Nearly 1 in 5 children in the U.S. suffers from a mental disorder, and this number has been rising for more than a decade.
According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 20 percent of American children are suffering from mental disorders such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression and autism.
The CDC’s first study of mental disorders among children aged 3 to 17 also found that the cost of medical bills for treatment of such disorders is up to $247 billion each year.
Everybody knows what you mean when you say you’re happy or sad. But what about all those emotional states you don’t have words for? Here are ten feelings you may have had, but never knew how to explain.
Thanks to DSM-5’s new definition of General Anxiety Disorder, we can now all be labeled ‘mentally ill’. The psychiatric, and pharmacological industries approve.
To start, let’s go back in time..
In 1994, a study asking a random sample of thousands of Americans about their mental health reported that 15% had ever suffered from anxiety disorders. A 2009 study of people interviewed about their anxiety repeatedly for years raised that estimate to 49.5% — which would translate to about 117 million U.S. adults.
Some psychiatrists say the increase in the prevalence of anxiety from about 4% to 50% is the result of psychiatrists and others “getting better at diagnosing anxiety,” as Dr. Carolyn Robinowitz, a past president of the APA, put it. “People who criticize that are showing their bias,” she said. “When we get better at diagnosing hypertension, we don’t say that’s terrible.”
Critics, including other leading psychiatrists, disagree. They say the apparent explosion in anxiety shows there is something seriously and dangerously wrong with the DSM. Its next edition, due in May, would lower the threshold for identifying anxiety.
The criticism rests on three arguments.
First, the DSM fails to recognize that anxiety is normal and even beneficial in many situations, so it conflates a properly functioning brain system with a pathology.
Second, the DSM’s description of anxiety is more about enforcing social norms than medicine.
Finally, they say, anxiety is adaptive. Its brain circuitry was honed by evolution for a purpose. Only when that mechanism misfires should a person be diagnosed as mentally ill.
But wait, is there any other human emotion more basic than anxiety? Many forms of it simply should not be categorized as disorders — because, they’re just the result of evolution over thousands of years, rather than something going wrong.
When the brain’s anxiety system misfires it can prevent people from functioning, as when someone is unable to leave home, interact with friends and family or walk past even a leashed dog. But the anxiety system is working properly when it makes someone afraid of heights or wild dogs or threatening strangers.
I agree, anxiety or panic symptoms that have been severe, persistent and cause clinically significant distress or impairment need to be diagnosed promptly — we have some great treatment options for them. I don’t oppose people getting treatment, I just think people are much too willing to think they have a disorder that requires treatment.
Under changes for the DSM-5 proposed by experts convened by the APA, symptoms such as excessive worry, restlessness, feeling on edge, avoiding activities that cause anxiety, and being overly concerned about health or finances or family would have to be present for only three months rather than six to justify a diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). And people would have to display one physical symptom, not the current three.
With this, the threshold for GAD is set so ridiculously low — DSM-5 will mislabel as mentally ill many people who are experiencing no more than the normal and expected worries of everyday life.
Depression is one version of hell on earth, and Americans have a lot of it. A recent international study of 18 countries found America near the top, with 19.2 percent of the population having experienced depression — only France, at 21 percent, ranked higher. With our tottering health care system and vigorous arguments that antidepressants are useless, what are people to do?
Lots. Recognize that a stalled body and a stalled economy have much in common. They can degenerate or reinvent and regenerate themselves to survive and thrive. Depression is a systemic, whole body illness — its causes are multiple, its manifestions endless and its treatment multi-faceted. As Jonathan Himmelhoch and others have argued, depression represents an overall failure of the human body to adapt.
It’s time to adapt a new way of looking at the human body — one that aids us to heal ourselves.
When you’re depressed you can’t think, and you can’t sleep. Your IQ drops, you’re tired in your bones and you become convinced this horror will never leave — and nothing will make it better. No wonder depressives were burned as witches in 17th century England and New England; the transformation of the person is so total only devils could have done the work.
And the causes? More than you can name.
I’m currently on my psychiatry rotation at a major hospital in Chicago, and I have come to learn, and understand that as you progress in your medical training and career, you will encounter many different types of patients who have a wide range of personality traits and circumstances. These individuals will be faced with depression, terminal illnesses, chronic pain, addiction, and other problems. Some of them will be kind and a joy to see; others will be angry, frustrating, and challenging.
As a physician, you will need to get along with almost everybody well enough to do your job and, at the same time, develop a decent reputation. Your mission, of course, is to assure that your patients receive the best medical care that you can deliver, in a nonjudgmental way, no matter what their personal characteristics are. How well you accomplish this mission will in large part determine the kind of physician you are.
By carefully considering your patients’ personality traits and circumstances, you’ll be able to provide compassionate as well as scientific care to your patients. Keeping in mind that people are much more complex than any one of these characteristics, you might consider the following “types” of patients…
You’re not always right and things are not always black and white. Avoid cognitive distortions that may skew your perception.
Read about 15 common types of distorted thinking:
1. Filtering: You take the negative details and magnify them, while filtering out all positive aspects of a situation. A single detail may be picked out, and the whole event becomes colored by this detail. When you pull negative things out of context, isolated from all the good experiences around you, you make them larger and more awful than they really are.
2. Polarized Thinking: The hallmark of this distortion is an insistence on dichotomous choices. Things are black or white, good or bad. You tend to perceive everything at the extremes, with very little room for a middle ground. The greatest danger in polarized thinking is its impact on how you judge yourself. For example-You have to be perfect or you’re a failure.
3. Overgeneralization: You come to a general conclusion based on a single incident or piece of evidence. If something bad happens once, you expect it to happen over and over again. ‘Always’ and ‘never’ are cues that this style of thinking is being utilized. This distortion can lead to a restricted life, as you avoid future failures based on the single incident or event.
LSD and ketamine, two powerful hallucinogens, are also potential cures for depression, OCD, and anxiety. Two studies published in Science and Nature, confirm that hallucinogenic drugs stimulate healthy brain activity, even promoting the growth of neurons.
Ketamine and Depression
The study in Science, focused entirely on the drug ketamine. Used frequently as an animal sedative, ketamine can also be used to sedate humans and is also taken recreationally because of its hallucinogenic and euphoric effects. Molecular psychiatrist Nanxin Li and colleagues dosed rats with modest amounts of ketamine, and observed that the drug boosted signaling between neurons in the brain, and even led to healthy growth of synapses. (Chronic depression can be linked to inhibited synaptic growth.) Ultimately, they concluded that ketamine might be useful in treating depression because it increases brain activity instantly - so there is no need to wait weeks or months for the drug to take effect.