Why that decision?

irrational

I have been listening to a most interesting book called  “Sway: the Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior.”

 

 

While talking about the many reasons why people make these kind of decisions he talks about the diagnosing of children with Bipolar Disorder. There was a tremendous rise in the diagnosis from 1993 to 2003. In 1993 there were 20,000 diagnosed with the problem and in 2003 there were 800,000. What happened?

To diagnose it before 1980 most doctors were expected to see someone admitted to the hospital with a manic episode .  The DMS III guide updated in 1980 added less severe symptoms for a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.  The new criteria includes feeling sad, tearful, fatigued, having insomnia, indecision, more talkative, distratibility, and inflated self esteem. Symptoms that are not uncommon in teens.

DSM

At the same time pharmaceutical companies were developing medications they wanted to sell that could be used for this diagnosis.

(He talks about the other reasons we might have seen a rise such as more people seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist and several other reasons that he is able to discard.)

His conclusion for the rise comes under the idea of diagnosis bias. First off the symptoms could be found in most teens and secondly the pharma companies were pushing for drug use.

Whether Ori and Rom Brafman (the authors) are right or not it is an interesting idea. It does make you wonder how many individuals were and are receiving diagnoses because of diagnosis bias. I am not as familiar with the idea in mental health care but I have certainly seen it work with physical symptoms.

There is no easy way to know if a mental illness diagnosis is correct. We certainly understand that once the person is labeled it would be difficult to erase it. As I have said before my physician was hesitant to use the diagnosis of anxiety for me due to the stigma attached. We want no stigma attached to a mental health diagnosis. Doctors also need to be careful about coming up with the right diagnosis.

We all need to rid ourselves of our own bias regarding labeling of any kind and work to reduce labeling due to mental health issues.

Here are some reasons why irrational decisions are made. Not just regarding bipolar disorder but any decision.

irrational-behaviour-list

I am enjoying this book which goes into many different ways that  irrational decisions are made in a wide spectrum of places. A good read.

Journey = Strength

I read most of the daily meditations from Richard Rohr. He talks a lot about contemplation or meditation. Those of us in the Western world don’t have a long history with meditation as a practice. We believe in action and our actions can be good but we don’t understand just letting ourselves reach for something beyond.

bt-contemplation

However, he feels that those who have lived lives with much struggle are better at reaching out for God/other. Anxiety, OCD, Bipolar, and depression are just some of the things that made us the way we are. The struggles have caused us to be more introspective and insightful as we meditate. Mental health issues make you question your thinking and wonder about how your mind functions.

The downside is that sometimes we are unable to quiet our minds long enough to reach any kind of meditative state. Learning to reach inside calmly and peacefully may not be possible at times.

life-learned-feelings-you-gain-strength-courage-and-confidence-by-27656423

Functioning with mental health problems does create an amazing strength and large toolbox of coping mechanisms. Know that your strength is the gift that the struggle brings and let yourself know how unique and powerful your journey has made you.

Intelligence: A blessing or a curse?

imaginationThere is some new information from several studies that is linking high intelligence with mental health issues. It seems that being extra smart sets you up for problems. One study said that the reason highly intelligent people have anxiety is because they can imagine more scenarios….see more bad outcomes….than the average person.

I don’t know if this is good news or bad. If you saw the movie “A Beautiful Mind” it was clear that his genius and his mental issues were connected. A recent blog http://eclipsedwords.com/2018/06/23/inspiration-from-the-mental-health-of-3-famous-leaders/ —talked about three famous people with mental health issues.

The blog talked about the depression experienced by Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt who was potentially bipolar, and Martin Luther King, Jr. who also had depression and attempted suicide as a child. Clearly three very extremely intelligent people.

With tongue-in-cheek I wondered if we are either not very smart and don’t suffer with mental illness or we are  extra smart and suffer. Some choice! I guess this is one of life’s little jokes.

naive

I guess we will have to see how this research turns out. Are we blessed or cursed? Who knows?