The French have gotten something so right compared to we moronic Americans that I could kiss them all. At least all the psychiatrists. Stumbling around all the modern goings-ons in the world of the internet, I came across this article on how the French diagnose ADHD in children versus how we Americans diagnose.
There are a few classic mistakes made by American psychiatrists (and America in general) that I see being red-flagged in this article, as well as some basic common sense by the French which Americans will never actually accept in the psychological diagnostic system, ADHD or otherwise. (This may go into a generalized ramble, I’m afraid. It’s getting late around here, so I’m a little sleep deprived.)
What the Americans have wrong
1. Sources, people, sources
There are so many controversies over the lack of validity surrounding the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, there’s no way I’d be able to address them all here. The fact is, though, that there is a serious problem with Americans’ ability to admit when they have something wrong and to try a completely new tactic to get it right. The DSM has become a one-stop-shop for diagnoses, and allows psychiatrists to become a little lazy. There are many diagnoses which overlap in their determined symptoms, and so psychiatrists, instead of making more thorough analyses of their patients, they throw a diagnosis out and see what happens when the patient is on that certain pill.
With pharmaceutical companies and the psychiatrists themselves getting paid the big bucks and conducting most of the funding going into DSM research and statistical analysis, the whole idea of ‘mental illness’ becomes a matter of money. So those in power of the information direct it to the most profitable end, meaning more pill cures to conditions which may have nothing to do with mental illness at all. This is what keeps the DSM in business as it were, and what keeps the percentage of diagnosed kids going higher and higher. It is a problem, and sadly most people just accept what the doctor orders instead of questioning the source and demanding a rehash of the system itself.
2. Psychological versus Biological
For some reason, in America, we don’t like to admit the possibility of psychological failure. Perhaps it is the ‘holier than thou’ image which America has self-proclaimed for itself, a false image which I can’t even begin to tackle in this post; this is the idea that Americans are the best of the best just because we have a powerful past. Despite all the failures we have put ourselves through since our WWII victory, we still put ourselves out there as the best, the victors, and there is nothing that can taint that image. I’m not saying I don’t love my country. I am quite patriotic in my own way, I have the utmost respect for those who risk their lives for this country, and I am proud of my country’s past. My problem is that we have fallen into a false sense of pride and greatness without being able to truly uphold our greatness. We are in a sad state of denial, and it’s only sinking us deeper. Even in the case of psychological diagnosis we fall far too short.
We are in a false sense of superiority, especially mentally. We feel there is no way that one of our own could be so mentally off that they are beyond help. We also don’t want to blame the general psychological state of the country on how we and our children act. We can’t take the blame, no matter the situation, and so we make our selves suffer. In terms of ADHD, we refuse to say that the upbringing of our children is the problem. We demand that it is a born issue, something physical that can be ‘treated’ instead of an environmental issue which needs to be adjusted through the efforts of the community. We purposefully misdiagnose a psychological and environmental problem as biological, thereby averting the blame.
3. There’s a pill for that!
We all know this misconception, and yet we still allow it to control us. As I’ve already said, a lot of this false diagnosis issue revolves around money. The biggest proof of this is the insistence on there being a pill for everything. The problem is, especially in the case of ADD and ADHD, it is not the child’s mental state which is an issue, it is the child’s environment. Whether it be the way the child is being raised or the way they are being taught in school, most of the symptoms of ADD and ADHD are environmentally stimulated and enhanced.
I don’t say this as an attack against the American family or the school system, although both of those things could have a series from me to themselves. My point is that, when you really look at the symptoms of ADHD, as the French and most of the rest of the world do, you realize that 1) the symptoms can usually be massaged and avoided through the way a kid is treated and taught by parents and teachers, and 2) can just as equally be enhanced by these environmental conditions. Different kids learn through different stimulants, and so when you understand the individual’s preferences, you can help that individual succeed. You don’t need a pill to force a kid to focus or calm down, you just need to know how to help them learn the best way they can and wear them out. Now I do understand that there are sever cases where kids do need help, but you can’t generalize these symptoms to every kid who bounces in his chair and can’t focus on math in the 3rd grade. There is a real line between normal childhood hyperactivity and real mental instability, and hyperactivity cannot and should not be ‘cured’ by a pill.
4. Can we say lazy (again)? Or treating the symptoms for once, not the disease
This is Americans’ biggest problem, in the realm of medicine and everything else: laziness. It is so easy to overdiagnose an illness, to pop a kid a pill and assume everything’s fine. The parents don’t have to deal with talking to their kids about their school problems, figuring out tutoring schedules or taking time to help them with homework. The teachers don’t have to do any of this either. Just send the kid to a psychiatrist, get a pill and have them pop it. That is the mentality that we have developed, and it is shameful. (This is coming from someone who has no interest in having kids, by the way.) With things like ADHD, it’s more helpful for the child to deal with individual issues they have, try non-medicated routes like tutoring, talking to them, and finding alternative teaching methods.
Take it from a woman who is very close to her childhood and dealt with these kind of issues. My parents didn’t medicate me, and despite my attention issues and interactive issues, I still made it through high school, through college, and into the real world. You don’t need a diagnosis and pills to make a kid pay attention and be able to function. You just need to take some time.
To call you
does not do you
for you are
to my whims,
It is I
in this game
for my vessel,
in my hands
the cosmic powers,
of all I see
to the world,
We are partners,
to each others’
you have made us
I asked, and you answered! Thank you to all those who left feedback on what you, my followers, would like to see from me. I must make a special shout out to those who are still interested in updates to my Elaseim novel. It brought a HUGE smile to my face to know there is at least one person out there who wants to see more. I haven’t had the real chance to work on chapters for a while, but the plot is officially complete. It’s just a matter of getting the time to put the plot into chapters that I’m satisfied with.
The winning category is actually a tie between Rants and Raves and Poetic Nothings. The poetry I expected, especially since I’ve been writing so much of it lately, and so many of my new followers are poets themselves. The rants and raves reaction I was a bit surprised. I wasn’t expecting people to enjoy my babbling that much, honestly. I’m glad it entertains you all!
If you haven’t gotten the chance to look through my posts and pick your favorite content, you can give your feedback whenever! An don’t forget, I have a new page for suggestions if you have an idea of a topic for a post or poem or short story. Thank you all again so much for your support!
I don’t know if I’ve ever made it known to everyone on here, but I love the winter. There’s something so comforting about the silence of a fresh snowfall, I can escape everything and just be for a minute. What a feeling that is!
But alas, I don’t live in Alaska or Siberia, my dream worlds, and so the sun gets closer and the days get longer and eventually the serene white landscape goes yellow… and green. The crispness of the blue in the sky fades and becomes blurred in the heat that is summer. I don’t really acknowledge the presence of spring, to be honest with you. Anything above 73 degrees Fahrenheit is too hot for me, so even in the spring I’m usually uncomfortably warm.
My heart was torn from me for three years in a row as a child; we had to move to southern Texas, the land of the Equatorial Summer. When you’re 6 years old and already the most anticipated part of your life is the snow day, moving to a place where everyone your age has never even seen snow before is practically crushing to the psyche. I made my way, though, and when we finally returned home, I was ready! I still feel like, after over a decade, I’m still trying to make up for those three missed years.
During those times of the year I don’t have the catching-up opportunity, I have even worse problems. I’m not exactly the most slim person in the world, although most people would say I am a very good weight for my size and age. My whole life, though, I’ve thought I was too heavy, a combination of the unnaturally slim ‘normal’ the media portrays women as and the seemingly constant suggestions from my mother to join her in dieting while growing up (which included Atkins and Slimfast diets; can you imagine a 16 year old taking a Slimfast for her lunch to school? Yeah, my life.) As a teenager, I became very stubborn against the iamge of womanhood, and so became increasingly self-conscious about womanhood at the same time. The idea of a two piece bathing suit unnerved me. The fact I had to start shaving at age 12 didn’t help my interest in exposing my legs to the world, let alone my underarms. It was so much nicer to be comfy in my clothes and covered up, instead of hiding my skin under a sauna of denim and knit T-shirts. And then, of course, I get sent to a school with a dress code and no air conditioning. Wonderful.
So, by now you figure, “Time for her to start really ranting on the summer!” Right? Well, although I don’t mean to disappoint, this actually isn’t a rant. This is a celebration. You see, my seasonal bias has developed a very thick skin toward any weather that is not goosebump-inducing. I had gotten to the point that if I wasn’t at the brink of shivering, I could not properly function as myself. The temperature of the world began to consume my life, a subconscious obsession that I was perfectly happy with. Unless it was warm…
In the past few years, however, I’ve really had to come to terms with my resentment of sweat and skimpy bikinis. It’s been a gradual transition into enjoying the blazing sun. Most of it has been my fantastic boyfriend, who has managed by some miracle to make me realize I am attractive, and was REALLY attractive in high school, despite not being one of the ‘perfect people.’ My self-esteem over my physical image is where it should be (although I am working on getting my weight back down right now); I’m confident in myself to pull of that two piece bathing suit, even if I’m not to a full-on bikini.
The other reason, and the main reason I started this ramble, is exactly what I’m doing now. Writing. I know I said that the void quiet of winter is what brings me to myself, and that still is the case. I have found, however, that there is a muse for me in the rippling summer air; music.
It struck me, really, just this evening. Music has always been a muse of mine. I have to have the radio or my Zune playing in the car while I drive. Most of the time, when I write, I need some music in the background, just light enough to hear and maybe chime in with a song or two to give my fingers a break. But it’s always been music that strikes my soul just right. Every fanfiction that has ever played out in my mind, no matter what story it begins as, turns into a musical. The songs that fit each part of the storyline in a perfect playlist for my to watch in my head whenever I want, and sing along.
I realized while trying to think of something to write today that the high school band across the street has started practicing, and it hit me as they went through a scale: summer is the time for sound, for music, the music of nature and man melding in the air of the world. The birds are always chirping in some tree somewhere, the cicadas are coming, and their little hisses give the backdrop to crickets and rabbit rustlings in the grass, and somewhere in the distance the cymbal screech of the red-tail begins a new verse. Even in the stillness of December, I need that music behind me to push me ahead. In the summer, I don’t need to provide it at all. It’s already there swirling through my eardrums.
And I love every note.
In the coming days or weeks or whatnot, I’m going to include some of my strongest musical muses and what they mean to me. Keep an ear out!
I thought I’d actually post something about this. I’ve made a new, interactive page for you all! It’s called Make Me Your Pawn. It’s a suggestion box, basically. If you have an idea about a topic you’d like me to talk about, either through a rant, short story, poetry, whatever! Just go up to Make Me Your Pawn and fire away!
On a side note, is anyone having problems reading the page links? If so, I apologize, I can’t seem to fix it without changing the color scheme of the page, and I really don’t want to do that.