Wellness Is The New Sickness

Oh, no. Here we go again. Mental illness more common than thought claims this United Press International article out of North Carolina. I guess it pays not to think.

The prevalence of anxiety, depression and substance dependency may be about twice as high as the mental health community has thought, U.S. researchers say.

Anxiety, depression and substance dependency…Okay. What mental illnesses were you referring to?

Duke University psychologists Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi and colleagues from the United Kingdom and New Zealand used data from a long-term study of more than 1,000 New Zealanders from birth to age 32.

The researchers say people vastly underreport the amount of mental illness they’ve suffered when asked to recall their history years after the fact, but self-reporting from memory is the basis of much of what is known about the prevalence of anxiety, depression, alchohol dependence and marijuana dependence.

There’s more mental illness out there than we’d previously thought. What we need is more men in white suits traveling in vans and ambulances. Alright, boys, go round up nervous people, bums, bluesaholics, beeraholics, recreational drug users and other annoying folk.

Should you be snagged. Don’t worry, man, woman. You have to put a positive slant on this development, and ‘recover’ as they put it. Education is key. Like, hey! Now that you’ve been found out the skies the limit! You might be washed up in your old line of work, but you can consider pursuing a career as a psychologist, a sociologist, a social worker, a human services worker, a life coach, or a peer support specialist no sweat. Haven’t you heard? This is the chance of a lifetime. Sickness is the new boom industry.

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5 Responses

  1. I wrote about this paper here, interestingly the authors don’t rush to interpret their results as meaning that mental illness really is very common.

    Rather they say…

    “Researchers might begin to ask why so many people experience a DSM-defined disorder at least once during their lifetimes, and what this prevalence means for etiological theory, the construct validity of the DSM approach to defining disorder, service-delivery policy, the economic burden of disease, and public perceptions of the stigma of mental disorder.”

    • Those are good questions that somehow elude the article on the study mentioned above.

      Yes, how major is this depression that hits 41% of the people before they reach the age of 32, and does this depression have anything to do with being young? My thoughts…

      Out of this kind of thing come service providers who will say we need more money because if we serve a community of 10,000 people, 4,000 of them, according to this study, need our services.

      When you’ve got such requests coming from the local community irreparable person warehouse it can get scary.

  2. Also, there is a fundamental flaw in the DSM in that, unlike other areas of medicine, symptoms define the illness. Without a clear physical explanation for what is actually occurring in the brain, people with like symptoms may be grouped together, even though only half may actually be suffering from a definable medical condition, and even that half may all be suffering from different illnesses. On the basis of that, I’d be hesitant to make any statements about populations statistics on mental health.

    Besides, any definition that encompasses 41% of a population below age 32 sounds too broad to be a useful definition. For something as complex as depression, leaving the definition open sufficient to encompass almost half of a population that large says less about how many people suffer from mental illness than it does about how poorly defined depression is as a medical condition.

    I do think we should be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, however. It is probably true that mental illness is over-diagnosed in part because of economic motivations within the mental healthcare industry. But just because, for example, depression medications may be over-perscribed, doesn’t mean depression isn’t real, anymore than over-perscription of antibiotics in Africa means that Malaria isn’t real.

    • If the baby we’re going to throw out with the bathwater is “depression”, I have no problem with throwing it out. Wouldn’t it be a vast improvement if you could just wash your blues away. Well, I’m of the opinion that you can do just that.

      The person who is depressed feels sad. Does this make sadness a sickness? Sadness that is so intense that it interferes with function you might hear someone say. Oh, whatever. We don’t necessarily need happiness either. If your happiness interferes with function, you must be manic. Whatever. We’re still begging the question as to what is the function of a human being.

      I have a problem with excessive smiley’s, too. Frownies might spell an improvement in many instances. Imagine a person vaporized by the reflection of sunlight. Once so and so was such and such, but no more. ..phizzle.

      Malaria is a physical disease. Sadness is an emotion. People, if they work at it, have some control over their emotions. You can characterize emotion as illness as much as you want to do so, still that doesn’t make an emotion a disease. Gouge out the heart, and you just have another heartless ogre running around on the loose. Maybe we’d have a better world if we locked him up. Which brings me around to the next point…So much absurdity exists in the world today, did you ever consider that we must be locking up the wrong people.

      I think this kind of realization calls for a radical change in the reigning paradigm. How habitable, after all, is this world? Maybe it just isn’t habitable enough. Once the world was a place for hunter/gatherers. You never heard them bellyache so much. Perhaps we should return to the hunting and gathering lifestyle.

      One always had the option, understated, not to survive, and this was an option some people took. People still have this option, but if they get caught at it, they can get into a whole lotta trouble.

      You may think I’m being silly, and perhaps I am being silly, but I want you to consider that the stone face (think marble, think statue, think…bust) is only one of many faces that any man or woman harbors.

      • Yes, well, fortunately for you, you don’t suffer from depression. Neither apparently are you overburdened with sufficient imagination to recognize that your experience with “sadness” over the years may not remotely approximate what depression is. And if your suggesting that I have the option “not to survive,” well, thank you for giving vague imprimatur to my suicidal thoughts.

        Was it your face or your heart you said was made of stone (or marble, or whatever)? I can’t remember. Your Malaria vaccine is in the mail.

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