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Learning to say how I feel is also healthy
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п»ї<title>The social trivialization of pathologies</title>
The DSM V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and No. 5 is the most updated version. It is a text compiled and supervised by a series of researchers that categorizes descriptions and symptoms and gathers them into different categories, thus creating a large classification of the pathologies that afflict the human mind.
This data provides a unified technical language, so that all professionals – mainly physicians, psychiatrists and clinical psychologists – working with mental disorders can pass information to each other.
It is also important for researchers in the health sciences in general and in mental health, since it favors the establishment of clear criteria for categorization and ensures a consistent diagnosis.
On the other hand, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the use of the international system called ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases), which is used worldwide.
These organizations (regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with the diagnostic labeling of patients or that they are directed to the symptomatic patient, leaving aside the context or system to which it belongs) have their beginnings in the 19th and 20th century.
French, English and Italian physicians created symptom classifications and at the same time had to create care programs, hospitals, medical-psychological theories, etc. to respond to the problem posed by mental alienation. It was also at this time that the most representative figure of German psychiatry was born: Emil Kraepelin.
Kraepelin (1855-1926) devoted himself to investigating, above all, the physiological aspects of mental illness: fevers, cranial trauma, etc. For him, a mentally ill person constituted a simple set of symptoms. In other words, he was deeply interested in humanity, but little in man.
This tendency of Kraepelin as a psychiatrist, today considered a defect, was the characteristic that helped him to create his nosology. He collected numerous clinical cases that not only discriminated the occurrence of the disease, but also the history prior to the illness and the reaction after hospitalization.
Therefore, this classification has been the beginning of the development of manuals that allow grouping by signs and symptoms of various mental disorders.
The risk of home diagnosisMany of the disorders classified in these manuals have been erroneously transferred to society. That is to say, pathologies of a certain magnitude have been distorted in their meaning, characteristics or distinctive signs and this leads to interpretative errors.
Let us look at an example of the risk involved in these interpretative errors:
When we label someone with a certain disorder, it is as if we put a sign on their forehead that says: “I am…” and attach the pathology to it.
It is feasible that the labeled person will believe in the category we have assigned to him/her, look for information – today, when everything is available on the Internet – and identify him/herself. This will be reinforced by the sight of his close circle, in which he is also identified with the sign that has been hung.
Thus, everything contributes to the confection of a self-fulfilling prophecy, making the classificatory assumption with which it has been labeled a reality. In addition, the categorical label is often reassuring; it is like finding the origin of the condition and saying: “Ahhhh, I know what I have!
Home diagnosis contributes to the distortion of the meaning, the characteristics of the disorders and their trivialization.
5 commonly trivialized disordersThere are so far, 5 disorders that have been trivialized by the common people, misrepresenting their true meaning. In many cases, they have even been given the category simply because of one of the characteristics of the disorder.
These disorders are: depression, stress, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and bipolar disorder.
Depression в‰ sadness or anguishDepressive disorders are severe pathologies, in which feelings of anguish and anxiety invade the person. Feelings of uncertainty and lack of project, narrowness of the future, helplessness, lack of energy and motivation in almost all areas of life, low self-esteem, decay in numerous psychic functions, feelings of failure and frustration appear.
Often, depressed patients are so listless that they are unable to face the day, find it difficult to get up, bathe, eat, have sex, and may even express that they no longer have the desire to live.
We must remember that anguish and sadness are natural emotions that can arise in a person reactively by a death, a problem, migration, moving or any vital crisis and that allow an introspection, reflection with a view to growth.
What happens is that when a person is distressed or sad, some people are quick to say that he or she is “depressed”. This is not always the case.
Stress # tiredness or irritabilityStress is one of the most serious pathologies of our time. It is an effector key that can initiate and sustain both organic and mental pathology. From a cold to cancer, that is to say, the spectrum is very wide.
Stress is the general adaptation syndrome, the attempts of our organism to remain balanced in a context populated by multiple disruptive stimuli.
The problem occurs when we are permanently harassed by one or more stimuli that tend to unbalance us and our organism is hyperexigent to continue supporting such a threat to stability.
Enduring a systematized crisis in our life creates symptomatic effects that seek to curb a series of behaviors typical of stress such as: irritability, catastrophic ideas, intolerance, anguish, anxiety, aggressiveness, nausea, palpitations, bruxism, compulsive eating, negative thoughts, etc.
Because of the number of symptoms (organic, cognitive, emotional) involved, stress has become a big bag of indiscriminate cats, in which isolated symptoms or behaviors are placed, without the corresponding analysis of whether there are stressors in the person’s life, if there are systematized crisis determining situations. It is very easy to label as stress what we do not know.
Panic disorder в‰ fears, choking, palpitationsAnxiety disorders, in general panic attacks and agoraphobia have multiplied in the last 10 years. It is as if these symptoms, from a psychosocial perspective, were trying to pathologically slow down the hyperdynamic rhythm to which society subjects us.
Thirty years ago, the person would trigger a series of symptoms such as choking, dizziness, nausea, tachycardia, sweating and tingling in the extremities together with an immense fear of dying and there was no category where this disorder was placed, plunging the patient into great uncertainty. Today, the reverse is true.
Today, a person may experience isolated symptoms and identify them as “panic attacks”. Then, the label is placed: “Oh, yes, I felt a panic attack”, when in fact, he/she did not experience one.
A panic attack can only be diagnosed when at least 4 of the 13 symptoms described in the psychopathological picture are present.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) в‰ detailing or ritualismOCD is a disorder characterized by high anxiety and compulsive behaviors where the person cannot restrain himself from performing certain acts that he repeats without restraint.
To counteract them, he may develop ritualistic behaviors imbued with magical thinking, which he may also perform them to inhibit situations that he believes may happen if he does not develop those rituals. In addition, he/she may have meticulous and extreme hygiene behaviors for fear of diseases, contamination, contagion, etc.
He/she has intrusive thoughts that he/she cannot control, mental ruminations that he/she tries to stop with rituals or hygiene behaviors. In short, a whole intertwining of behaviors and ideas that make him desperate and increase even more his anxiety and generate a deep suffering and anguish.
However, there are those who consider that when isolated behaviors of cleanliness or extreme neatness appear in a person “has an OCD” or is an “obsessive”. And this happens because, sometimes, the cabals or rituals that all human beings have in some subjects are confused with ritualistic behaviors typical of the disorder.
Bipolar disorder в‰ mood swingsBipolar disorder is a serious pathology in which people who suffer from it experience unusual mood swings; that is, they go from being very happy, dynamic and active to feeling extremely sad, without project, clearly depressive. It is a cyclical disease in which one goes through these states over and over again.
There may be gaps of normal moods between one cycle and another. However, in the most severe forms, one goes in and out, from cycle to cycle. Periods of euphoria are called “manic” and periods of sadness are called “depressive”.
In the former, there are a series of characteristic behaviors, for example, excitement and nervousness, rapid successive and simultaneous thoughts, permanent tension, irritability, insomnia, compulsive spending of money.
While in depression, there is sadness, anguish, bad mood, loss of interest and listlessness, desire to sleep and not get out of bed, insomnia, sluggishness, tiredness, lack of concentration, suicidal thoughts.
Therefore, we must be careful when -very lightly and without any scientific support- a change of mood, of any person, is diagnosed and labeled as “bipolar”.
Human beings are not linear. We are subjected to a changing environment to which we must constantly adapt, therefore, this implies mood changes, sometimes gradual and sometimes abrupt. Therefore, a person is not “bipolar” just because he or she has experienced an abrupt mood change.
ConclusionDiagnoses should only be performed by health professionals. Those who do not have scientific support and experience, please abstain. There is no need to rush to label behaviors and categorize them as mental disorders.
Labels do no good, since they fall like a blow to the individual and end up constructing the personality as a self-fulfilling prophecy or disrespecting serious pathologies by placing the title when the characteristics of the person do not form the complete picture.
It is not in our hands to label or label the behaviors of others if we are not experts in the field.
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