Open a psychology book. Read a book about behavior. Research how the mind works. Notice the never-ending list of psychological conditions and disorders. You’ll be shocked. What’s the first thing you’ll do? Yep, start self-diagnosing.
I read a lot of psychology material. This is mostly out of interest, and because I see it as a necessity to understand the most powerful force in our lives, our mind, and to harness its power and live a full, happy life.
I know people and loved ones facing problems such as anxiety, depression, OCD, ADD, ADHD, bi-polar disorder, and a few other conditions. These kinds of mental disorders are growing at a fast rate among adolescents in particular, with many saying they are stressed, unhappy, and over-worked, and starting younger and younger.
A great source for this information, my high school student counselor, with whom I recently spoke on this matter, told me she has noticed a growing rate of student anxiety and depression. This has led to poor health, missed school days, eating disorders, drug and alcohol use, and a lot of prescription drug use to treat these kids, and some of them aren’t even old enough to drive yet. It’s stunning, and alarming.
You may have, or still do face these kinds of problems. This is a serious issue and many things are to blame. The education system is obviously not at full potential in many areas, social pressure is often tough to deal with, many parents around the country are great, but others need to step it up, for the sake of their child’s happiness. Genetics may have something to do with it too. And there are chemical components that at times are off in a person’s body. These things, they can’t help by themselves.
What about this though; after reading about all these cases, I felt like maybe, some were unworthy of being called a “disorder.”
Some people are trying to classify behavior such as laziness, phone addiction, video game addiction, driving anxiety, roller coaster anxiety, desperate need for approval and admiration, and similar behaviors as medical conditions. Are they though?
Hear me out, I am not downplaying the seriousness of the disorder epidemic that young people seem to be facing right now. This information is not applicable to every case. I’m just making this point, if there is a disorder for practically every imperfection, and since no one is perfect, it almost seems like everyone would have a disorder. The danger in this is that if you think something may be seriously wrong with you, and having a disorder is a serious problem, then you are going to act and feel and believe that you have a serious problem.
As in any big industry, the medical industry can be corrupt. Doctors can, and do make up disorders and names for things just to sell you on a prescription and keep you coming back. Don’t believe me? A quick internet search can prove it. This happens to some people and they believe it, and spend a lot of money to treat this “condition.”
Another interesting take:
Some will go so far as to say we are just a nation of pussies and need to toughen up. Pretty harsh words, but after talking it over with some colleagues, a few backed up this point. They said, in relation to the rest of the world, we actually don’t realize how well off we are. Our biggest problems are a third world county’s daily life, and they hardly even pay any attention to it, they have more serous things to worry about. They went on to say that people in this country are too caught up in their own heads and need to step back and realize how well they are, which makes any problems they’re facing seem minimal. Interesting perspective. However I will say that just because someone somewhere has it worse than you, does not mean your problems don’t matter. We’ll all admit that a little perspective is good for us though, even though it’s not always what we want to hear.
None of this is to de-emphasize the attention that we must give to fixing the psychological problems people all across the nation deal with. Medical breakthroughs have made it so people can overcome their depression, anxiety, attention-deficits, and other conditions and live happy lives. That’s great! It is interesting to consider if the, perhaps, “over-saturation of diagnosis” is a real issue in this country and we are over-diagnosing people.
I think you will agree with how I conclude this article, by saying that I do believe we must emphasize the prevention of behavioral and psychological disorders, so we don’t have to treat them in the first place. Let’s focus on that, prevention!