1. R-e-n-n-a-t
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    R-e-n-n-a-t Contributing Member

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    Mental Status?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by R-e-n-n-a-t, Mar 13, 2011.

    I read online that the average school-age student today faces so much stress that they all would have been declared legally insane in the fifties, and would have been institutionalized.

    This got me thinking, how do we know how our mental "health" compares to that of other people? For example, I'm often depressed and very rarely actually happy. I can't tell if my life is actually worse than somebody else's or if I'm just bad at coping with negative aspects of life.

    I'm not sure there is a concrete way of determining mental health, but it's really annoying when people assume that being depressed is just something that people should "get over".
     
  2. nhope
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    nhope Contributing Member Reviewer

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    What should matter is how you feel and think, not how you rate among everyone else.

    We live in a "feel good now" world: not happy? take a pill! too fat? take a pill! getting old? take a pill? hate you parents? take a pill! depressed? take a pill! Nothing advertised on tv nowadays allows you to feel good about yourself. And if you think about it, I don't think people really care about others like they used to. I grew up in the '60's and people cared. Neighbors, teachers, the corner store guy, everyone cared. But back then, the dad worked and the mom stayed home and raised the kids. All the kids played with each other and teachers and parents were constantly on your ass to make sure you did the right thing and grew up to be a responsible adult. Even most of the tv shows, on the 5 channels we got, were adult-oriented. I don't know what you read on the internet about the '50's, but you can't possibly compare then to now as the environment is completely different. This is the electronic age. We are becoming shut-ins with lousy penmanship and lack of social skills.

    Nowadays it seems that it's all about the kids. It's out of control. Even this country can't say no. We have to accommodate everyone. Well, that doesn't work.

    Big digression from your initial question but imo, I don't know that anyone is truly happy every moment of every day. I also think that the state you live in factors into your emotional health. I'm in NH and I hate the winter. It's cold, dreary, long, dirty, and practically sunless. I'm thinking about packing it in a moving to AZ, where I used to live.

    You would know whether your mental state needed help. But before you take a pill, buy "The Anxiety and Phobia" workbook and read it. Great help. Heal yourself. You know you better than anyone else so you may as well learn to deal with yourself.
     
  3. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I really disagree that happiness is some innate quality that you can "find" within yourself. It's damaging for precisely the reason you're describing; if you're not happy, you're wrong. Sometimes you need to be sad, you need to be unhappy, and you need to be able to accept it and understand it, rather than instinctively fight against it. Happiness is relative; you're always happier, better, healthier, saner than some other person, and there's nothing wrong with finding happiness outside yourself. There's nothing wrong with you just because you're not happy, but if you want to be happier, then be smart about it. It's not about self-esteem, or loving yourself, or any of that nonsense, it's about knowing what you want, what makes you happy, and getting it.
     
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  4. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    Self-esteem, a nonsense? Are you sure? I grant you, there's a tremendous amount of nonsense written about it, but a robust self-esteem is one of the pillars of sound and durable mental health. (An individual's scope for attaining it are often limited by circumstance, environment and genetics but that is another matter).

    You think those with low self-regard make appropriate choices about what makes them happy, and about the best means of securing that happiness?
     
  5. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I just don't think that a realistic sense of self-worth necessarily corresponds to high 'self-esteem', or that it's healthy to focus on self-esteem like it's something innate. Identity is always external, and I think the idea of happiness coming only from within is dangerously misleading, especially in the context of this 'positive psychology' phase. Being unhappy is not being unhealthy.
     
  6. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with the notion that unhappiness is not unhealthy. We are meant to experience different emotions, life is not meant to be a straight line; there are supposed to be hills and valleys.

    It is when the balance is out of whack and unhappiness becomes the norm that I think some issues need addressing.
     
  7. Jammo
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    I guess life just has its ups and downs.
    We experience a whole wide variety of different emotions. Certain situations impact how we feel. I definitely agree with Sabreur, if at the base of your feelings is unhappiness, you need to address what the root of your problems is and get over the obstacles that stand in your path.
     
  8. ThinkingOutLoud
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    ThinkingOutLoud New Member

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    While I will not say that any person should just "get over" whatever they have going on, I WILL factually say that we live in a world where we have substandard medical students who, for decades have been allowed to graduate from medical school and go into "psychiatry" or similar mental health fields as doctors where these labels are created purely to create stigma.

    There is no such thing as a mental disorder or mental health problem since it cannot be tested for using modern medical technology. The very criteria for being diagnosed with one of these far flung disorders are outrageous, and define nothing more than people being people, subjectiveness at it's worst.

    I say do what makes you happy, keep company with people who know you and care about you, get out in the world and find something you can enjoy. Each person on this planet has a purpose. Each person has a measure of worth that makes them valuable to society.
     
  9. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    We can't really know if our mental health is better, worse, the same as others. We can only judge other people externally, we don't know what's going on inside them, and sometimes we don't even know how our mental health is. But there are ways of accessing how we feel about ourselves, how we feel about others, our identity in general and how we act in social situations and so forth.

    I like to be optimistic, but I do have a low self esteem and I think this plays a part. If you have a low self esteem, then you might become depressed and as you said, it's not something that you can 'get over' just like that.

    Some people say if you want something, go and get it. But it's not that simple.

    But being unhappy isn't bad or unhealthy. There has to be a balance between the emotions, you have to feel happiness sometimes, unhappiness other times, and somewhere in the middle.
     
  10. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Erm. You're wrong.

    Every thing from schizophrenic to depression turn up on brain scans (MRI etc) as as differences in reactions to stimuli etc. As well as you can look on neurotransmitter levels and interactions levels etc. For some reading on the subject i can recommend googles scientific report search or, "Biopsycology" by John P.J. Pinel.

    Brain scans etc is an important tool when researching mental disorders but usefully it not meaningful to use it as a diagnostic tool, since you don't have baseline "healthy statistics" for you, and there are individual differences etc. It is more effective to diagnose the symptoms rather then the brain activity.
     
  11. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    As unhealthy as I think the 'positive psychology' movement is, it pales in comparison to this idea that psychology and the medical treatment of mental disorders is unhelpful. It is a horribly destructive lie that, like the pop psychologies espoused by third-rate self-help authors and daytime talk show hosts, victimises those who can't simply "get over" their problems. There is no reason to suspect that psychology is not a verifiable science (perhaps you're confusing it with early 20th century psychoanalysis or something), or that the use of drugs to treat psychological disorders is a bad idea. While they may not be for everyone, no one deserves to be viewed as lesser because they rely on them for mental well-being. To invalidate someone's mental health on such a flimsy pretext is shameful, and the fact that there is stigma towards some mental health conditions and their victims is a result of this kind of victimising rhetoric. Is it difficult to define and diagnose certain disorders? Of course, especially given our relatively limited understanding of cognitive function, but does that mean that mental disorders don't exist? Of course not.
     
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  12. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It not meaningful to compare with others. It like discussing pain, let say a headache. People have different pain thresholds and different skills with coping with pain. Direct comparision doesnt say much about anything.

    The thing most psychiatrist handle what is a mental disorder, and whats just life is the thin red line "when you just can't work anymore" can't take care of yourself, you home, your family, your work/school. Usually with the addition "for more then 2 weeks" and sometimes "unless is a natural reaction to traumatic event, like losing a loved one".

    To me it makes sense. As long as you can handle you every day life you within normal parameters.
    Every now and then you might go trough a bad patch, maybe have you heart broken and be devastated and spend a week or two crying, mostly crying. But thats also normal, as long as you snap out of the worst of it and start functioning again in about 2 weeks time.
    Unless you perhaps lost you child. Then it might be a healty normal grief reaction, even if it takes longer then 2 weeks to start functioning again.

    Then the only question you need to ask yourself. "Can I function in my daily life when I feel like this?" and that is a yes/no question, with a grey zone in the middle. You might still be unhappy, but if your life still work you not really ill. You might chose to make life style changes, but you haven't crossed the line when it meaningful to talk about a disorder.
     
  13. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    I suspect ThinkingOutLoud is, if anything, elevating the human experience of suffering rather than dismissing it. I don't think he has in mind psychoanalysis at all but is rather questioning the readiness with which most moderns have accepted biological/chemical/genetic explanations for mental difficulties.

    I have much sympathy for the position and would strongly recommend those interested in all this should take a look at Bentall's Doctoring the Mind. Or, if they're feeling brave, they might take a look at the very invigorating Thomas Szasz - echoes of whose thoughts can be detected in TOL's bracing commentary.
     
  14. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm bipolar. Stop being wrong about my brain.
     
  15. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Here's the problem with your statement and the one thing that ThinkingOutLoud got absolutely correct IMO. Doctors these days jump to conclusions, they often don't listen to their patients, they decide that they are correct and if you meet the criteria you mentioned above then you ARE clinically depressed. Period. End of story. Take your pills and shut up. It took me 3 years, 4 regular practitioners, and 7 nuerologists to get my diagnoses. I WAS starting to think I was crazy! That, IMO, is a travesty.
     
  16. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    There is a lot of problem with different medical systems, creating incentives for quick diagnosis, or to only offer medical treatment (when it shown that the most effective course is therapy and medication is what gets the best result, followed by only medicine followed by only therapy for many diagnoses). Because of economic reasons.

    And we can criticizes how diagnostic criteria is used and designed. And we should do that, reexamining what we believe we know is the way since move forward. I read some interesting proposal of doing diagnostic based criteria grouping diagnoses that react well to to the same kinds of treatment instead of criteria based on how the diagnosis behave. (One example being anxiety and depression. It behaves differently on the surface but responds to the same kind of treatment etc).

    We can argue that to rigid use of diagnostics criteria becomes a real problem every time you have a atypical case or a case falling between or showing a mix of syndrome usually associated with different kinds of diagnosis.

    But I generally do believe doctors people wanting to help willing to go through years of education to do so. Even is they can still be lousy listeners and there are rotten eggs everywhere.

    There are lot of problems in modern psychiatry, but we are moving forward. The new wave of medications in the 80s was step forward, the evidence based cognitive therapies was a step forward, the wider acceptance of psychiatric treatment and meds was a step forward (Suicide rates went down people! Good stuff!)., Todays wave of caution about overdiagnosation and doctors too easily prescribing medicine is also a healthy criticism and a step forward. Thing are changing for the better, and probably will keep changing for the better. Even if there still is a bunch of problems.

    But i know your pain and i know how frustrating it can be.
     
  17. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I guess I wasn't clear on my first post, my apologies. It was not presenting the same as anxiety or any other psychiatric disorder, they simply chose to believe it was, not listen to me, because they were the doctors and I didn't go to medical school so what did I know? I don't HAVE a psychiatric disorder, I have a biological disorder. I have epilepsy. They were completely ignoring the information they were getting on CAT scan's and MRI's because it COULD mean depression and that was so much easier for them. I had a 24 hour EEG after 2 years of fighting and only getting worse that showed 67 seizures in one 24 hour period. That's just blindness and mediocrity as a whole.

    Even now, HEAVILY medicated, my last EEG showed 26 seizures in 24 hours. How on earth did that many doctors miss an illness so blatantly there? I am textbook. How? Depression is simpler. I am a mom of 2 kids and was working 2 jobs, and was not rich. I had problems in my life. Obviously I just couldn't cope. Ridiculous. Trusting doctors without question is dangerous.
     
  18. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ouch. I been on a few different epilepsy meds for bipolar disorder, and i know the side effects can be nasty. (The chemically stabilizability effects is also effective way to threatment of bipolar disorder. Lamotrigine for a few yars ago and presently Valproic acid.)

    I agree. You need to be the expert on your own health. I'm the hyper intellectual type that reads a lot about a lot, and read up on all kinds of medical information when I noticed that something was wrong, and pretty much came to the doctor presenting them with the diagnosis.But every one doesn't have the same opportunity to read a whole bunch of medical text.
     
  19. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I did research, I knew it wasn't depression or anxiety, but I had no idea it could be epilepsy. The side effects are vicious and the fact that I'm killing off my liver is no great prize either. I'm on Topamax. I'm on the highest dosage I can be, but they can't stop them. I'll never work or drive again. The memory loss is entertaining and frustrating by turns, but that's the hand I've been dealt. If they had found it sooner my daughter would not have been born 3 months premature at only 2 pounds, with health problems galore. There are many things that could have been better had they just listened. They do not always know best. My mental status is just fine, it's theirs I question.
     
  20. ThinkingOutLoud
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    Arron89 Said:

    "As unhealthy as I think the 'positive psychology' movement is, it pales in comparison to this idea that psychology and the medical treatment of mental disorders is unhelpful. It is a horribly destructive lie that, like the pop psychologies espoused by third-rate self-help authors and daytime talk show hosts, victimises those who can't simply "get over" their problems. There is no reason to suspect that psychology is not a verifiable science (perhaps you're confusing it with early 20th century psychoanalysis or something), or that the use of drugs to treat psychological disorders is a bad idea. While they may not be for everyone, no one deserves to be viewed as lesser because they rely on them for mental well-being. To invalidate someone's mental health on such a flimsy pretext is shameful, and the fact that there is stigma towards some mental health conditions and their victims is a result of this kind of victimising rhetoric. Is it difficult to define and diagnose certain disorders? Of course, especially given our relatively limited understanding of cognitive function, but does that mean that mental disorders don't exist? Of course not."

    My reply:
    Whenever I go to my doctor and he finds something wrong, I ask for evidence, I ask which test was used and how the test works. I make him detail everything so as to provide empirical evidence. If you read the DSM with even a halfway reasonable scientific mind and you then go do research and really ask around the medical profession, they will tell you it's the biggest scam around. Why? There are NO TESTS to show any of the disorders listed and therefore the DSM is neither diagnostic nor statistical.

    There is no blood test, no other biological basis or process of testing to show any of these disorders, there is no urine test, no medical imaging, nothing. Nothing will specifically point to one of these listed disorders in the DSM beyond a very bad and unethical working theory that behavior observations made without full investigation and without asking any questions to the patient about the behavior is accurate. BAD IDEA! Each person has their own personality, their own way of doing things, their own thoughts, their own feelings, their own beliefs about any number of things, and therefore it follows that someone viewed as being mentally ill may actually be just fine.

    Art said:
    "I suspect ThinkingOutLoud is, if anything, elevating the human experience of suffering rather than dismissing it. I don't think he has in mind psychoanalysis at all but is rather questioning the readiness with which most moderns have accepted biological/chemical/genetic explanations for mental difficulties.

    I have much sympathy for the position and would strongly recommend those interested in all this should take a look at Bentall's Doctoring the Mind. Or, if they're feeling brave, they might take a look at the very invigorating Thomas Szasz - echoes of whose thoughts can be detected in TOL's bracing commentary."

    YES! Art got what I was saying! I LOVE Dr. Szaz BTW! He's an intelligent man who writes and communicates quite clearly.

    I had this whole drawn out response detailing how psychiatry makes up these labels and how they actually steal some of their material from other areas of science, but my browser locked up.
     

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