Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Not a disease?

I thought to share this with you all because if you have a child who was diagnosed as suffering from ADD or ADHD, then you would want to watch this video. I remember when my stepson was diagnosed, my husband fought tooth and nail to stop him being given medication. Thankfully, he managed to convince the rest of the family to hold off administering the pills. Today, the boy is a healthy, happy and bright young adolescent. The problem at the time of diagnosis was that he didn't pay attention -- and that's because he was bored and too bright to bother!!! So don't let them fool you into drugging up your child--not because a teacher or a doctor says he or she has just such a "disease". Dr. Szasz (photograph by Jeffrey A. Schaler) gives here a candid speech about the meaning of disease. He mentions how women in the past used to be diagnosed with "hysteria" (said to be caused by a "wandering womb") when they strayed from domestic "bliss", rebelled against their husbands, or for any other nonsensical reason deemed objectionable in a male dominated world. Has anyone read Robin Schone's "Scandalous Lovers"? I believe this issue has been mentioned in a historical romance novel or two, particularly Victorian era novels, but in Schone's book it takes center stage.

When you watch this video, make sure not to miss the quip about "spring fever" :-).

Just in case you're wondering who Dr. Szasz is--the man himself is professor emeritus of Psychiatry at the State University of New York. He criticizes the stronghold that modern medicine has on society. This is from Wikipedia:

"Thomas Stephen Szasz (pronounced /sas/; born April 15, 1920 in Budapest, Hungary) is a psychiatrist and academic. He is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the State University of New York Health Science Center in Syracuse, New York. He is a prominent figure in the antipsychiatry movement, a well-known social critic of the moral and scientific foundations of psychiatry, and of the social control aims of medicine in modern society, as well as of scientism. He is well known for his books, The Myth of Mental Illness (1960) and The Manufacture of Madness: A Comparative Study of the Inquisition and the Mental Health Movement which set out some of the arguments with which he is most associated.

His views on special treatment follow from classical liberal roots which are based on the principles that each person has the right to bodily and mental self-ownership and the right to be free from violence from others, although he criticized the "free world" as well as the Communist states for its use of psychiatry and "drogophobia". He believes that suicide, the practice of medicine, use and sale of drugs and sexual relations should be private, contractual, and outside of state jurisdiction."

Ok, so before I bore you to death, here's the video...


H.S. Kinn said...

That post fascinates me. On one hand, I think that ADD is way over-Dx'ed. My son was Dx'ed with it by a psychologist and his Primary and Neuro both rolled their eyes. And so did I, but then I know way more about this stuff than the average mom. I have degrees in Special Ed and Speech Pathology, and used to work my school's child study team before I started Aphrodite's.

AD/HD, to my mind, is probably a symptom of something else, and I think that's why our treatments for it are often ineffective or less effective than we'd like.

Did you see this? British study confirms additives affect symptoms of AD/HD

Ally said...

Hello Angela,

I was intrigued by the article, but as I went along I became less convinced about a few points.

I do agree that ADD/ADHD has become an excuse of lazy teachers. My son Max was also diagnosed as such and I refused to allow them to label him with it. Instead we went to a nutritionist, changed his diet, had him tested for allergies, removed those foods and allergens from his diet and forced the school to have him tested for giftedness. His behavior improved significantly with the diet change alone, but he was still depressed, once he was tested intellectually, they found he was gifted and needed the extra stimuli to succeed. He was a boy who could read at 3 yrs old and they wondered why he misbehaved. The child was bored to death. I also believe ADD/ADHD has alot to do with being Indigo, but I will not get into that.

Now as for the point he is trying to make about mental illness, as if it were all encompassing, is a grave mistake and could mislead people to think they can look at mental illnesses lightly. They Can't. I am bipolar/manic depressive, what ever you want to call it, I have a mental illness and no this illness is not something that a pill can take away, but it can be manageable given the chance. I have left a link that will give you more information about the physical myths. A bipolar sufferers brain chemistry is very different than an unafflicted persons, it is physiological. I would hate to think that 1 in 5 sufferers who commit suicide could climb to 2 in 5 when their support systems crumble because of misconception. I also feel the need to stand up for those who are schizophrenic, very much a disease and it is cruel enough just to watch how they suffer.

I appreciate your opinion and I am glad you have been able to help your son. I hope you do not take offence at my disagreement. But please I beg, do not think for a second that mental illness is a myth. I hate being stigmatized as much as the next person, but to combat it, I speak up, I write, I advocate, I correct assumptions and I also perform StandUp comedy with a group of mental health survivors. The comedy group is called StandUp For Mental Health and we perform routines with the sole objective to fight stigma.
Peace, love and light,

Myths and Realities