Saturday, June 4, 2016
Soon everyone may be “suffering” from a mental illness
By Doug Book, editor
The Malleus Maleficarum is a 15th century text which instructed Inquisitors in the proper methods of identifying, trying and executing witches. Many years ago, renowned psychiatrist Thomas Szasz (1920-2012) used the example of the Malleus to write: "In the days of the Malleus, if the physician could find no evidence of natural illness, he was expected to find evidence of witchcraft.” “Today,” continued Szasz, “…if he cannot diagnose organic illness, he is expected to diagnose mental illness." Szasz was joined by other psychiatrists and educators in believing that the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V” (DSM 5) published May 18th, 2013 could be responsible for psychiatrists improperly diagnosing millions of Americans as mentally Ill.
Produced exclusively by the American Psychiatric Association, the DSM provides physicians with a handy checklist of mental illnesses. Simply fit a patient into a category and a diagnosis follows, complete with treatment and prescribed medication, all approved by insurers and the federal Medicare bureaucracy.
And with the introduction of a new and broader category of diagnosis under the heading of Somatic Symptom Disorders (SSD), the DSM 5 literally threatens to “…license the application of a mental health diagnosis for all illnesses…” Duke University professor emeritus Allen Frances writes that “…a person will meet the criteria for SSD by reporting just one bodily symptom that is distressing and/or disruptive to daily life and having just one of the following three reactions to it that persist for at least six months: 1) 'disproportionate' thoughts about the seriousness of their symptom(s); or 2) a high level of anxiety about their health; or 3) devoting excessive time and energy to symptoms or health concerns.
In short, should a physician believe a patient to be pre-occupied or overly concerned with a physical illness, a diagnosis of Somatic Symptom Disorder may be added to the patient’s file. The doctor can therefore make a purely “…subjective and fallible judgment that the patient's life has become 'subsumed' with health concerns and preoccupations…”
And Dr. Frances continues by warning the American people that “the definition of SSD is so loose it will capture 7% of healthy people (14 million in the US alone) suddenly making this pseudo diagnosis [of SSD] one of the most common of all 'mental disorders' in the general population.”
The doctor then voices a fear which should concern us all:
Do we really want to burden and stigmatize seriously ill people with an additional diagnosis of mental illness, just because they are worried about being sick and are vigilant about their symptoms? Might patients with life threatening diseases become reluctant to report new symptoms that might be early indicators of recurrence, metastasis or secondary disease – for fear of attracting a diagnosis of 'SSD'?
And what might be the “real world” ramifications of such a diagnosis? Could individuals deemed to be suffering from SSD be denied certain types of work? Could they be refused future health insurance coverage? Will they be considered hypochondriacs and therefore be placed at medical risk as physicians routinely ignore their complaints of “not feeling well?
ObamaCare is expected to cost Americans $2.6 trillion in its first full decade of existence (2014-2023.) It will also add another trillion in taxes over the same time frame. And now the cost of healthcare may skyrocket simply because countless patients may qualify for a diagnosis of mental illness.
On May 15th or 2015 the following statement appeared in an article posted by the National Institute of Mental Health:
Our best estimate of the number of adults with any diagnosable mental disorder within the past year is nearly 1 in 5, or roughly 43 million Americans. Although most of these conditions are not disabling, nearly 10 million American adults (1 in 25) have serious functional impairment due to a mental illness, such as a psychotic or serious mood or anxiety disorder. Fully 20 percent—1 in 5—of children ages 13-18 currently have and/or previously had a seriously debilitating mental disorder. By comparison, 8.3 percent of children under age 18 have asthma and 0.2 percent have diabetes.
In November of 2013, Promises Treatment Centers wrote:
“[ObamaCare] is designed to make quality private health insurance accessible to every American, regardless of income or previous medical history and one of the ways it will try to improve things is by radically expanding coverage for mental health care and substance abuse treatment.”
Americans diagnosed with mental health disorders are being subjected to increasing levels of federal scrutiny; their rights and habits, their very lives altered and controlled in countless ways by the federal government. Just an observation.