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It's all in your head...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Dcc001, Apr 4, 2011.

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  1. Dcc001

    Dcc001
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    New Bitch On Top

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    I've been kicking around this thread idea for a few days, and what's stopping me is how to phrase the focus delicately. Here goes nuthin'.

    There have been a few posts here and there talking about anxiety disorders, mental disorders and subsequent medications used to treat them. Xanax (great word if you're playing Hangman, BTW), Ritalin, Prozac...I'm casting the net wide as it relates to mental issues and drug treatment. It occurred to me - has it always been this prevalent? "The doctor prescribed Xanax because I would get panic attacks while [doing whatever]" seems to be more and more common. I don't remember hearing about my parent's generation requiring this much medication. I CERTAINLY don't remember hearing about panic disorders with my grandfather's age set. When I lived in countries with abject poverty the children were happy and, although substance abuse seemed to be more generally accepted, I don't recall anyone I worked with having a panic attack or a nervous condition.

    Focus: Is it all in our heads? Is our media-saturated culture that tells us nothing is our fault and everything can be cured with a pill what's driving the spike in mental health issues? Or is it because there is now more research going into it that we are seeing problems coming out of the closet?

    Disclaimer: I am trying as best as possible to leave out the "extremely mentally ill" from this discussion. Obviously a paranoid schizophrenic who completely dissociates from reality has a genuine problem that needs as much treatment as possible. I'm more interested in the "regular" (for lack of a better term) people who manage to successfully go about their daily lives but sometimes require pills to manage their conditions.
     
  2. DrFrylock

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    We haven't had a thread that really pisses people off in a couple days, so let's run with this one.

    I understand the effort to leave out the 'extremely mentally ill' from the discussion, but is there really a bright and shining line? Given the complexity of the brain and its chemistry, my guess is that mental illnesses are not discrete "you got it or you don't" sorts of things. I think a lot of people have very mild mental illnesses that they just sort of deal with, or we just consider them part of their personalities.

    I have some very mild social anxiety that I can cope with pretty well. I have family members who have a much worse version of (from what I can tell) basically the same thing, but it really impinges on them enjoying their lives. Do they need a pill, and I don't?

    Interestingly, I found this completely unscientific test that is like a clearinghouse of all the possible *PDs. I took it and found that, while I don't have some of the disorders it assigned me, I certainly tend more toward those than the ones it didn't.

    ALT FOCUS: Take the above test. What does it say is wrong with you? Is it correct?
     
  3. JWags

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    As someone who has been "medicated" in the past, and has a family history/tendency/whatever on my Mother's side towards OCD and the like, I am fully supportive of it. I am not condoning rampant medication for any little thing, but I can speak to the wonders of its proper usage.

    I had a rough go as a teenager. Yeah, all teenagers go through messed up stuff, its called growing up, but it was really excessive. It wasn't traditional OCD in the open a door a certain number of times, repeat steps, etc.. sort of definition but more the obsessive portion of the disorder. I would get a bad score on a test and spend 20 min calculating and recalculating numbers on what I would need for a certain grade. I would check my hair in between every single class period, not because I was vain, but because I was positively certain that a single hair out of place was the reason I wasn't getting the female attention I desired. It wasn't so much the activities themselves, but the fact that they would cloud and get in the way of actually solving the root problems or learning to cope. And I was so determined to not let anything show to my friends that I internalized everything and it would eat at me from the inside. So I went on medication, and within a few weeks, my family and my friends could see a difference. My best friend even commented how different and generally positive I was and he had no idea till much later. I went off meds once or twice (including the first year of college which was a terrible idea) before weaning off for good in my early 20s.

    Its frustrating when people, including my dad, frown upon it and basically insinuating its a sign of weakness. My mother is one of the strongest, intelligent, and stubborn people I know and she has been off and on for the last 20 years, and she will be the first to tell you it makes her a better mother and person overall. Alot of people don't understand the reasons for it and the benefits and misconceptions about it abound, which is unfortunate. Its really nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone has different experiences, mine has been positive, others maybe not so much.
     
  4. Trakiel

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    According to that test, I'm high for paranoid, avoidant, and obsessive-complusive, moderate for narcissistic, schizoid, and schizotypal, and low for everything else. I can agree with the high marks for paranoid and avoidant, but the other stuff not so much. I have no idea what schizotypal is.

    I've always been fascinated by pyschology, but am concerned with the seeming increase in psychological disorders in our society. It just seems that we keep narrowing the criteria for being a normal person; seems like a person can't just be quicky or different anymore, they must have some disorder or another. I don't think psychoanalysis or other theraputic models are phony, but I wonder if a lot of the so-called deteriorating state of society's collective mental health is illusory.
     
  5. ghettoastronaut

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    Oddly enough, I had a pretty bad anxiety problem when I was in high school. It went away (I use this instead of "I got over it") when I went off to university. But it was a damn odd cycle: I was rather paranoid and obsessive about people, especially my parents, finding out anything about my life, so I never asked for help. But looking back, it was a problem. I remember having a panic attack while at some kind of dinner, and the girl sitting next to me touched my hand to her very hot plate to point out to me it was hot. I didn't quite realize what was happening until after it burned, and I snapped, punched her in the shoulder, and yelled "Jesus fucking christ you stupid fucking whore" so loud that several tables turned around and stared. I remember pacing hallways and being incapable of talking to people I got so nervous sometimes. I should have gotten help long before it came to that but I wasn't willing to trust anyone.

    If I could describe the root of the problem - and this is just my experience - I'd call it the narcissism of youth. In reality, nobody particularly cared about my life. Sure, people would have been willing to help had I mentioned what was going on, but everything that seems like a big deal in high school really just isn't a big deal. Learning about teens and what we call non-compliance from another perspective, people often classify teenagers' unwillingness to take medications as them wanting to "get over it on their own". I think this very narrowly misses the mark. I would have been willing to take any and every drug available to help with the problem, or gone to therapy, but I just didn't want anyone - my parents least of all - to know about what was happening. And confidentiality laws being what they are for people under 18, everything I told anyone was within my parents' grasp with just a phone call. I can't remember or explain why I felt this way about my parents; they didn't treat me particularly badly, but they were rather distant. I also happened to know that any of my cousins' medical / mental health problems got discussed, often in great detail and without regard for privacy, around the extended family. So-and-so's anorexia, or depression, or whatever else was going on, were thoroughly discussed amongst aunts and uncles but hidden just enough so that I knew they were being discussed. And I really didn't want that.

    When I moved out for university, started making friends, and was able to drink alcohol socially, a lot of this went away. Not all of it, and sometimes I still get panicky, but I'm pretty good at managing it and keeping it in perspective and reminding myself that things are rarely as big a deal as I'm making them out to be. In any case, read what you want into the causes of it: I did live a rather sheltered suburban existence while growing up.

    I once read, and it was a rather astute observation, that teenagers have been under the influences of the same hormones for millenia, and have therefore been depressed and moody and stupid for millenia. Perhaps the exact timeframe has changed over the years, as 20-somethings couldn't exactly hang out in their parents' basement while considering going back to school during the bronze age, but the principle stays the same. I've kind of been wondering what the hell people used to do for various minor infections - eye and sinus infections, for example - that are commonly treated with antibiotics these days. But when you were able to buy heroin without bothering with the trouble of a prescription, I'm sure people somehow managed.

    If you want to talk about things being in your head, though...



    <a class="postlink" href="http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2010/01/everyone_goes_crazy_in_differe.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2010/01/ ... ffere.html</a>
    Oh, and there was also a famous study called something like "Being sane in insane places"

    <a class="postlink" href="http://psychrights.org/articles/rosenham.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://psychrights.org/articles/rosenham.htm</a>

    The long and short of it is that actors were pretending to be patients at an inpatient psychiatry clinic. They were, all of them, eventually diagnosed with some kind of mental disorder, even though they had no prior history of it. Interestingly, the trial was performed without the clinic staff being informed that such a trial was taking place. So a subsequent "trial" took place in which staff were told that they were going to be receiving an undetermined number of actors pretending to have disorders. The staff then identified a certain number of people who they thought were the actors; in reality, none of them were actors.
     
    #5 ghettoastronaut, Apr 7, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2015
  6. Disgustipated

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    Focus: Absolutely no idea. We don't understand enough about the brain physically, let along the psyche, to give an accurate answer. I don't know if I give it much credence, but I do consider an interesting theory is that mental disease is "contagious". Not in the classic way diseases are contagious, but rather in the way that exposure to the mental illness in others, environmental factors and being bombarded with negative media exposures weaknesses in our mentality. Maybe these, or some other factor, is tipping borderline mental cases over the edge.

    Or, it could just be that what is classed as a mental illness is being expanded and that people aren't changing.

    Alt Focus Results:

    Paranoid: Low
    Schizoid: Very High
    Schizotypal: Moderate
    Antisocial: Low
    Borderline: Low
    Histrionic: Low
    Narcissistic: Low
    Avoidant: Moderate
    Dependent: Low
    O/C: Moderate

    Woo hoo... Not entirely correct, but yes: people suck, I don't love myself and I am stickler for things being right. I am paranoid though. Maybe I subconsciously didn't trust the test....
     
  7. KIMaster

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    Of course, I think the majority of this "ADD" mania is pure bullshit. Absolutely, a lot of perfectly normal kids are being over-prescribed things like Ritalin thanks to unscrupulous physicians and how in-vogue diagnosing semi-scientific mental illnesses is.

    Are there people with real mental problems? Absolutely. Even then, is taking heavy drugs to alter their brain chemistry and conk them out the best solution? Frequently, it's not. In fact, most of the time, it's just the laziest approach.

    Anyways, I remember I was diagnosed with "ADD" by some school physician during the first grade. So were a bunch of my friends. It was literally like that "South Park" episode where the doctor reads the kids "War and Peace" and when they fall asleep by the end, he diagnoses them all with ADD. I wish I was fucking joking.

    Of course, my parents laughed the dude out of the building. If I had ADD, it sure as fuck didn't surface when I was taking six hour algebraic topology finals, optional math contests after school, or grueling chess tournaments with 12 hours of play per day.

    See, kids are naturally energetic; they run around, and have a hard time sitting still. That's a normal part of being a kid. However, like any good scare tactician, doctors create a "boogeyman" by claiming it's really some nefarious, vague illness called "ADD", which they use to shock the parents into medicating their healthy children to the fucking gills.

    Honestly, that doesn't sound the least bit unusual, let alone like any kind of medical problem.

    I was also incredibly high-strung at times during my teenage years, and so were many of my friends. As you noted, you got over it, and so does 99 percent of the population.
     
  8. ghettoastronaut

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    The fact that something is common doesn't mean that it isn't a problem. In my case it led to, at times, violence and rather impaired my ability to function normally in certain circumstances. For other people it is significantly worse, doesn't go away after time, and impairs their ability to do such important things as take exams or give speeches or what have you. I regard it in the same way as pain: how do you know that pain is a problem? Well, that question is essentially a tautology: it is a problem if it is a problem, i.e., interferes with your normal daily activities. We all deal with aches and pains and sore muscle and headaches from time to time, but we can usually handle being hung over the day after drinking or being stiff after a workout. Not everyone deals with chronic knee pain that makes it hard to walk up a flight of stairs all the time, or has migraines that render them immobile.
     
  9. Aetius

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    Mental health is an extremely complex interplay of biology and experience that we aren't even close to understanding. While I do agree that a lot of things are over prescribed and over diagnosed, I do thing there's a large amount that can be attributed to the fact that our culture is profoundly unhealthy. The way we relate to one another, the way we deal with family, relationships, friends, work, achievement, the whole gamut. It's so bad that I was literally taken aback when I met someone who was actually mentally healthy, because their behavior patterns are so starkly different from the norm.
     
  10. toddamus

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    I think people have always had these problems, its just that we are finding the adequate language to describe them now. A kid in the 1800's who had ADHD was hyper and had a harder time retaining information was simply a dumb kid. Or a person who had schizophrenia in those days was simply labeled crazy. Modern psychology had a lot of ground to make up so we are expanding out existing definitions. That being said, I believe far too many people take psychotropic drugs for seemingly inadequate reasons. In particular I think anti-depressants are over prescribed.

    People have always had problems and people have always searched for ways to alleviate those problems. Whether they seek relief from pills, booze, or witch doctors (or even religion), depends on the time and place they live.
     
  11. DrFrylock

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    I think in the 1800s and earlier times, if you could live with a mental illness, great. If not, it was probably not good for you. PBS sayeth: 1600s: Europeans increasingly begin to isolate mentally ill people, often housing them with handicapped people, vagrants, and delinquents. Those considered insane are increasingly treated inhumanely, often chained to walls and kept in dungeons.

    By the 1800s the severely mentally ill weren't kept in dungeons, just huge "hospitals," where they were largely neglected and 'imprisoned' in a different way.

    I also imagine that it was easier for the mentally ill to get marginalized and get taken advantage of, probably even moreso than today. Does anybody know about this one way or the other? I assume in the 1800s and earlier, if a mentally-ill person disappeared and was found dead under a bridge or in a knife fight with somebody, they'd probably be thrown in a pauper's grave with little fanfare and no investigation by police.

    I remember an early serial-killer story where some lady running an orphanage ended up starving a good portion of her orphans to death out of some crazy idea about how starvation was good for you or something. Do you think Child Protective Services was auditing that place? Doubtful.

    It was also probably easier to dislodge a crazy family member without a big social stigma. These days, if your daughter gets pregnant, it's generally considered a faux pas to kick her out of the house, disown her, and send her to live in the nearest opium den. Back then, probably not really. Imagine what you could get away with back them with a mentally-ill kid.
     
  12. KIMaster

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    Don't you think the onus was on you for snapping at that girl and punching her in the shoulder, though?

    Was it the fault of a mysterious mental illness that billions of teenagers have successfully gone through during the last thousands of years, or was it just you not being able to control yourself at that moment?

    I know it's anathema in our society, but sometimes the fault lies in the individual person and their character, not an outside "disease" that they can blame it on.

    Yes, there are serious mental illnesses, but judging by your description above, it's unlikely you had one. It was just a lack of self-control.

    Yeah, there were a lot of people I know who had difficulty taking exams and giving speeches, too. Know what they did?

    They fucking worked at it until they got better. They didn't throw up their hands, use a vague mental illness as an excuse, and begin chowing down on pills.

    Again, mental illness exists. But in the situation you describe, it's the underlying reason perhaps 1 percent of the time, if even that often.

    Think of how many people have a hard time speaking in public, and think of how many people overcome this quite easily with some practice and advice. You're arguing they were secretly sufferers of a profound mental illness?

    I agree.
     
  13. ghettoastronaut

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    I don't know what it is with you and hyperbole, but you're in fucking love with it. At what point did I say that I wasn't responsible for my own actions? Hell, I didn't even describe my experiences as a "mental illness", and I don't consider it as such. Furthermore, I clearly did not say that anyone who has ever been nervous in front of an audience has been suffering from a mental illness. If it is absolutely beyond you that when I say "impairs their ability to write exams" I do not mean that anyone who has ever been jittery in front of an exam has been suffering from a mental illness then I either need to start defining everything I mean to the infinitesimal degree for your benefit, or you have to accept that I'm being somewhat understated in my descriptions.

    I remember once reading something about the golden rule of psychiatry being to never attempt to diagnose someone without a proper evaluation, and definitely not on secondhand accounts. I get people asking me this all the time - "my son does xyz, what do you think?". It's not in my lane. I've overheard people say remarkably stupid things about mental illness, like "So-and-so has depression. But she's really good at gymnastics, you would think she'd be able to get some self esteem from that", or the idea that anorexics simply need to be told that they're skinny enough already and they'll magically get better. It doesn't work that way. This is a thread explicitly about anxiety problems and their prevalence, and I thought it might be relevant to at least share my experiences and say that they were problematic. You are claiming that I'm claiming that I suffered from a mental illness and wasn't actually suffering from a mental illness because other people suffered from a similar problem that also wasn't a mental illness. Frankly, what the hell are you doing? It's sheer tautology.
     
  14. KIMaster

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    Whoa whoa, settle down there; I'm the one with the reputation of writing really angry responses, not you. Besides, don't get too upset, or you might punch another girl.

    ...huh?!

    Not sure I even understand the quoted portion above, but what mental problem are you talking about specifically, and how does it relate to "impairing their ability to write exams"?

    Fine, enough with the tautology then, let's discuss actions. What do you think should be done about the supposed "anxiety problems" you, myself, and many others have experienced as teenagers?
     
  15. Nettdata

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    Not really... you're more known for writing the rage-inducing, aneurysm-popping posts.
     
  16. Jimmy James

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    Something tells me this thread is going to be a cry for help.

    Focus: I'm 25/75 on this. On one hand, I'm glad that more people have the opportunity to get the help and the medication that they need. On the other hand, you have pseudo-doctors with English degrees on TV scaring the shit out of people to buy the latest and greatest in chemically enhanced bliss. A doctor makes his living essentially selling bullshit prescriptions. Pharmaceutical companies make billions on the sale of legalized uppers and downers. Then some dumbass watches something on TV and starts feeding their kids Ritalin because they can't control them with sugar and video games anymore.

    I'm 98% sure that I'm never going to let my future children watch television unless it's something torrented.

    Alt Focus:
    Disorder | Rating
    Antisocial: High
    Avoidant: Very High
    Dependent: High

    I don't know about the dependent thing, as it seems to run counter to me being a cold, distant loner. But it's right for the most part. I'm also 98% sure that if I ever have a daughter, she's probably going to be a stripper because I didn't hug her enough.

    Edit:
    I don't know about you, but I had high-speed internet and an empty house.
     
  17. Rising Sun

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    I suffered from rhotacism for a very long time. Its defined as being unable to pronounce the letter "r" correctly...pretty much I sounded like I was 5 years old until I was in high school. I took speech therapy until my freshman year.

    Now that I look back I think the problem was part of a bigger disorder called "cluttering", as I also used to talk machine gun fast and to this day I have trouble articulating my thoughts and ideas into words.

    It had a tremendous effect on my social life and my self esteem from which I am still recovering.
     
  18. CharlesJohnson

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    I think people lack perspective. Sometimes they wallow, sometimes they engage in circuitous behaviors because they really don't know different or won't accept that things can be different, or "healthy". Sometimes they need a little push in the right direction. For this discussion I'm not talking about drama queens and histrionics and users (though, they are sick), but people hiding their emotions who are really in pain. A "typical" shrink patient, whatever the fuck that means. If a person needs a little pill every now and then to gain that perspective, who am I to say no? Who the hell are any of you? These pills are out there still because they work. Now everyone on them doesn't need them, but there's plenty of people that did need them and they continue to need them. These are people living with pain and shame that cannot be put into words. If a person can get through issues of their own volition, more power to them. Just don't shit on anyone else's parade.

    Some of you sound like jackasses that have never tasted real tragedy. You have no idea how terrible it is to live with something that you cannot fix. You DON'T fix your friend raping you or your fucking father raping you throughout your childhood. You can't bring back the dead or remedy some careless mistake that took a life or having the crap beat out of you every day for no goddamn reason other than because you were there. You can't fix rotten brain chemistry that literally renders a person physically unable to feel anything good; every day you wake up and feel less human, that you don't deserve love or decency. YOU tell these people that life is worth living. Tell them to get over it. These are things that WILL NOT be fixed, but in time a person can live with them, and live without shame. So yeah maybe a little narcotic malaise ain't so bad for a bit. I'm no shrink, but you wouldn't believe some of the shit I heard from friends, from interning at a school for troubled kids.

    I'm not saying there won't be a time to pull the thumb out of your ass to get it together, but anyone that really puts a timeline on it is a dick. The time is when a person gets fed up or is engaging in really fucked up behavior.

    As for medicating kids for ADD and the like: it is stupid, dangerous, and unethical. This culture has a bad habit of quick fixes without putting in the work. Two sessions, a bottle of pills, call me if you hallucinate. Couple that with an irrevocably broken education system. Let the damn kid be a kid.
     
  19. lust4life

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    Huh. Where I grew up, we called that being Chinese.
     
  20. Nettdata

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    That would have been funnier if you hadn't picked the one letter they sub in for the ones they can't pronounce.
     
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