What's going on: Mental Health Miscellany

I’ve noticed a bunch of articles this week from various sources that highlight the current problems with mental health, specifically the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, so I thought I’d link to the posts with some summaries and why I found them interesting.

1. PTSD as an Outcome of Child Abuse by Louise Behiel (Blog)

Louise Behiel writes in her website about the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual version 5 (DSM-V) update, allowing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to be recognized in children under the age of 6. She identifies symptoms, which are important for children who cannot vocalize their emotions, and I encourage you to read her blog. She provides links for additional information as well.

2. Mental Health: The road to diagnosis is filled with twists and turns by Chantale Allick (Toronto Star)

Prozac Nation Cover

Chantale Allick describes the plight of many individuals facing treatment in her article on Chan Bak’s road to mental health diagnosis. He’s been diagnosed by different doctors with nearly as many different diagnoses. No matter what the diagnosis is, he’s been dealing with psychotic breakdowns, delusions and disorganized speech. It’s difficult enough to get a patient, let alone one suffering from delusions to get help, but the systems should fully diagnose and explain patient symptoms. It reminds me of the backwards diagnosis from Elizabeth Wurtzel’s book Prozac Nation.

Enter Prozac, and suddenly I have a diagnosis. It seems oddly illogical: Rather than defining my disease as a way to lead us to fluoxetine, the invention of this drug has brought us to my disease. Which seems backward, but much less so later on, when I find that this is a typical course of events in psychiatry, that the discovery of a drug to treat, say, schizophrenia, will tend to result in many more patients being diagnosed as schizophrenics. This is strictly Marxian psychopharmacology, where the material – or rather, pharmaceutical – means determine the way an individual’s case history is interpreted. But right now, lying in Stillman, I am in no position to do this kind of critical thinking.

~ Wurtzel, Elizabeth: Prozac Nation; 301

3. Waiting list for mental health services is a major problem facing patients by Chantale Allick (Toronto Star)

Chantale Allick also provides a story detailing Kim Williamson’s search for treatment for her 15-year-old son Austin. Because wait times have been so long, and Austin’s episodic rages grew worse, his mother did the only thing she could: turn to Children’s Aid. In the meantime, until he can get placed with a case worker, he uses the walk-in clinic at East Metro Youth Services. We need more of these services in our cities. More importantly we need support to help patients, families and friends in order to help them recover as best they can.

4. Borderline personality therapy is scarce, costly by Liam Casey (Toronto Star)

According to the article:

Borderline personality disorder is as common as schizophrenia — both affect about 1 in 100 adults — yet there are significantly fewer resources available for patients living with the disorder. ~ Borderline Personality Therapy is Scarce, Costly, Liam Casey

This article makes me sad that people can’t get the help they need when they need it, and in particularly drastic cases like Borderline Personality Disorder, suicide happens before treatment is even scheduled.

I really hope that the First Mental Health Strategy for Canada revamps the system, despite the funding issues inherent in today’s economic climate.

What do you think will help improve mental health diagnosis and treatment in Canada?

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2 Replies to “What's going on: Mental Health Miscellany”

  1. Thanks so much for the mention and the link. PTSD in children can be successfully treated but only if it’s identified early. I’m off to check the other links you mention. What a great post.

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  2. You’re welcome, I found the post fascinating. It always amazes me how much the DSM changes over time. I hope you enjoyed the other articles! Thanks for leaving a comment!

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