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adowton's picture

An issue from class that i

An issue from class that i have been pondering about is whether or not broadening the diagnosis of many mental disorders into more of a spectrum would be a good thing. Like Hope said in her summary, one pro of this would potentially be the reduction of mental illness stigmatization. If mostly everyone fits somewhere on a much broader spectrum, the distinction between mentally fit and mentally ill may be reduced. On the other hand, I can't help but feel that the many disorders that are diagnosed on a spectrum today have created a very different society, and not necessarily in a positive light. Mental illnesses such as autism and ADHD are two examples of this. Should every child taking medication for ADHD actually be taking those meds? probably not. Should children who are kind of strange/quiet/shy/slower than their peers be definitively diagnosed as having autism? maybe not. I raised the point in class that the issue of autism has had a sincere effect/will continue to have a sincere effect on vaccination rates. Because of this, i think it is really important to actually narrow down what autism is (which may be impossible right now), so that when scientists are investigating a link between vaccines and autism, they are looking at cases of true autism as opposed to cases where a child is arbitrarily given the label. A diagnosis of autism is often arrived at as a result of ruling out all other options. So with this example in mind, I am not sure i can support extending diseases to more of a spectrum.

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