reflections and research on the mind, the brain, mental illness and society
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The Termites Ate My Blogpost
They ate my baseboards, actually. But the effect, as zeitstorers, was the same. My apologies to regular readers who are waiting for my next post. It will tell you what zeitstorers are, in the first installment of a review of Ellen Frank's Treating Bipolar Disorder. The image here is a hint.
Every once in a while, Prozac Monologues reaches into my Roman Catholic childhood's fascination with saints, especially the ones who today might be assigned a diagnostic code in the DSM. Twice, Lent Madness has introduced me to new ones that I share with you.
Today it's Margaret of Cortona. If you're a Lent Madness regular, you'd expect Margaret to be a shoe in for the first round of voting, where her competition is a stuffy old bishop/theologian, because Margaret became a Franciscan and, more significantly, her story features a dog. Lent Madness voters are suckers for dogs.
Anosognosia. It means lack of insight. But from the mouth of Xavier Amador, it’s his ticket. He tells you he knows why your son or daughter won’t take meds. And you are desperate for the answer, aren’t you. Because schizophrenia is a terrible disease and your beloved child is sick and won’t take the meds. The meds would make everything alright. So you are desperate and Xavier Amador throws you a lifeline, a promise that once you understand this unpronounceable word, you can learn how to get your child to take the meds.
He must be right, right? Because he is a psychologist and he can pronounce it. And then the kicker, he also loved somebody with schizophrenia, and he says he got him to take the meds. So NAMI invites him to give the spotlight lecture, and for the rest of the convention, parents hear every other presentation through the filter of this new word that they cannot pronounce.
Here is how you pronounce it:
But really, why bother? It means lack of insight. But you have heard o…
Allen Frances was the editor of the DSM-IV, first published in 1990. He is now the fiercest critic of its next major revision, the DSM-5. For over three years, he has been blogging weekly to this end at Psychology Today. This week I will summarize his steady drumbeat. I hope soon to publish an open letter to him.
Frances' complaint in a nutshell is that the DSM-5 creates fad diagnoses and changes criteria of older diagnoses to medicalize a whole range of normal behavior and miseries. The link lists these problem diagnoses and a number of the following points, in an article published all over town last December.
These issues have been discussed widely, in public and private circles. I am not qualified to address each point, though I did give a series over to one of them, the bereavement exclusion. The best of the batch, if I do say so myself, is Grief/Depression III - Telling the Difference, which got quoted in correspondence among the big boys.