Normality is an endangered species, trauma again linked to mental illness, and infants with schizophrenia?! Wednesday news and blogs

  • Normality Is an Endangered Species: Psychiatric Fads and Overdiagnosis — Psychiatric Times — By Allen Frances (chair of DMS lV task-force) Interesting to see what he says. Well worth reading the whole article. The “epidemics” in psychiatry are caused by changing diagnostic fashions—the people don’t change, the labels do. There are no objective tests in psychiatry—no X-ray, laboratory, or exam that says definitively that someone does or does not have a mental disorder. What is diagnosed as mental disorder is very sensitive to professional and social contextual forces. Rates of disorder rise easily because mental disorder has such fluid boundaries with normality.
  • Abused Children Appear Likely to Have Mental Disorders as Young Adults — ScienceDaily — Abuse and neglect during childhood appear to be associated with increased rates of mood, anxiety and substance use disorders among young adults, according to a report in the June issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. — Most studies of child maltreatment and later mental health outcomes have relied on reports of past abuse, according to background information in the article. Doubts have been raised about the reliability and validity of these reports, given that past maltreatment is often unreported, memories can be reconstructed and the reports can be unstable over time. Recently there have been studies showing that schizophrenia too is linked to adversity in childhood. This is something that any mental health professional who actually listens to their clients would know. Just about every one of my clients who were diagnosed schizophrenic reported traumatic childhoods. Now with the work I do as a peer, my peers tell me the same.

  • Would you prefer “small brain volume?” — Holistic Recovery– (Schizophrenia in infants??!!) Robert Whitaker has a blog post today on a research finding* published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. “In this NIMH-funded study, researchers reported that male neonates born to mothers diagnosed and treated for schizophrenia were found to have “several larger than normal brain volumes.” The researchers concluded that this was evidence that “prenatal and early neonatal brain development is abnormal in males at genetic risk for schizophrenia.“ — In other words, researchers saw this abnormality as evidence of a “schizophrenic” process already underway in the male neonates. But the mothers diagnosed with schizophrenia in this study were taking antipsychotics, which are known to cause changes in brain volumes. Thus, it may be that the abnormalities seen in the brains of the male neonates were due to the drugs, rather than to any underlying genetic risk for schizophrenia. — The female neonates born to mothers diagnosed with schizophrenia did not have “larger than normal brain volumes,” which of course leads to further doubt about any conclusions that can be drawn from this study.

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