Saturday, March 8, 2014

"Disorders", "diagnostic labels", and why getting it diagnosed.

More and more people are being diagnosed to have a psychiatric disorders. The keyword here is "disorder". We shall look at how a "disorder" is defined - in essence, in most psychiatric guidelines or manuals, a condition can only be said as an disorder when it causes impaired function in social, occupational, or educational aspects of life.

And when we evaluate the requirements for social, occupational, and educational aspects of life - we can see that over the past 20 years, these requirements have been a monotonous increasing function.

It is perhaps thus to nobody's surprise that we have more such "disorders" diagnosed, especially in Hong Kong. In other countries, and in other cities, if you are not the kind to live in cities, you can move elsewhere, and work a easier life. Not so much in Hong Kong -- there's nowhere to go. Perhaps jumping from height or into the sea, but that's it. It is so unacceptable socially that a person from Hong Kong would go elsewhere to live a lowly life that people would choose to die over going elsewhere.

Definition is one thing, and then we have several groups with vested interest in giving a "diagnosis" to patients: parents, and perhaps patients. Nowadays, instead of "laziness" and "stupidity", people are increasingly referring their child as being inflicted by developmental delay (which is otherwise known as "stupidity" in my days, especially when they are not formally "mentally retarded"), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (which is known as "lazy and distracted"), and so on, so forth.

It has become a trend such that all child are bright and beautiful, and only afflicted by a disorder and is therefore so naughty that you teacher cannot work with them. And it's your fault by not coping well with their illness, or by discriminating them based on their ailment.

Honestly, I don't believe in the notion that this generation of children is facing a "psychiatric epidemic".  In my humble opinion, they are facing a "diagnosis epidemic".

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