Pediatrician Hans Asperger is known worldwide for the syndrome he first diagnosed. The rest of his story – in Vienna during WWII – has only recently come to light: The Doctor and the Nazis
A new dystopian novel in the classic mode takes the form of a dictionary of madness. Sam Kriss reviews a recent book. [more inside]
“I don’t think you’re gay,” he said. He then went through the same litany as Dr. F.—he didn’t believe I was a pervert, he just felt I was lost and confused and needed to be set on the right path. Dr. K. believed in behavioral modification. He told me to place a rubber band around my wrist. Every time I had “gay thoughts,” I was to snap the rubber band, causing pain. Eventually I would associate the thoughts with the pain. - Gene Stone on growing up gay, struggling with sex, anti-gay conversion therapy, and the doctor-mandated sex surrogate that finally helped him.
National Institute of Mental Health director Thomas Insell reports that NIMH will phase out its reliance on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), in favor of a revamped psychiatric diagnostic system based on "genetics, imaging, cognitive science, and other levels of information to lay the foundation for a new classification system." [more inside]
On December 2, the American Psychiatric Association's board of trustees voted on the latest revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, to be published as the fifth edition (DSM-5) in May 2013. The results of the vote have not been released publicly, and some have questioned the limited press coverage of decisions that will affect people worldwide who receive psychiatric diagnoses. Dr. Allen Francis, chair of the DSM-IV revision committee, says that the board "has given its final approval to a deeply flawed DSM 5". (The title of this post is also drawn from this link.) [more inside]
Is Everyone on the Spectrum? "In the nineties, clinicians began reconceptualizing autism from a singular disorder to a cluster of related conditions on a spectrum of severity; as the criteria broadened to encompass less acutely impaired people—such as the more verbal group diagnosed with Asperger’s—prevalence rose dramatically. Before 1980, one in 2,000 children was thought to be autistic. By 2007, the Centers for Disease Control were reporting that one in 152 American children had an autism-spectrum disorder. Two years later, the CDC updated the ratio to one in 110. This past March, the CDC revised the number upward again, to one in 88 (one in 54, if you just count boys, who are five times as likely to have one as girls). A South Korean study from last year put the number even higher, at one in 38. And in New Jersey, according to the latest numbers, an improbable one in 29 boys is on the spectrum."
Being gay was considered a mental disorder by psychiatry - until 1973 - when the battle lines were drawn. Reporter Alix Spiegel continues the gripping story that spurred a radical rethink. It's the story of a closeted cartel of powerful, gay psychiatrists; of confrontations with angry activists; a shrink dressed in a Nixon mask, and a pivotal encounter in a Hawaiian bar. [more inside]
The epidemic of mental illness plaguing the Americans and the overmedication of psychiatric patients are in part artifacts of the diagnostic method. [more inside]
SciAm takes a look at the fine line between clinical pyschopaths and real-life superheroes. Related: Addicted to Being Good
At midnight tonight, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) released a proposed draft of the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). [more inside]
Dictionary of Disorder - shaping the DSM
David Stone Martin (Coralized link) is not very well known, but you've most likely seen his work on featured on various jazz records. Be sure to view all three pages of some amazing album covers. (The original site is on Geocities, please be gentle)
Coping with Asperger's Syndrome. The New York Times sheds light on this disorder that potentially affects millions of Americans. Many of them are bullied in school. Others simply have strange obsessions. Some find their niches in college, while others have to wait until mid-life to understand what is happening. However, it was only added to the DSM ten years ago. Since then, support groups and online resources have popped up.