a battery of medical tests, including a psychological evaluation of my son to determine the amount of brain damage caused by developing hydrocephalus at 9 years old, it was determined that I was an over-protective parent and he was depressed and a hyperchrondriac. I was seeking help because I knew something was wrong, I beat my head against a brick wall that would not move- the rules and diagnoses created by experts. Finally, with his body emaciated, experiencing daily fevers and then seizures, they decided to take a second look and found he had been suffering from a fungal infection of the central nervous system for months, if not years. My instincts had been right, the symtoms he complained of were real and after innumerable surgeries, months of recovery and two years of home school, he was ready to go back to school, but not one expert apologized. And I’m sure the records were never changed, to them I’m still over-protective and he’s a depressed hyperchrondriac.
If I had of listened to the experts, I would have ignored my instincts and most assuredly lived to regret it, but by standing up and challenging them, I gained a label of mental instability. So I learned that what many in the world consider normal and sane, ie., listening to the experts over our own feelings and instincts, I consider insane. So it would only make sense that some things I consider normal, the experts would probably call a mental imbalance, so who’s right? And who decides? The government? Pharmaceutical companies? The APA? Or the individual?
Yes, I recognize that there are folks out there that are actually mentally imbalanced, but do we have to screen the whole nation? Especially considering how creative the APA is in naming disorders, we will all fall in one category or another. From mood disorders to male erectile disorder to religious or spiritual problems to relational disorders to pain disorders to anxiety, stuttering and sleeping problems, we can all find a home in the DSM. And a drug to go along with it.