Sean Fenley

Sean Fenley
May 04
Sean Fenley is an independent progressive, who would like to see some sanity brought to the creation and implementation of current and future, US military, economic, foreign and domestic policies. He has been published by a number of websites, and publications throughout the alternative media.

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JANUARY 24, 2013 10:54AM

Caveat Emptor Dissenters: You May Have a Mental Illness

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Mike Adams mentioned, on Alex Jones’ Infowars, a condition in the DSM known as “Oppositional Defiant Disorder”. I really think that it’s getting to the point, where it’s the psychiatrists — that are the madhats. Are we, in fact, witnessing a Sovietization of the psychiatric/mental health system? And people talk of fixing our mental health system, after many of these horrible/horrific mass shootings. I recall always hearing that a radical goes to the root of the problem. Our mental health system has some diseased roots indeed, and so I think that the challenge of fixing it is a prodigious one, for sure. A riper time to storm the Bastille, I’m not sure, that there has ever been, most assuredly.

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As a psychologist who hates labels but has to use them for some of my work, I totally share your disgust. Some labels are just downright insane and ODD is one of them. What does it mean? Rebellious, angry, irritated, smart enough to get some attention and point out failings in a family? There are many silly labels, including some of the personality disorders, which describe personality traits but not necessarily disorders. Some do no harm and some do much harm, depending on how they're used. Psychiatrists often give a label and then a drug and I've seen as much harm as benefit.
I'm not sure the context in which Mike Adams mentioned "Oppositional Defiant Disorder." I'm aware that Alex Jones frequently has guests on from the Committee for Health Care Rights, which is a front group for the Scientologists. People have to be really careful to check sources for statements made on Infowars. Alex and some of their writers have an unfortunate tendency to make global statements based on questionable sources.

I can't really see why the ODD diagnosis would apply to any of the recent shootings because it's a label reserved for children 17 and under with severe behavioral problems. It's used to indicate that a child has behavioral, rather than mental health problems. Jackie is correct that a lot of these children have behavioral issues because of problems in the family or at school. It's also the job of the child and adolescent psychiatrist to identify when a child has a problem that won't respond to treatment and refer them on.

A child psychiatrist who, for whatever reason, wished to prescribe medication would have to give the kid (often inappropriately) a diagnosis of ADHD or childhood bipolar disorder. If they medicated a child with ODD, they would be at high risk of a malpractice suit or losing their license.
With respect to Dr. Bramhall, there is always the "IED" diagnosis, "Intermittent Explosive Disorder", which has made a psych issue out of having angry outbursts deemed out of proportion to the triggering event.
I read that the criteria for childhood ODD is tantrum behavior 3X per week. Parents I know where, "Three times per week? Try three times per day at my house!" So, I guess the drug companies are going to be raking it in... Sad for the developing brains of the kids.
psychology/psychiatry are like the comic book superhero powers, they can be used for good or evil. there are surely some kids with severe cases for which ODD diagnosis might help them get treatment. but yeah, psychology and psychiatry have become rather invasive and highly drug focused in a single generation. on the other hand, the public does seem to have significant degrees of mental illness, & it does seem like its climbed over time. note for example that schizophrenia is more common in populations in cities. etc.... a complex subj
Thanks for the comments... Some of my posts are just thinking out loud, others are deadly serious. This was the former, I expected that I would draw a lot of commentary on this.
I know, it's ridiculous isn't it! These terms help justify their existence. R
Just to accurate here, having 3 tantrums a week doesn't mean a child has ODD. In fact tantrums aren't even mentioned in the diagnostic criteria. To qualify for an ODD diagnosis, a child must have a consistent pattern for at least 6 mos of negativistic, hostile and defiant behavior that meets 4 out of 8 specific criteria (relating to being deliberately defiant, spiteful and vindictive and projecting blame on other people for misbehavior). Moreover the behavior must also cause significant impairment in social, academic or occupational functioning.

And I reiterate: no competent child psychiatrist would ever treat it with medication.

I also have a problem with the implication that psychiatrists are overdiagnosing "Intermittent Explosive Disorder" in children. Where, exactly, is the evidence for this? In 32 years of practice, I have never encountered a single child and adolescent psychiatrist who used this diagnosis. It is more likely to be used in adults when the psychiatrist are trying to rule out a brain injury as a cause for explosive outbursts.

Where the really big problem is occurring, as I mentioned in my first comment, is where drug companies are encouraging child psychiatrists to diagnose bipolar disorder in young children (bipolar disorder only develops after puberty) and prescribe heavy duty mood stabilizers and tranquilizers for them.

I can understand why everyone wants to trash psychiatrists. Its an occupational hazard, and I have never taken it personally. But it seems strange that people who try to be rational and objective in writing about other topics get so irrational when they write about mental health issues.
@ Br.Bramhall, my apologies, you wrote "I can't really see why the ODD diagnosis would apply to any of the recent shootings because it's a label reserved for children 17 and under with severe behavioral problems " and I brought up IED since it is diagnosed in adults. Doing the smart a**, "There's a diagnosis for everything" bit. My apologies there, as that was disrespectful.
Dr. Allen Frances, who was chair of the DSM-IV Task Force wrote an interesting piece about his disappointment in the DSM-V:

Personally, I think people that go into the mental health industry are caring, compassionate professionals who are focused on helping people. It's the drug companies and their influence, on doctors and notably on the public with direct marketing that scare me...