Monday, June 20, 2011

It looks as though it will be harder and harder to be normal.

Marcia Angell, The Illusions of Psychiatry

[Dr. Daniel Carlat's] work consists of asking patients a series of questions about their symptoms to see whether they match up with any of the disorders in the DSM. This matching exercise, he writes, provides the illusion that we understand our patients when all we are doing is assigning them labels.
This is the practice of some critics.

Dr. Angell:
The apparent prevalence of juvenile bipolar disorder jumped forty-fold between 1993 and 2004, and that of autism increased from one in five hundred children to one in ninety over the same decade. Ten percent of ten-year-old boys now take daily stimulants for ADHD—attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder—and 500,000 children take antipsychotic drugs. — Ibid.

To me, you are the very picture of normality.

On a societal note:
As low-income families experience growing economic hardship, many are finding that applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments on the basis of mental disability is the only way to survive. It is more generous than welfare, and it virtually ensures that the family will also qualify for Medicaid. According to MIT economics professor David Autor, This has become the new welfare. Hospitals and state welfare agencies also have incentives to encourage uninsured families to apply for SSI payments, since hospitals will get paid and states will save money by shifting welfare costs to the federal government. — Ibid.

This is one reason Ozu, the director whose view of society is most normal, is important today.

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