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Let’s not discipline our children, let’s label them “mentally ill” instead

Dr. Thomas Insel, the present malevolent imp in charge of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), is at it again. This time the story is in Science Daily. There is an article in that online news source bearing the heading, Unruly Kids May Have a Mental Disorder.

I would qualify this heading with the addition of the word not.

When children behave badly, it’s easy to blame their parents. Sometimes, however, such behavior may be due to a mental disorder. Mental illnesses are the No. 1 cause of medical disability in youths ages 15 and older in the United States and Canada, according to the World Health Organization.

Apparently it’s a lot easier to blame children for childish behavior than it is to blame parents for possessing few or inadequate parenting skills.

After this introduction it’s mostly a matter of Dr. Insel mouthing off about how we have to catch these “mental disorders” early.

The same NIMH that Dr. Insel is the director of finds that ½ of the people labeled with lifetime “mental illness” were labeled by the time they were 14 years old.

One reason we haven’t made greater progress helping people recover from mental disorders is that we get on the scene too late,” said Thomas R. Insel, MD, director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the featured speaker at the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Presidential Plenary during the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Boston.

I don’t think he is trying to tell us here that after the age of 14 it is too late for a person to recover his or her wits. So what is he trying to say?

In addition to serving as director of the NIMH, Dr. Insel is acting director of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, a new arm of the National Institutes of Health that aims to accelerate the development of diagnostics and therapeutics.

Now we know.

Sometimes, in my view, misbehavior is just misbehavior. At other times, my view again, adult misbehavior can be seen in the pathologising of children. This is medicalization that, as you can see, may lead to a medicalized adulthood for the child so labeled.

Given an epidemic increase in “mental illness” labeling, you wouldn’t expect a dramatic decline in “mental illness” label rates anytime soon. You have even less reason to expect a decline with the likes of Dr. Insel pursuing easier ways to label childhood a certifiable “mental illness”.

Why the label? Drug companies need to make their profit quotas, and thanks to folks like Dr. Insel, they now have the psychiatrist puppets to help them do so.