Julie Andrews calms me. She just does. Talks me down, orders my thoughts when I get rattled. And I get rattled a lot during these hellish days Julie so warmly and merrily refers to as "the holiday season."
As the parent of a differently abled child, this release of expectation has changed the way I parent, and it has released me from the shackles of expectation -- shackles I didn't even know I had. Every day is a new day, every day is a surprise.
We were told prior to its publication that DSM-5 would be a 'living document' subject to correction. It turns out that this correction needs to begin right now -- DSM-5 in its current form is unacceptably imprecise and cries out for an immediate and thorough re-editing.
My recommendation for clinicians is simple. Don't use DSM-5 -- there is nothing official about it, nothing especially helpful in it, and all the codes you need for reimbursement are already available for free on the Internet or in DSM-IV.
DSM-V, the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, is due for publication in May. Here's a sneak preview of some new mental disorder categories.
This well-meaning program is a serious mistake for two reasons. First, it is no more than a politically correct, cosmetic solution that distracts attention from what really needs to be done. Second, it will likely wind up doing much more harm than good.
On Friday I attended an exhibit opening for a young artist who has schizophrenia. If only President Obama could have attended, because events like these would go a long way toward decreasing the stigma surrounding those with mental illness.
Is there a last-minute way for the DSM-5 to restore some of its lost credibility? A great deal of irrevocable damage has been done, but I have four simple suggestions that would help reduce the harm done by the DSM-5 and demonstrate that the APA has regained its integrity.
Here's my guide to 14 of the most recently identified medical conditions, like PID (Premature Intervention Disorder): the hallucinated belief by war-mongering politicians that invading other countries for ridiculously long periods of time will increase national security.
My best advice to clinicians, to the press, and to the general public -- be skeptical and don't follow DSM-5 blindly down a road likely to lead to massive over-diagnosis and harmful over-medication. Just ignore the 10 changes that make no sense.
Regardless of what anyone else may think, this is a personal decision to be made by the family based on their situation and their needs, and I don't find it at all appropriate to issue blanket condemnations of medication for ADHD when this may be exactly what someone's child needs.
There's certainly a place for these medications in the treatment of ADD. But I think we've done too good a job of "selling" ADD and Adderall as the answer to many teenagers who are in a normative struggle toward maturity.
Hruska's fine debut novel, Accelerated, offers a cautionary tale not only of the pharmaceutical-industrial complex but also of the high-pressured, high-powered world of privilege in Manhattan's elite private schools.
While advances in science no doubt help us in countless ways, and in no way am I suggesting we impede the development of medicines that improve the quality of our lives, we need to keep a watchful eye on the cultural pressures some unwittingly create.
This is not a solution for the dearth (or death) of self-contained specialized programs in which intensive specialized instruction can take place (clearly my preference), but perhaps a way to do some damage control.