There are many buzz words going around these days about what is “normal” for my child to be doing or how they should be acting at their age. Sadly, people will often watch a popular talk show, and come to the conclusion that their child has a certain disorder…or a friend who just read a good article forwards it to you in an attempt to help diagnose your child with s:ome disorder. I have even heard people discussing what they think their child “is” as they scan magazines in the lines at grocery stores….
How do you find a way to really know if this new obsession with diagnoses for children (and medications) even applies to you and your situation? You likely wont get any opposition from child psychiatrists, as their primary role is to identify a disorder and treat it. Their primary challenge is to find what the child could meet criteria for according to the DSM -V.
To give you an idea how easy that is, I once retyped the diagnostic criteria for Major Depressive disorder and asked 40 of my staff members to take the anonymous survey. When all was said and done, 75% of these Masters and Doctorate level staff met criteria to be officially diagnosed with the disorder. Have we all gone crazy?
Let me be clear, mental illness is real. There is a need for treatment and in many cases medicine. In many cases however, the problem has to do with a totally different issue, such as a physical problem, some abuse that is going on, or even learning troubles, that present as AD/HD or similar popular disorders. On some occasions seeing a psychiatrist was the best bet, or talking with a psychologist was the right way to go-but only some of the time. Much of this is about is exposing one of the greatest tragedies in healthcare, the overuse of diagnoses and medicine- for profit.
Kids and adults alike are being labeled with countless disorders and prescribed medicines they do not need. It is disturbing to think that money would drive some doctors to over prescribe medicines, but it happens every single day. Not all doctors are doing this, but enough are.
America is one of only 2 countries in the world that even allows drug companies to advertise on television. The reason for this, is that the power of suggestion combined with some misleading advertising can make people do about anything. One day you feel down, and a commercial pops up with a guy or woman smiling and laughing as the announcer describes how just weeks ago they were depressed. Sounds good, right? Not so fast.
Drug companies have to provide data to the FDA to get drugs approved. Without going into detail, lets just say that the data can be manipulated easily. For example if 5 of 50 adults in a depression medicine study said they felt better after a few weeks on the medicine, the drug company can say something like ” In clinical studies, some people reported a dramatic change for the better in mood after taking xxxx medicine.” Just as the maker of a butter brand can print on its label- 80% less fat! ( what they do not disclose is that they may be comparing it to a 6 foot birthday cake. )
The “circle of love” as I call it starts at the top with the drug makers. They design drugs for every possible “disorder” that the psychiatrists create every few years. One problem with this is that they also compensate doctors for prescribing their drugs. Ironically, almost as soon as a new DSM comes out, the drug companies have a new drug already ready for use! Yet even worse and honestly is still hard for me to comprehend, is that the drug companies making anti-depressents for teens openly and without any appearance of regret announced that 13 out of the 14 drugs they had on the market actually increased the liklihood of suicidal thoughts rather then help the problem. Bad news right? Hold on, Im not finished. They still market the drugs today. Let that sink in . Ive been in this profession 20 years and seen it all. Until I learned about that. I still cant process that. Its been 2 years since I found out.
Disorders are becoming more and more likely to match everyday behavior in different stages of life. Personally I think DCC Disorder is more than likely the cause of all this reckless diagnosing. That is Doctors Craving Cash . Again, not all doctors are doing this, but enough that hundreds of thousands of people are needlessly taking medicine that could harm them, and struggling with self esteem issues due to their new label/identity.
It is only fair that every family is educated on what the options are when dealing with behavioral problems with their loved ones. Most people do not have a clue what the difference is if they take their child to a psychologist or psychiatrist. The difference is huge. One might say ” lay down and tell me what is underneath all this ” while analyzing you using whatever training they had. This would be the psychologist, and they do NOT prescribe medicine.
The psychiatrist however, will likely ask very few questions other than what the symptoms or behaviors of the person is, how frequent, and proceed to see where in the DSM it takes him. As I mentioned, there are enough disorders these days for us all to be a few kinds of crazy. Two avenues to go, with two very different methods of treatment. The average person goes to whoever or whatever type of doctor they were referred to. Most times not knowing the agenda of the doctor.
The point is, there are no cookie cutter answers to all problems, and not everyone is Bi-Polar , even if all the guests on Dr Phil today were. Mental health is big business, and the drug companies are BILLION dollar industries. It is critical to the future of each person struggling with something that they get effective treatment, whatever avenue that may be. In my time in Social Work, very few if any parents ever questioned taking their child to whatever kind of doctor the school, or therapist referred them to.The result is lifelong struggles for those who are not getting treated properly, and having to deal with this new identity/ label.
Inevitably over last the last 4 years this Blog has evolved into many more issues that have a root in what is described above. As you scan through the categories and different posts, you’ll see that there’s probably an article that addresses just about any issue that we all face in life- not just mental health issues. But its a great place to start.
So there is not just one issue addressed in this blog. As issues come up they become topics of conversation and comments and they go in whatever direction they need to in order to help or solve any problems that would help someone.
There is no one cookie-cutter answer or therapeutic modality that solves every problem that human beings have. Therefore the content of this blog as long as it remains appropriate is open to anything that pertains to life .
One area that needs to be emphasized that you will see weaved throughout this blog is the idea that remaining in a therapeutic setting for lengthy periods of time can often be more harmful if it just continues to remind you of your dark memories or things that you don’t care to remember every week.
A great example of someone who spearheaded a model with this truth in mind is Dr. Cali Estes, who founded The Addictions Academy out of Miami Florida. She recognized years ago that there was not much progress being made when people just continue to rehash old memories week after week after week in a therapists office. But without an alternative it doesn’t matter.
So she developed an excellent and very successful program that includes a coaching model as the focus. In other words people need to be motivated for the things they can do and encouraged to go out and do the things they can do in order to gain momentum to rebuild their lives. Going weekly to remember the dark times in your life will not get you motivated to do anything but maybe take more anti-depressents, which as we know will more then likely cast you into an even datker abyss. .
By no means am I saying that there’s not a use for therapy or therapists, but there’s a balance and there needs to be a focus on what is positive -what can be accomplished. Dr. Estes recognized this and implemented her coaching programs which has unprecedented success rates with much shorter turn around time.
If you think about it we all have a tendency to focus on what’s wrong, sometimes we need to retrain our brains to think about what’s right.
You might be surprised at how much you have going for you! Things that we do have going for us and the skills that we do have are the catalysts for progress.Not one of us gets motivated to do anything by hyper-focusing on the abscence of something in our lives.
The real truth is that each of us has a certain gift. Just like our physical bodies are not made up of only thumbs or only elbows, we each have different strengths and gifts.
The Coaching model is critical in helping one see what their gifts are.After that process is complete a coach can help another person find how to put the gifts to work in life. Now you have realized your value. Before, some of us were spending our lives trying to be someone we were not meant to be.
Follow me and see what you find out about yourself! What do you have to lose?
Timothy J Petri BSW