Sunday, November 23, 2008

It's enough to drive you mad.

The rage is building here. I just found some more 'disorders' online.

[Dyslexia] ...tends to be resistant to conventional teaching methods, but its effects can be mitigated by appropriately specific intervention, including the application of information technology and supportive counselling.

I know someone with dyslexia. We shared a lab during our PhD studies. He'd leave indecipherable notes. He's a professor, still in mainstream science, a head of department and (he likes to tell this with a laugh) did a stint as editor of a high-ranking journal. Just you try your 'counselling' on him. I'd pay to watch that.

Hyperlexia is characterised by an intense fascination with letters or numbers or, in younger people, an ability to read far beyond their age.

An ability to read far beyond their age. That's a disorder? Those with an intense fascination with letters or numbers are more likely to be budding mathematicians, or those who spend their lives interpreting Mayan symbols. They really want to cure that?

This one is the best.

[Pathological Demand Avoidance syndrome], first described in the 1980s, is increasingly becoming recognised as part of the autism spectrum. The central difficulty for people with PDA is their avoidance of the everyday demands made by other people, due to their high anxiety levels when they feel that they are not in control.

If you don't like being ordered around, there's something wrong with you. In which case, sign me up for that one too.

Everyone is diagnosed with something now. Every one of us is mad and in need of counselling by smug, patronising, overbearing fools who need us all mad to keep themselves in a job. Everyone has to be exactly the same - if a child can read beyond the prescribed limits for their age, they are mad and must be corrected. Anyone who resists the 'demands of others' is mad and must be trained to obey. Deviate from the norm and they find a slot to put you in and make appointments and then phone when you don't show up, and then send letters when you shout at them down the phone. I expect to see a padded van soon.

Oh, now I have teeth marks in my keyboard. I bet they have a name for that too.


Catana said...

Supposedly, pathologies are determined by the degree to which they affect a person's life, but in the real worl, diagnoses and treatments are often activated for the least deviation from the "norm." It's big business, so how could you expect it to be different?

As for psychology, don't get me started. I'm a fanatical observer of the human condition, and have virtually no respect for psychology as a science. The "studies" I see lately seem to have less and less to do with science, and more to do with the kind of popsci that people swallow so eagerly.

Romulus Crowe said...

There are some good psychologists out there. Unfortunately the bad ones get more press. It's the same with anything - bad news sells.

There's also a lot of 'agenda' science around these days. Global warming, passive smoking, being overweight, drinking, all are based on some really unfounded science and arbitrary 'norms'.

Most of it seems to result in increased taxes, so I suppose it's not too hard to work out where the agendas come from.

Southern Writer said...

omg. I just diagnosed myself with hyperlexia and PDA. I had no idea!

It's a heyday for hypochondriacs! After running through all the known diseases, there are now new choices. Yes, you too, can stand out and be special. Just choose a Malady of the Month from our expanded catalog of all new Diseases & Disorders. Subscribe to pills and treatments, transfusions, and special this week: electroshock therapy. We'll have you buttoned down and conforming in a plain paper wrapper in no time at all. Special discounts for those who can stump their doctors. Impress your friends! Worry your family! Be the first in your neighborhood with symptoms of conventionality, also known as Stepford Wife Syndrome. Hurry! Offer expires at midnight. No early epidemics released. Victims are eligible for government awards but responsible for all taxes, titles, and delivery fees. Call 1-800-usubmit now!

ver: germs!

Romulus Crowe said...

In this week's New Scientist, a study has shown that 1 in 100 have symptoms of the psychopath. Sounds like I got off lightly.

I wonder if modern medicine will ever class anyone as 'sane'.

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