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You are all diseased!
September 11, 2005 6:56 PM   Subscribe

The list is impressive. According to psychiatrists, society suffers from a number of mental disorders. Asperger Syndrome. ADHD. OCD. Bi-Polar Disorder. PTSD. Anorexia. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many here that the average person could probably find at least 3-4 in their immediate family. Perhaps all these ills are the real pandora's box, although Borderline Personality maks the others seem mild.

So the question is, what's your dysfunction?
posted by mystyk (93 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I write this with some unfortunate real life experience. My father and I have ADHD. My nieces, sister, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother [have/had] clear dysfunctional level OCD. My mother and sister have Bi-Polar. My (other) grandmother and my sister have Panic Disorder. My sister had Anorexia, and we believe her to have Borderline Personality. My father wants me to get looked at for possible PTSD (I prefer calling it shell-shock).If any of that sounds confusing, I have only one sibling, and the OCD traces a clear line down the women in our family.
posted by mystyk at 6:57 PM on September 11, 2005


This feels like a candidate for ask.mefi, sorta.
posted by mecran01 at 6:58 PM on September 11, 2005


Paranoid: Low
Avoidant: High
Dependent: High

According to that test, anyway. Don't know how much stock to place in it, but it certainly doesn't sound good.

Does it? I mean, is that normal? Surely it isn't. I suppose I could go and see a doctor about it, but, really, I don't trust those quacks. You never know what they'll do.

Hey! Don't leave! I love you!

(sobs)
posted by Jon Mitchell at 7:08 PM on September 11, 2005


If I didn't have a borderline personality before that link, I think I might now.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:10 PM on September 11, 2005


I scored low on everything, pleasantly enough. Then I took the test pretending to be my former boss, though, and scored off the charts on histrionic and narcissistic. Which explains a hell of a lot.
posted by scody at 7:11 PM on September 11, 2005


I scored low or moderate on all of the aspects of the test. Having said that, I do suffer from ED-NOS, but that is the extent of the psychological illnesses I know myself to have.

As far as family, my brother and father both have ADD. My father and aunt are Bipolar. My sister is clinically depressed, and depression runs in my family.

Psychology is fun!
posted by nonmerci at 7:15 PM on September 11, 2005


I love taking that test pretending to be others, scody. I'm sure it's not very accurate, but at least gives a clear picture as to what we *think* the people we know have (which is maybe good enough).
posted by nonmerci at 7:16 PM on September 11, 2005


The possibility that i am "schizotypal" was "high". What is "schizotypal"? Should i be worried? Oh crap, I think i am having a panic attack...
posted by cusack at 7:16 PM on September 11, 2005


Schizotypal: Very High
Antisocial: High
Narcissistic: High
Avoidant: High

Awesome.
posted by Jimbob at 7:18 PM on September 11, 2005


Histrionic: High
Narcissistic: High

Obviously it's flawed. I'm perfect, frankly. *shreds tissues*
posted by malpractice at 7:19 PM on September 11, 2005


Everyone's crazy. Psychiatry is a great way to make money.
posted by blacklite at 7:23 PM on September 11, 2005


It does seem like psychiatrists like to liable things 'diseases' or 'disorders' that seem more like 'personality traits' to me, but that's just so they can proscribe drugs for it.

You can't be like "you're an asshole, have some Prozac" you've got to be all "narcissistic personality disorder."

But anyway, people just need more antidepressants

:)

(better this then we all become scientologists, as far as I'm concerned)
posted by delmoi at 7:25 PM on September 11, 2005


I scored low on everything, pleasantly enough.

The one thing these internet tests always fail to determine is if you're a compulsive liar.
posted by Jimbob at 7:26 PM on September 11, 2005


Psychiatry is fun, in part because you can find at least one matching disorder for just about anybody. I thought people might get some fun out of that last link (didn't want the post to be too depressing...oh, there's another disorder!).

Now I'm gonna go talk to the doc and have him diagnose me a prescription for codeine. Just because. ;)
posted by mystyk at 7:26 PM on September 11, 2005


This fucking thing told me I'm a Narcissist, which is bullshit. I'm too perfect to be flawed like that.
posted by dobbs at 7:27 PM on September 11, 2005


schizoid: moderate
schizotypal: moderate
narcissism: moderate

(this is from memory, I may have gotten the exact terms wrong)

all else low. I don't put much stock in this. The questions were phrased very poorly -- "do others see you as..." I mean, how the fuck would I know, especially if I'm out of my gourd.
posted by TonyRobots at 7:29 PM on September 11, 2005


Histrionic: High
Avoidant: High
Dependent: High

Jeez. Could be accurate, but these yes/no tests force you to choose a black & white answer for some pretty gray situations. This test needs a "sometimes" button.
posted by zardoz at 7:29 PM on September 11, 2005


I don't have the patience for thi
posted by longsleeves at 7:32 PM on September 11, 2005


What is your major malfunction, numb-nuts?
posted by Pretty_Generic at 7:33 PM on September 11, 2005


It does seem like psychiatrists like to liable things 'diseases' or 'disorders' that seem more like 'personality traits' to me, but that's just so they can proscribe drugs for it.

Quite the opposite (at least for the personality disorders). The general psychiatric consensus is that personality disorders are largely untreatable. For some PDs (e.g., borderline), medication is effective at relieving related symptoms (e.g., to reduce depression, anxiety, etc.), but in general, the efficacy of drug treatment for PDs pales in comparison to the spectacular successes with disorders such as ADHD, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder.
posted by heavy water at 7:33 PM on September 11, 2005


Malpractice I also got High on both Histrionic and Narcissistic. But how could I be such an asshole if everyone loves me?

But seriously, only a narcissistic histrionic would have the balls to consider themselves truly sane!
posted by delmoi at 7:36 PM on September 11, 2005


I love that right after you take the test and it tells you how you're crazy, one of the next step options it gives you is to search Yahoo personals.
posted by duck at 7:41 PM on September 11, 2005


what's your dysfunction?

You forgot to say "Conjunction Junction" first.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:45 PM on September 11, 2005


That's odd. I was given a high rating on a few things and given a phone number to urgently call.

silly, silly test.
posted by fluffycreature at 7:47 PM on September 11, 2005


i'm with you mystyk. crack out your dsm-iv and find a personality disorder which matches your current needs and mood.

i think some of these disorders can also double as a great excuse for continuing to behave and think in ways one sees fit - firstly because the naming implies some validation, and secondly because there are mercifully few effective meds for personality disorders - by which i mean narcissistic, schizotypal, antisocial, avoidant, and sociopathic disorders, not ad(h)d, asperger's, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar, etc.
posted by soi-disant at 7:53 PM on September 11, 2005


How can you possibly pathologize something 20% of the population has?!
posted by phrontist at 7:55 PM on September 11, 2005


Hmmm. I scored "low" on everything.

Do you think that would have something to do with my persistent vegetative state?
posted by Jon-o at 7:59 PM on September 11, 2005


How can you possibly pathologize something 20% of the population has?!

Well, 25% of the population has genital herpes, but presumably we can still pathologize herpes. The criteria for personality disorder are in large part functional: if your personality is causing you or the people around you great distress, it's pathological. It doesn't seem unreasonable to think that 1 in about 6 people (20% is a bit high; most estimates of prevalence are in the 12-15% range) have personalities that make them extremely unhappy or difficult to get along with.
posted by heavy water at 8:03 PM on September 11, 2005


Low on everything except Obsessive-Compulsive, Avoidant, Histrionic, and Schizotypal, which were all moderate.

Given my family history, that's actually really pleasantly surprising. I'll cop to a fair amount of social anxiety (the "avoidant" reading), though.
posted by BoringPostcards at 8:04 PM on September 11, 2005


Paranoid: High
Schizotypal: High
Borderline: Very High
Histrionic: High
Avoidant: Very High
Dependent: High

Eek! Everything else I either scored moderate or low for, and I was being honest as I could. (no, really!) The avoidant thing threw me though, because under "symptoms" it described pretty much exactly what I've been feeling/going through lately.

I know I shouldn't take this too seriously, but I think I'll check out some of the books listed on the site.

Still, fun! I'm going to take the test as my little brother now.
posted by kosher_jenny at 8:07 PM on September 11, 2005


Paranoid: High
Schizoid: Very High
Schizotypal: High
Antisocial: High
Borderline: Very High
Histrionic: High
Narcissistic: High
Avoidant: High
Dependent: High
Obsessive-Compulsive: High

Now where did I put that lithium?
posted by Wet Spot at 8:09 PM on September 11, 2005


That is the reason I agreed to put my wife through college for a Masters in Counseling. She can work til shes not interested in working any longer, AND she promised to buy me a boat for my birthday. Besides, how tough can it be to just sit and listen to a crazoid running off about how screwed up there mother was?
posted by garficher at 8:11 PM on September 11, 2005


I'd wager more than 80% of psychiatry is a crock.
1. Develop new drug
2. Label some personality trait in the population as a disorder this drug "treats"
3. ...
4. Profit!
posted by nightchrome at 8:13 PM on September 11, 2005


In the realm of psychiatry, it can be trimmed a bit...

1. Profit!
2. ???
3. Profit!
...

There doesn't even need to be any other kind of step.
posted by mystyk at 8:16 PM on September 11, 2005


Everybody wants to be a victim. It's a lot easier than being in control of your life.
posted by nightchrome at 8:19 PM on September 11, 2005


[raises hand for aspergers syndrome -- clinically diagnosed]

The thing is there is no drug for this and none has ever been proposed to me. There's no pharmaceutical bandwagon. However untangling this has significantly helped my marriage and given me a new understanding of my childhood eccentricities.
posted by rolypolyman at 8:23 PM on September 11, 2005


25% of the population has genital herpes

Really?! Damn.
posted by nervousfritz at 8:31 PM on September 11, 2005


I was ok until November 18, 2004.
posted by Cranberry at 8:47 PM on September 11, 2005 [1 favorite]


Having taken the test exactly 50 times, rereading each question five times, I still have doubts about this "obsessive-compulsive" diagnosis.
posted by thatweirdguy2 at 8:54 PM on September 11, 2005


heavy water: if your personality is causing you or the people around you great distress, it's pathological.

Maybe they're all just wrong, huh?

Besides, can someone tell me how this is a disorder? If you don't want to hang out with other people and you're happy not to, why is it a problem for anyone who isn't a busybody?

(Why, yes, I did score High on that. But believe me, I have no problem expressing anger. I am also a histrionic narcissist--sweet!)
posted by dame at 8:55 PM on September 11, 2005


Oh, and that reminds me: how can I be something that both doesn't respond to praise and sometheing that desperately needs praise?
posted by dame at 8:57 PM on September 11, 2005


Apparently I'm Narcissistic. But then, you probably all knew that since you clearly spend all your time analyzing me.

I also scored moderate on all my family's usual dysfunctions - schizoid, schizotypal, paranoid, antisocial, etc. But I figure hey, if I'm only moderate on those scales, that puts me way behind all the relatives we've had stashed in asylums around the country, so I'm probably okay.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:58 PM on September 11, 2005


I'm Bipolar type II, and now I'm going to take the test.

Yep, the only one I scored Low on was Paranoid. But that's only because they manipulated the results.
posted by kika at 9:24 PM on September 11, 2005


Well, going by that at least I'm not so Schizoid, Borderline or Antisocial anymore.

And kosjer jenny, you sound a lot like my type. Ever seen Kentucky?

And heavy water, I do NOT have a personality that makes me extremely unhappy or difficult to get along with. And if you keep spreading rumors about me like that I'll drown myself in a teacup and you'll be very sorry, you Illuminatus from Mars!
posted by davy at 9:36 PM on September 11, 2005


Qualifying the effectiveness of psychiatry or a psychological metric from an Internet quiz that, at least on the side, also offers books for sale, is like deciding that Mozart sucks after only hearing it on a transistor radio. I hate these things! Hate them. And now I must kill you.
posted by johnj at 9:40 PM on September 11, 2005


Borderline: Very High
Histrionic: High
Narcissistic: High
Avoidant: High

Though the prefered, socially-correct term for me is Drama Queen.
posted by Tomatillo at 9:56 PM on September 11, 2005


I have avoidant traits. I diagnosed myself, but a couple of shrinks agreed with me ("So since I did your job for you, can you knock off a couple bucks off the bill?").

Borderline women scare the shit out of me. I had a BPD girlfriend, and it was no picnic. Whenever you encounter someone (particularly a woman) that you want to strangle half the time and feel very sorry for the rest of the time, odds are she's borderline. It's psychiatric jargon for "bitch".

The other day I was at the county hospital picking up a prescription for my girlfriend, and this provocatively-dressed 40ish woman in line was very obviously borderline. She got into an argument with the pharmacist before she even got to the window (she was yelling at them to open more windows), she was trying to carry on conversations with other people but everyone was giving her a wide berth, so she ended up sort of talking to herself. When the pharmacist finally called her up to the window it became apparent that she was trying to fill a prescription from a private doctor at the county pharmacy so she wouldn't have to pay for it. When they informed her they couldn't do that she got very irate. Then she noticed someone had left their sunglasses on the counter, and she joked (again to no one in particular) that she should just "take" them. This other woman waiting for her rx told her to go ahead and take them, and she did! Just slipped them in her purse. After arguing with the pharmacist and being so rude, she changed tactics and tried to sweet talk him into filling her rx anyway. He obviously refused, and she called him a "fucking faggot" and stormed off. The pharmacist must have been very used to dealing with her type, because he showed no emotion during her tirade. When I got to the window I said to him: "Aren't personality disorders fun?"

He shrugged his shoulders and said: "Borderline. You just ignore them and hope they go away."
posted by Devils Slide at 10:20 PM on September 11, 2005 [2 favorites]


And kosjer jenny, you sound a lot like my type. Ever seen Kentucky?

Can't say that I have. Just hide any pet rabbits you might have.

On preview:

...odds are she's borderline. It's psychiatric jargon for "bitch".

:'(

(although I've never acted anything close to that woman you described, Devils Slide. I try to avoid confrontation at all costs, even on the internets.)
posted by kosher_jenny at 10:24 PM on September 11, 2005


Online psychology tests are about as useful as online IQ tests - not at all.

Most people who work in mental health aren't much better. I've been to ten psychiatrists and eight psychologists - two of each were actually genuinely useful and managed to help me significantly. Between the pill-pushers, the crazies (a lot of people who work in mental health started down that road because they wanted to figure out their own problems), those who want to pathologize everything and the outright fuckups there are a whole hell of a lot of idiots with a doctorates to dodge out there.

To make matters worse, if the psychiatrists weren't bad enough, the pharmaceutical companies are even worse - the recent rise in publicity about bipolar disorder is entirely due to a concerted effort on the part of the drug companies to raise awareness of it and generalize the symptomology of it. Why is this happening? Because the patents on depression medications (SSRIs) are running out and the drug companies need to create another catch-all pathology for people who honestly just can't deal. To that end, they've been shoving more and more bipolar medications - or snake oil at psychiatrists, who are in turn pushing the diagnosis and the pills on their patients.

The new 'bipolar type 3' aka 'bipolar lite' classification is the perfect example of this. The difference between it and the classic manic depression could not be more pronounced. Speaking as someone with severe rapid-cycling type 1, I've really enjoyed watching my disorder sink into meaninglessness, getting prescriptions for the above snake oil (and paying $150/mo for it while a college student), and getting idiotic treatment planning by the many incompetent and/or misinformed mental health workers out there.

When is something an actual mental illness? When your thoughts, behavior, or emotion are absolutely destroying your life and despite giving it 110% effort you are completely unable to control it or stop it. Not before.
posted by Ryvar at 10:26 PM on September 11, 2005 [1 favorite]


My analyst told me (what?) that I was right out of my head
the way he described it (how?) he said I'd be better dead than live
I didn't listen to his jive
I knew all along he was all wrong and I knew that he thought (what?) I was crazy but I'm not (oh no oh no oh no)

posted by moonbird at 10:39 PM on September 11, 2005


but in general, the efficacy of drug treatment for PDs pales in comparison to the spectacular successes with disorders such as ADHD, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder.

There has never been anything remotely spectacular or even successful in the treatment of Bipolar. Medications used to treat the symptoms of Bipolar for the most part,
were developed to treat other problems (such as seizures,
for example) and by accident were discovered to have some benefit for BP. There is no one drug or mix of drugs that consistantly or effectively controls the symptoms.
Drugs that work initially often stop working after a while.
Having BP means spending a good deal of time switching from one medication to another and waiting to see if they will work. Most people with Bipolar spend their lives never
being symptom free or totally stabilized. The medications used to treat it have horrible side effects and usually cause
personality changes/impaired thinking, etc. Not to mention the obligatory weight gain and incessant trembling, nausea, diahrrea, headaches. Or the liver and kidney damage.


mercifully few effective meds for personality disorders - by which i mean narcissistic, schizotypal, antisocial, avoidant, and sociopathic disorders, not ad(h)d, asperger's, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar, etc.

What's so merciful about it? Having any one of these disorders is hell. Some are even worse than hell.
posted by bat at 10:42 PM on September 11, 2005


I have doubts about the validity of this test. For example, the last time I took it was several years ago and I pegged the needle on paranoid. This was because of a workplace environment that I had accurately evaluated, not for any other reason. The workplace may have had a personality disorder; I didn't.

Personality disorders are things that stick around for decades and color a person's entire life experience. This test provides a tiny little snapshot of a single moment and tries to cram the results into a framework that wasn't designed to accommodate that viewpoint.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:47 PM on September 11, 2005


Why does it seem like every other post in this thread was written by Tom Cruise?…

N.B. IANAApologistForThePsychiatricIndustry
posted by al_fresco at 10:48 PM on September 11, 2005


bat: you seem remarkably uninformed about recent bipolar medications, although many of them are still created with other disorders in mind. Depakote, Trileptal, and Lamictal all have very few side effects and are wonderfully effective. Abilify and Geoden - anti-psychotics often used for certain types of BP both have beneficial side effects (weight loss) and incidences of any negative side effects are practically nil. Most importantly the lack of tardive dyskinesia.

Traditionally the constant cycling of mania/depression for rapid-cyclers has made them nearly impossible to treat because over any significant timeline they're functionally dysphoric. Depakote irons out many rapid-cyclers (including yours truly) making normal treatments possible. Lamictal in particular is giving a lot of severe cases their lives back.

The best part about the above five is that there is little to no cognitive impairment that has traditionally accompanied bipolar medications. Everything I've said above holds true, but the one real benefit to severe bipolars with the rise of awareness is that drug companies are churning out some real diamonds in the rough these days, chemically speaking.
posted by Ryvar at 10:58 PM on September 11, 2005


Why does it seem like every other post in this thread was written by Tom Cruise?…

Possibly because they are written by cretins or insensitive
bigots? Self-righteous bags of flatulence? Ignorant clods?
posted by bat at 10:58 PM on September 11, 2005


al_fresco, you need vitamins! You don't know about the history of psychiatry, and I do!!
posted by scody at 11:01 PM on September 11, 2005


Why does it seem like every other post in this thread was written by Tom Cruise?…

oops… that was supposed to be humor, not flame bait.
posted by al_fresco at 11:01 PM on September 11, 2005


al: the reason it sounds like that is because while psychiatry may be based upon a sound premise - chemical imbalances having a profound and often negative effect on one's decision-making abilities and quality of life - the industry built up around it is a colossal joke. Or would be if the results weren't so sad. Between the inherent corruptness of the pharmaceutical industry and the indifference and/or incompetence of those writing the prescriptions it's a miracle that anybody sees results.

Doctors are still prescribing Paxil, for God's sake. My wife moderates an online support group for bipolars and clinical depressives with 15,000 members - she could probably show you hundreds of people who have been permanently damaged by Paxil. I've had three friends in real life who were all changed permanently for the worse - one severely in a negative manner, cognitively speaking - by Paxil.

The Scientologists are as idiotic when it comes to psychiatry as they are about everything, but that doesn't mean that the American mental health industry isn't deeply, deeply fucked up.
posted by Ryvar at 11:17 PM on September 11, 2005 [1 favorite]


Ryvar: I agree, re: the psych industry and the Scientologists. My joke was as shallow as that test…
posted by al_fresco at 11:24 PM on September 11, 2005


And I wasn't flaming: some of these posts were written
by those I described above. Flaming would have been
my mentioning them by name.
posted by bat at 11:27 PM on September 11, 2005


I like to leave pubes on all the cans of Canada Dry in the hotel convinence fridge.
posted by wfrgms at 11:38 PM on September 11, 2005


Online psychology tests are about as useful as online IQ tests - not at all.

Depends entirely on the test. It's true that the vast majority of online tests are garbage (including the one linked); but one can certainly find free high-quality tests with adequate reliability and validity (e.g., the IPIP representation of the NEO-PI-R).

When is something an actual mental illness? When your thoughts, behavior, or emotion are absolutely destroying your life and despite giving it 110% effort you are completely unable to control it or stop it. Not before.

Why? It seem pretty silly to turn away people who are only moderately unhappy on grounds that their life is not currently being destroyed. If you have a drug that can improve quality of life in a wide range of people, why deny it to them?

the industry built up around it is a colossal joke. Or would be if the results weren't so sad. Between the inherent corruptness of the pharmaceutical industry and the indifference and/or incompetence of those writing the prescriptions it's a miracle that anybody sees results.

I think you grossly underestimate the complexities involved in dealing with mental health disorders (surprisingly, since you suffer from one). As you noted yourself, a lot of 'treatment' is just trial and error; and it's that way out of necessity. The brain is exponentially more complex than the liver; there is no litmus test for ADHD, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia the way that there is for Hepatitis. There are certainly established treatment guidelines for many disorders, but psychiatry is very far from the level of diagnostic accuracy most other doctors have available to them. While there are certainly incompetent psychiatrists out there (just as there are in every other profession), it's patently ridiculous to characterize the field as a whole that way. Psychiatrists have to deal on a regular basis with a level of complexity and uncertainty that most other doctors are rarely confronted with.

Doctors are still prescribing Paxil, for God's sake. My wife moderates an online support group for bipolars and clinical depressives with 15,000 members - she could probably show you hundreds of people who have been permanently damaged by Paxil.

Doubtful. At best she might be able to procure several hundred people who claim to have been permanently damaged by Paxil. But people's introspective conclusions are no substitute for double-blind randomized placebo-controlled studies. Paxil's side effect profile is not substantially different from any SSRI, and is pretty good overall. Doctors keep prescribing Paxil because, frankly, it works.
posted by heavy water at 11:43 PM on September 11, 2005


bat - having family and close friends who have been diagnosed as being adhd, bipolar and schizophrenic, i concur they can be absolutely fucking hellish.

i was talking about the former group of 'disorders' though. i didn't mean to offend of be insensitive. your experiences may have been totally different.

a few years ago my thoughts and actions satisfied almost all the dsm-iv criteria for sociopathy, which i think is now lumped under antisocial personality disorder. it's incredibly satisfying to do whatever you want and be utterly guiltless and remorseless about it - but it wore thin on the people i realised i really cared about.

in this test i rated high on the schizotypal scale. my speech and thought patterns have been known to confuse people. i dress and act oddly. i'm not paranoid or particularly anxious, but a lot of social situations leave me withdrawn and aloof. i like odd (magical) thinking. but this is who i am right now. these are considered parts of my psyche. i enjoy my mind. if i didn't i'd change it.

i just despair of the majority of modern psychology and psychiatry. they're attempting to thread a needle with a brick.
posted by soi-disant at 11:44 PM on September 11, 2005


Depends entirely on the test. It's true that the vast majority of online tests are garbage (including the one linked); but one can certainly find free high-quality tests with adequate reliability and validity (e.g., the IPIP representation of the NEO-PI-R).

If you've seen any studies that demonstrate a high correlation of diagnosis by multiple doctors and a given online psychiatry test, I'd be very interested in seeing it.

Why? It seem pretty silly to turn away people who are only moderately unhappy on grounds that their life is not currently being destroyed. If you have a drug that can improve quality of life in a wide range of people, why deny it to them?

One has to attempt to draw the line somewhere, clearly, or we'll end up with every single emotional bump and bruise in life being treated with a drug. Adversity is not a uniformly bad thing. There's a difference between an immature teenager learning to cope with the emotions that will eventually result in adulthood, and someone with triple the usual number of serotonin receptors on their thalamus.

Overmedication can result in personal stagnation.

I think you grossly underestimate the complexities involved in dealing with mental health disorders (surprisingly, since you suffer from one). As you noted yourself, a lot of 'treatment' is just trial and error; and it's that way out of necessity. The brain is exponentially more complex than the liver; there is no litmus test for ADHD, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia the way that there is for Hepatitis. There are certainly established treatment guidelines for many disorders, but psychiatry is very far from the level of diagnostic accuracy most other doctors have available to them. While there are certainly incompetent psychiatrists out there (just as there are in every other profession), it's patently ridiculous to characterize the field as a whole that way. Psychiatrists have to deal on a regular basis with a level of complexity and uncertainty that most other doctors are rarely confronted with.

I in no way deny the incredible difficulty of treating mental disorders, and at no point in this thread have I ever suggested it was easy. I have a significant amount of knowledge of the complexity of the brain both at the chemical level and at the representational level (programming neural networks in college). What I said, specifically, was that many psychiatrists are indifferent and or incompetent, and I stand by that. Three of my ten psychiatrists gave me one half hour or hour introductory session and every appointment thereafter was ten minutes or less. They wrote me a prescription and then kicked me out. I have no respect for pill-pushers.

The kind that really scare me, however, are the incompetent ones. Of those ten, five of them either had little knowledge of recent bipolar medication, or none whatsoever. Despite significant advancements in the last five years, one of my doctors absolutely refused to write a prescription for anything that had been on the market for less than ten years. A couple had never even heard of some of the drugs I named, suggesting that they hadn't even been reading recent medical literature. How in the hell are these people allowed to practice medicine, I ask you?

My anecdotal evidence - and the anecdotal evidence of my friends and the thousands of people my wife and I have talked to online - does not an industry-spanning statistic make, but the picture my experiences have painted thus far is both terrifying and tragic.

Doubtful. At best she might be able to procure several hundred people who claim to have been permanently damaged by Paxil. But people's introspective conclusions are no substitute for double-blind randomized placebo-controlled studies. Paxil's side effect profile is not substantially different from any SSRI, and is pretty good overall. Doctors keep prescribing Paxil because, frankly, it works.

Again, anecdotal evidence does not a statistic make, but the never-ending stream of Paxil horror stories is undeniable, and I've seen very few such about Prozac, Celexa and the like.
posted by Ryvar at 12:16 AM on September 12, 2005


consciousness is a mental illness, period.
posted by Satapher at 12:48 AM on September 12, 2005


dear brooke shields,

id feel fucking great too if i had a little amphetamine to tide me over everyday
posted by Satapher at 12:50 AM on September 12, 2005


The U.S. is one of the most mentally ill countries. I've thought recently, the mental illness rate could be the best indicator of a country's society and support network.
posted by abcde at 1:27 AM on September 12, 2005


Well, I'm Highly Avoidant. Like I needed a test f.... Is that a bunny? C'mere, you sweet lil' bunny! Nibble these bills for me okay? They're made out of lettuce!
posted by maryh at 1:28 AM on September 12, 2005


I don't need to take a test to know that I'm already fucked in the head. Hooray!
posted by sjvilla79 at 1:29 AM on September 12, 2005


Paranoid: Low
This one sort of surprised me; I tend to feel I'm more paranoid than it seems, but maybe it's a manifestation of the whole "avoidant" thing. Or somethin', I don't know.

Histrionic: Moderate
Narcissistic: Moderate
These two also sort of surprised me, although reading the descriptions, I don't think they really particularly apply to me. (But perhaps that's kind of the point...)

Dependent: Moderate
Avoidant: High
Obsessive-Compulsive: High

These three, however, are pretty much "duh!"s. Particularly since a doctor even told me I had a mild case of OCD. So, yeah.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 1:50 AM on September 12, 2005


Please for the love of pete, it's BIPOLAR not bi-polar.

For some reason the latter spelling enrages me whenever I see it.

Anyway, I am also a Bipolar type 2 (I suspect mefi is full of em) and Lamictal is the wonder drug as far as I am concerned. Let's just say it is the difference between Bunnyfire and Konolia.
posted by konolia at 4:21 AM on September 12, 2005


heavy water writes "spectacular successes with disorders such as ADHD, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder."

um, what? Everyone gets better on a little amphetamine, everyone does better on a test if you give them a little amphetamine. Schizophrenia has always followed the rule of thirds, and continues to: 1/3 have one psychotic epsiode and never have another, 1/3 have intermittent episodes with fairly high functioning in between, 1/3 have chronic episodes. The difference is that now everyone is on medication, but it isn't the meds that do it. And check out the rosy rates of hyperlipidemia and diabetes that go along with the atypicals. Same for bipolar meds. It isn't that they don't help, but 'spectacular successes' is far to optimistic a description.
posted by OmieWise at 5:30 AM on September 12, 2005


I'm just blown away at the amount of silly uninformed comments in this thread. That is, unless I am mistaking humor for seriousness. If I am, sorry. If I am not, wow.
posted by johnj at 5:41 AM on September 12, 2005


Scored Low on everything except Narcissistic- got "Moderate".
What? I have standards.
posted by exlotuseater at 6:07 AM on September 12, 2005


After some major life changes, I'm beginning to wonder how much depression and what I thought was bipolar disorder really came down to chronic underemployment and a lousy marriage.
posted by alumshubby at 6:34 AM on September 12, 2005


So the question is, what's your dysfunction?
posted by mystyk at 9:56 PM EST


Reading MetaFilter!
posted by nofundy at 7:21 AM on September 12, 2005


Low on everything except narcissism: moderate on that.

I guess that just shows how great I am. :-)
posted by Decani at 7:54 AM on September 12, 2005


Disorder | Rating
Paranoid: Moderate
Schizoid: Low
Schizotypal: Moderate
Antisocial: Moderate
Borderline: Low
Histrionic: High
Narcissistic: Low
Avoidant: Low
Dependent: Low
Obsessive-Compulsive: High

what's it all mean, maaan?
posted by jonmc at 8:29 AM on September 12, 2005


I think the skepticism people feel about mental illness stems from the fact that everyone's got some of the characteristics associated with one or more of them. I've definitely got some obsessive-compulsive tendencies, for instance, and a good friend of mine tends towards the histrionic. Everyone's experienced some depression. This is different from physiological illnesses--no one's got a little bit of hepatitis or congestive heart failure, and no one's got a little cancer every once in a while.

So when does a mental state experienced by everyone from time to time become pathological? According to current diagnostic criteria (and, if I may editorialize, common sense), it becomes a pathology when it interferes with a person's daily functioning. Sure, I've got some OCD tendencies, but I can leave my house every morning without counting all my napkins or flipping the light switch fifty times. Were my OCD tendencies making it impossible for me do that, or to work, or create successful relationships with others, it would be pathological.

Another part of mental illness is whether or not the person suffering from these symptoms sees it as a problem. We might laugh here about how we score very high as schizotypal on some internet quiz, but all the people I've met who are actually suffering from schizotypal personality disorder are fucking miserable and wish to God that someone could help them.

(In the interest of full disclosure: I am not a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker. I am very nearly a nurse, though, and I speak from experiences I had as a student nurse at McLean Hospital.)
posted by jesourie at 9:03 AM on September 12, 2005


What's your dysfunction?

Asperger's.
posted by wadefranklin at 9:04 AM on September 12, 2005


schizotypal: moderate
narcissism: moderate
low on all the others. Has anyone explained what schizotypal means yet? I totally get the narcissism thing though (*checks self in mirror, preens*).
posted by Lynsey at 9:28 AM on September 12, 2005


I have the experience of 10+ years of unsuccessful treatment for Bipolar II until Lamictal came around. It's a gem. Ryvar and konolia are right.

Psychiatry isn't perfect. It may even be less perfect than other fields of medicine. But it's still far better than nothing.
posted by stiggywigget at 9:36 AM on September 12, 2005


I love that right after you take the test ... one of the next step options ... is to search Yahoo personals.

I'm on dialup, and as the result was loading, at first all I saw was "Find a Boyfriend." I thought that was the diagnosis, or the cure.
---

It's like one problem offsets the other in some cases. For instance, I guess because I'm such a High Narcissist it doesn't bother me that I'm Moderate Paranoid .

OTOH is it the High Histrionic in me that makes me more concerned that I scored Moderate Borderline and High(!) Schizotypal?

As I'm also High Dependent, I'd ask you. But my VERY HIGH Avoidant prevents me.

Seriously, do the borderline and schizotypal thingies bother me the most because those are the most "serious" or are the most stigmatized in our society.
Anyway, I partly answered this WRT how I was a few years ago. I'm trying to make progress in certain areas, though still lacking in others.

And yes, of course, the *test* is nuts because you know what they're going for, and because there isn't a "sometimes," gray area answer.

Online psychology tests are about as useful as online IQ tests - not at all.
You mean I don't have an IQ of 143?

Well, now I'm off to take the test again as GW Bush.
posted by NorthernLite at 10:44 AM on September 12, 2005


Paranoid: Low
Schizoid: Low
Schizotypal: Low
Antisocial: Moderate
Borderline: Low
Histrionic: Moderate
Narcissistic: High
Avoidant: Low
Dependent: Low
Obsessive-Compulsive: Moderate

That will teach me to be honest........
posted by bjgeiger at 11:21 AM on September 12, 2005


Lamictal in particular is giving a lot of severe cases their lives back.

Let me add to the chorus of voices praising Lamictal. Following a severe crisis in March, I was finally diagnosed as having Bipolar disorder. After absolutely refusing to take Risperdal (diabetes, anyone?), I saw a psychiatrist, carefully described my symptoms (emphasizing that depression has been a far more pervasive problem than mania), and he recommended Lamictal or lithium. Reluctant to go on lithium, I decided to give Lamictal a try. It has been nothing short of a godsend. My moods are far less volatile, and I finally feel like, at age 30 (!), I might be able to start living a normal life. (The only problem with Lamictal is that it's extremely expensive.)

Oh, incidentally:

Schitzotypal = High
Dependent = Very High

Schizoid, Borderline, Histrionic, Avoidant, Obsessive-Compulsive; = Moderate

Paranoid, Antisocial, Narcissistic; = Low

So, I'm fucked up, but at least I'm a nice person.
posted by spacewaitress at 12:23 PM on September 12, 2005


They told me that I have bipolar disorder.

I think the world just sucks and I'm not stupid enough to ignore that.
posted by ackeber at 12:55 PM on September 12, 2005


Is it really possible to self-diagnose such disorders? I would think many would squeue (sp?!) their answers in one direction or another.

I don't mean to be glib about some very serious funny things (I suffer from mild depression). But is it intetional that the "New" icons on this page look like rotating pills? That's a bit much.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:46 PM on September 12, 2005


skew
posted by OmieWise at 1:53 PM on September 12, 2005


thanks. that's the other disorder I have: spelling disorder....
posted by ParisParamus at 1:54 PM on September 12, 2005


Oh, I meant to say that the test is certainly not reliable or valid in any way.
posted by OmieWise at 1:54 PM on September 12, 2005


Now, there's a couple things you can do:

E-mail a friend about this test! Everyone has a friend who might have a disorder. (Am I right?) The exact URL can be found at the bottom of this page.

-OR- Take the Cute Animal Quiz - Find out which cute animal you are


Paranoid: High
Schizoid: High
Schizotypal: High
Antisocial: Moderate
Borderline: Very High
Histrionic: Moderate
Narcissistic: High
Avoidant: Very High
Dependent: High
Obsessive-Compulsive: Moderate

So what do I win?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 4:42 PM on September 12, 2005


By the way, I agree that these online tests are crap. So are the tests they give you in psychologists' and psychiatrists' offices.

As for me, my diagnosis seems to change with each new shrink I have to see: e.g., at the Medicaid/HMO-accepting clinic in Baltimore they couldn't keep MDs longer than a few months, so it seemed like my diagnoses changed more often than the weather. Now they call me "Bipolar II"; 10 years ago was called Bipolar I, and in the past 20-odd years I've also been called everything from Dysthymic to Borderline to Paranoid Schizophrenic. (I gather many people think there's something wrong with my brain.)

I think it's a good thing I insisted on not changing my meds for every new shrink, but it's too bad I had to get stuck with Zoloft. That is, after I stopped the Loxitane because I was getting tardive dyskenesia and lithium and Buspar because they made my ears ring even worse. A few shrinks have tried to put me on Depakote, Lamictal and/or atypical antipsychotics, but I looked up those drugs' side-effects and went "No way!" Then the Zoloft quit working (except to start killing my sex drive, after a few years of doing nothing about sex but making me last forever), Lexapro wasn't much better, so now I'm on Wellbutrin -- though (reading back through my Metafilter history might be clue-providing here) this summer I had to cut my Wellbutrin dose in half because it was aggravating my "anger problem" and my chronic insomnia.

And now I need to try to get some sleep. G'night!
posted by davy at 10:57 PM on September 12, 2005


:'(

(although I've never acted anything close to that woman you described, Devils Slide. I try to avoid confrontation at all costs, even on the internets.)


I know this thread is dead, but hopefully you'll see this kosher_jenny (I could have e-mailed you privately but thought a public apology was more appropriate). What I said was pretty damn ignorant and insensitive. It would be like saying "avoidant is psychiatric jargon for hermit", or "clinically depressed is jargon for mopey".

Chalk it up to a momentary lapse in empathy and being reminded of my former gf (who did suffer major abuse as a child, but was a handful most of the time nonetheless). There are varying degrees of personailty disorders and the woman I described was obviously towards the high end of the spectrum.

Again, I'm sorry.
posted by Devils Slide at 9:10 PM on September 13, 2005


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