Thursday, 27 December 2012

What Is Normal Anyway?

I would call myself 'normal'.  I would also call my friend who has the beginnings of dementia 'normal' even though she displays common symptoms of this distressing disease.

Since my 40s I've been a staunch supporter of the mental health charity MIND.  It provided the best support and advice for those suffering from poor mental health and it acknowledged the public ignorance of diseases of the mind.

Some of the he most common are anxiety and depression and most of us suffer one or other for a short time during out lifetimes.  Sadly there are people who suffer constant anxiety, depression or other issues and require the help of professionals who understand how the mind works; albeit their knowledge is limited.

Nowadays however, so many of our children are labelled as having a mental or behavioural disorders such as ADHD - something which never existed a few decades ago. Children are diagnosed at such a pace that within a few decades, if  the psychiatry isn't questioned, more children will be labelled with a disorder than not.

Of course finances enter into these diagnoses; schools receive extra funding for any child labelled as having a disorder and parents receive state funding for their child's 'disability'.

Over the years, in my spasmodic voluntary work, I've met adults with serious mental health problems and children who I would class as 'unruly' although they have been identified as mental health sufferers.  Their parents are always anxious to emphasise the 'symptoms' of their disability and usually while the child is present.  I've always been uncomfortable with that, but the children don't seem to mind their parent discussing their 'problem'.  If a child - or adult for that matter - is told often enough they have a medical problem, they'll believe it.

The industry of modern psychiatry has been accused of having 'officially gone insane'.  I agree. Today's psychiatrists are paid for diagnosing children and receive kick-backs from big Pharma, schools are happy to refer children to their services because they receive extra funding and parents want a name for their child's 'bad' behaviour.  No parent wants to think they're not doing a good job rearing their children.

An example of how insane the mental health industry has become is:

The DSM is now larger than ever, and it includes disorders such as "Obedience Defiance Disorder" (ODD), defined as refusing to lick boots and follow false authority. Rapists who feel sexual arousal during their raping activities are given the excuse that they have "Paraphilic coercive disorder" and therefore are not responsible for their actions. (But they will need medication, of course!)

My intention is not to knock all psychiatrists as some are dedicated to their profession, but to call for an end to identifying young children as having a mental disorder, without lengthy and detailed testing.  That is a cruel hoax, but as long as the state continues to pay the child's carers money and big Pharma is so involved, then little will be done about the number of children on mind-altering drugs.

The article calls for the abolition of psychiatry but it has its uses in society. I would call for the abolition of medicines prescribed by psychiatrists for children.

There's no doubt mental health disorders are being fabricated and until the finance element is removed from children's mental health, then nothing will be done. What is normal anyway?



Disenfranchised of Buckingham said...

While I agree with the thrust of your article I have to note some children do have genuine mental disorders that need medication. My son was on Prozac through his early teens and it was, possibly literally, a life saver.

pa_broon74 said...


I've worked with young people for over 20 years now, voluntary and paid (for Social Work and Education & Community Services.)

The only time a child I knew ever got into bother or had serious issues later in life was when their particular mental health problem was NOT addressed properly.

In this case it was ADD, I can become quite non-plussed when people blithely dismiss it with out ever having experienced the real thing first hand.

Also, in all those years working with kids (some with pretty severe mental and phsyical diagnoses,) only in the most serious physical cases have parents been in receipt of a government benefit, I think hinting parents with kids who have something like ADHD get carers allowance is misleading because I've never heard of it happening, from any financial demographic (I worked mostly with benefit claimants when at Social Work, none, except the most physically disabled got any sort of carers allowance.)

Just as there is an industry in psychiatry labelling anything and everything then applying it willy-nilly to human beings, on the flip side there is the predictable 'down with this sort of thing/just pull your socks up/we never had this when we were young' outrage from the misinformed on the other side.

As usual the extreme ends of the spectrum hog the spotlight while the middle ground is ignored.

While I think a rapist is just that; a rapist. Lumping a kid with ADD/ADHD (as in a bonafide case) in the same category is misleading. I've seen it more than once, with the correct diagnosis and treatment, its like a switch is tripped, the child I mentioned earlier who is now a homeless adult with addiction problems was never treated properly, while another kid I knew who was; is getting on with his life fairly successfully as an adult.

subrosa said...

DoB, in no way did I mean to suggest all children's disorders are false. Of course there are those which are serious and do require medication (some of it heavy stuff).

But the question must be asked - why the massive increase in children with mental disorders?

subrosa said...

pa_broon, I know of two families who claim disability benefit for their ADHD diagnosed children, so it does happen. In fact one mother insisted the school have her son retested because she had been turned down for the benefit because her son had not been prescribed medication. It wasn't a carer's allowance but a disability allowance. Different criteria I think?

Without all these prognoses, how did we manage 50+years ago?

I remember one mother, who had her son to several specialists about behaviour, was finally told by one brave man that it wasn't a medical problem. She changed his diet and removed certain E numbers. What a difference within days and even today that young man (he's 35 now) avoids E numbers because he knows if he accidently consumes something with them that he feels unwell.

Joe Public said...

On a lighter note:-

That comic genius Spike Milligan was proud of the fact he was one of the few people who possessed a Certificate to prove he was sane.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

I have a grandson who, it is claimed, is autistic.

He's a lovely lively boy who, as far as I know is on no medication other than TLC.

Problem is;he's too bloody bright and quick for me to keep up with.

In general, the chance of life outfoxes all silver bullets and cure-alls.These shouldn't be ignored or exploited for statistical or tick-box analysis.

In the game of life, individuality is the way its played, and compassion, commitment and generosity of spirit is how the rules are learnt and the playing skills developed.

That's when the values of Big Pharma and materialism can be properly evaluated.

pa_broon74 said...

It goes without saying, check box benefit claims are bad. I also know of parents who will make all sorts of excuses for their horrid progeny, but they normally don't get a medical diagnosis, they're just told that their kid is 'lively'.

I went to an ADD seminar in Musselburgh, I don't remember the Doctor's name but he was at the forefront of the group that supported the prescription of Ritalin. (I've seen it in action, in ADD/ADHD children, there is a lack of activity in the frontal lobes, decision making and higher function is lower. Ritalin which is a stimulant, erm, stimulates the frontal lobes making the kid 'think' more clearly and fully, its counter-intuitave but it worked.)

Anyway, the doctor was in the middle of his speech and someone from the church of scientology started to heckle him.

Alas, it was not Tom Cruise.

English Pensioner said...

When I went to school there were no disorders which weren't cured by a few strokes of the cane.

subrosa said...

I've oft heard inpatients say that the insane were outside the windows Joe.

subrosa said...

Crinkly, I think that TLC is the answer to lots of children's problems and in the case of your grandson brightness is perhaps part of his 'difficulty'.

It's important each child is tested over a period of time and I doubt if that is happening with our children.

So pleased to hear your grandson doesn't take medication, even though it possibly would subdue him.

Not an easy life for his parents but I'm sure they'll be rewarded in the future.

subrosa said...

Do you approve of Ritalin in anything other than very serious cases pa_broon? It's classed alongside lithium yet many parents even ask for it since it was publicised a decade ago.

subrosa said...

We never experienced so many with problems right enough EP.

Hamish said...

My late aunt Margaret worked with children with special needs at Tynecastle school in Edinburgh.
One of her proteges was sent for assessment to determine whether he could continue in main-stream education; the decision was that he could. My aunt overheard his mother describing this to her friends: "He was tested for the dsft school, but he failed."

Too often the approach to a problem seems to be to find a name for it, rather than seek a solution.

subrosa said...

Good point Hamish. Of course those why want to claim benefits or extra funding need a prognosis and note of medication or they receive nothing.

Jo G said...

Like you Rosie I find it irritating to hear all the different labels being banded around to excuse appalling behaviour in children, especially in schools. I don't say that to dismiss other contributions here but I do think that too many parents are looking for a label.

I'm interested in the post about diet and e numbers. The connection between diet and kids getting high as kites is now well known.

There is also another change we've seen. I'm now 54. I was not abused as a child when it came to punishment but I certainly knew discipline and I don't see anything wrong with that. Today we live in a very different world where, very often, it appears the children are in charge. Teachers face actual assaults in their classrooms very often including in primary schools. One unmanageable child can disrupt an entire classroom and hold every child in that class back. Rather than promote discipline however we tend to see the "rights" of that child highlighted instead. The world has gone mad!

There is another group for whom my heart breaks: those are the babies being wheeled around in prams by mothers who are no more than children themselves and who are too busy texting to pay attention to the bairn. I see children in that category daily and I could weep for so many of them are utterly doomed before they can even walk.

subrosa said...

Hi Jo. It was 35 years ago my neighbour and friend 'sorted' her child's behaviour by being very stringent about E numbers. It did work wonders and has been widely known in the past couple of decades.

Yes indeed, the child's rights are all these days. I know teachers who say it's impossible to teach when even one word can be translated to being offensive.

Aye Jo, my heart breaks for these wee ones too. I wonder what kind of future they will have.

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