NPR talking about Aspergers as if it were a mental illness

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I was afraid of this. It's not a mental illness. It's a neurological difference. But repeatedly on one show today (and I suspect others) it is being classified along with major mental illnesses, such as bipolar and schizophrenia. The hospitals for the mentally ill never included people with plain autism. There are some people with autistic spectrum and ADHD with co-morbid mental health issues, but they alone are not mental health issues.

    But they won't let the facts stop 'em, will they?
  2. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    MWM let them talk, they will get it correct. I have heard many other professionals in the past few days explain that it is not a mental disorder but a neurological one. I am a firm believer that we need to discuss things in the open or else all that happens is that misconceptions stay in the dark. It doesn't bother me that they get a few things wrong because in the end the more discussion we have the better off we all are. We have to remember that we are much more educated about these things than most people so it is our job to educate them. I feel that the more this is discussed the better chance we have for real change.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, Nancy, I so agree. In the end, if our k ids can get more services, regardless of how or why, it would help them and society. So, agree, let them get it wrong, but let them take another look at these issues.
  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    MWM, Asperger's Disorder and Pervasive Development Disorder (not otherwise specified) are being added to the DSM V manual under the Autism umbrella this year, so it will indeed be treated as a "mental illness". I hate to think that we have to look at that as a stigma. It's for billing purposes and IEPs - I hope.
  5. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Also around here especially parents of kids with ADHD or autism spectrum always tend to get agitated if those neurological things are even mentioned together with mental health issues. Some have even huge problems with the fact that in some hospitals psychiatrists and not neurologists (that is more common here) treat those conditions and for example prescribe ADHD medications for their kids. I have never really understood why. Is asperger kid somehow more acceptable or better than kid with mental health issues?

    I don't know if you have a same concept we have with psychiatric conditions there bipolar and schizophrenia are considered actual mental illnesses and other conditions are just mental health problems. If you consider those two 'actual' mental illnesses, the biggest difference to these neurological conditions we are talking about is, that onset is usually later. Onset of classic autism is usually shortly after one year, ADHD can be reliably diagnosed few years older, same with asperger. Schizophrenia usually has an onset on late teens or early adulthood, bipolar has wider variety of onset ages. Others can be medicated, but not cured, autism spectrum doesn't at least yet have medication. All of them are highly hereditary, but environmental factors play also some part at least on some. They are all related to our neurobiology. I just don't see that big differences. Especially if you consider those other mental health problems that may have some hereditary components often have huge environmental factors, some can't even exist without certain environmental factors (for example one can be genetically immune or more prone to PTSD, but most people have the genes to get it, if one does or doesn't end up with it in some point of their lives depends totally from environmental factors.)
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Autism isn't a mental illness either - and never has been, although it also is in DSM-IV.

    It is a condition, not an illness. It has no "onset" - it's how a person is born.
    Down's Syndrome is in DSM as well - and nobody calls that a mental illness.

    There are essentially two major classes of psychological challenges...
    1) mental illness, and
    2) developmental conditions

    The first includes things like bi-polar, sociopathy, depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), etc. In theory, there are treatments for these illnesses - not that they work for everyone, but even on the medical side not all treatments work for illnesses. Sometimes some of these can be cured (depression), other types can be managed.

    The second includes things like Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) (including Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) and Aspie), Down's, and other developmental challenges. There is no on-set, and no medical treatment of the actual condition (there is treatment for related issues... including some of the MI that tend to go with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)). The rest is accommodations and interventions and alternative approaches to teaching and to parenting. None of which would apply to MI.

    You can have BOTH, but developmental conditions are not illnesses.
  7. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    However for example Rett syndrome is considered part of autistic spectrum and it has very clear onset (as till onset age babies develop typically after onset they regress.) Reminds very much illnesses. It is also not uncommon in classic autism for kids to regress and forget some skills they had before the age autistic characteristics started to come up (for example they may have some words when they are 12 months old and be totally non-verbal at age three.)

    While schizophrenia and bipolar have later onset, they are also something person has in their genes from the day they are born. You don't catch them like cold, neither does person develop them because of environmental factors. They are genetic, with some environmental factors can prevent onset or they can trigger onset in those who wouldn't have likely had onset otherwise. People with them just develop typically little longer. And neither can be cured, only managed with medications, some can even survive without medications if they find good ways to handle environmental factors aggravating their condition. Very similar situation than those with ADHD.
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Rhett syndrome is classified under Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), but nobody really knows why or how it works, so... it may or may not be the same as general Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) conditions. To me, it is closer to a medical illness than anything else.

    ADHD appears to be self-correcting in early adulthood for about half of those who have it. For the other half... well, it's how we are wired. How come some are self-correcting? "They" don't know, but some suspect that as brain development continues, some of the wiring gets adjusted. Which tells a lot about how much any of us know about this stuff!

    I'm not aware of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) being self-correcting, but there is evidence that what the child experiences from birth to age 25 has a huge impact on the outcome. In some cases, early and continuous interventions and accommodations can significantly modify the wiring - not to completely remove the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), but to mitigate the severity.

    These are due to brain plasticity.

    I'm not aware of ... (if I'm wrong, please send me some links, I love learning) any cases where schizophrenia or bi-polar (properly diagnosed) have been "grown out of" or any evidence that brain plasticity is at work.
  9. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    EXTRA was just describing it as a "personalty disorder". Whatever happened to the staple of news, "Check your facts, check your facts, check your facts."?

    ETA: And yes, I emailed them. That just plain irked me. I've had quite enough from people today.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Autism isn't a mental disorder either. My son's doctor doesn't treat him as if he is mentally ill. Nor do the schools. His neuropsychologist knew about the DSM so he diagnosed him as autistic spectrum disorder, and nothing really changed for him. At one time, years and years ago, they thought autism was a form of schizophrenia, but that has long been dismissed...
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member


    schizophrenia and bipolar ... something a person has in their genes from the day they are born. ... They are genetic, with some environmental factors can prevent onset or they can trigger onset
  12. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    This is what I read "Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism, and unspecified mental and emotional problems,"
    I think there is a lot of talk and everyone knows autism is a developmental issue. It will get weeded out.
    I do worry that the mentally ill will be targeted as "bad guys" because everyone is looking for a bad guy. It's not as simple as someone suffering mental disease or guns. His mental and emotional problems will get dissected.