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Jun 10 2013

Monday Miscellany

Hello from Ohio! I moved here on Sunday for the summer, and as I adjust my schedule to fit work, it may take me a few days to settle back to blogging. After that–well, I have these plans to write a post every day.

Until then…other people’s blogs.

Olivia writes about the new DSM, and what changes to diagnoses look like.

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder: This is an entirely new diagnosis for this edition of the DSM. Its main characteristics are extreme temper outbursts beyond what is reasonable for the stimuli, and a continuous angry or irritable mood through 2 domains of life, at least one of which is severely disrupted. It’s similar to ODD, however it’s considered more severe, and BD, although it is more continuous in the mood rather than episodic.

Eating Disorders: This is another category that had a fair amount of controversy surrounding the changes. Binge Eating Disorder was introduced as a new categorization, characterized by extreme intakes of food and calories, often as a way to deal with emotions. Many are worried that this will turn overeating into a mental illness, however the diagnosis was introduced to illustrate the differences between the two: binge eating disorder comes with feelings of shame, guilt, and embarrassment, and extreme emotional disruption. There has been a change in the criteria for anorexia, namely the deletion of amenorrhea. The bulimia criteria have been adjusted so that the frequency of binge/purge episodes is fewer. Overall the changes were instituted to lower the number of EDNOS diagnoses. With these changes, men are now as likely as women to get an eating disorder diagnosis.*

How will we know when there’s gender equity in the skeptic movement? Stephanie expands on a point she made at Women in Secularism.

We’ll know we have gender equity when the evidence we provide for how we’re treated as women is evaluated the same way as the evidence atheists provide for how they’re treated as atheists. We won’t be treated by fellow atheists as though we need four witnesses for everything we report. The behaviors we mention over and over won’t be seen as individual incidents to be explained away. They won’t be seen as personal matters between two individuals. They will be recognized as a pattern to be addressed.

My favorite newly-discovered blog is Doing Good Science…and this is my favorite post. An excellent example of steelmanning; when #chemophobia isn’t irrational: listening to the public’s real worries.

The “Family Members, Friends, Neighbors” approach to Mental Illness: analysis of 2013′s National Conference on Mental Health

For all that the conference was supposed to be about mental illnesses, it turned out to focus far more on *sane* family members and friends of the mentally ill, rather than on people with mental illnesses themselves.

This tendency was  exemplified in the President’s speech, when he stated:  ”We all know somebody — a family member, a friend, a neighbor — who has struggled or will struggle with mental health issues at some point in their lives.”

Note the construction of the sentence: “We all know somebody – a family member, a friend, a neighbor – who has struggled with mental illness.” The person with mental illness here is alwayssomeone else. They are always removed from ourselves. They are the people we help, the people we are sad for, the people we want to save. The people who are sick, the people who are hurting, the people with the problems – they are categorically not us. They are other.

They are, moreover, specifically not the implied audience of the sentence. The implied audience is the people who “know somebody’ with a mental illness. Obama probably wanted to evoke sympathy for people with mental illnesses. But in doing so, he reinforced the trope of the mentally ill as the “other” – as people who aren’t worth speaking to, and about, directly. Despite the fact that one in five Americans suffer, or will suffer, from a mental illness, and thus make up a fairly sizeable portion of the audience.

***

Thing is, I do actually know a family member, a friend AND a neighbor who has struggled with mental health issues. You know who else has struggled with mental health issues?

Me.

Open Letter to the CFI Board of Directors

To be clear, Dr. Lindsay is entitled to his opinions about feminism and the concept of privilege. But if he had concerns about these issues that he wished for the conference organizers and speakers to address, he could have done so before the conference and in private. His decision to do so during his opening remarks was particularly inappropriate given that merely weeks before, Dr. Lindsayused his position to advocate discussing objections privately and, of all things, listening more.

As secular activists, we welcome discussion about feminism and its role in the secular movement. But a condescending lecture is not a discussion, and the opening remarks of a conference are a time to welcome and thank participants, not to air grievances against them.

*Though I know Olivia’s meaning, men are not quite as likely as women to get an eating disorder diagnosis–it seems women are both more likely to take themselves in for treatment and have a higher prevalence of eating disorders. 

3 comments

  1. 1
    scienceofeds

    Well, BED is more prevalent in men than women. It is not just more likely to get treatment, but also more likely to be diagnosed, particularly because the diagnostic criteria used (like the EDI-2) are not really suited for men; so the way we are screening EDs in men is ridiculously subpar. So it is (1) not recognizing it is an ED (2) not having clinicians recognize it (3) not having insurance to cover it and (4) not having a place to get treatment (some places are women only!). Lots of factors. But data do seem to show BED is more prevalent in men, last time I checked anyway. (But, maybe I’m wrong).

  2. 2
    Kate Donovan

    no, I think you’re definitely right about the BED having more men than women. However, overall, I still think that women are more likely to get diagnosed with an ED, because of the insurance/stigma/treatment center problems.

  3. 3
    jd142

    Re: diagnosing binge eating disorders in men. This is purely one anecdote, so ymmv. I went from around 350 to 150 pounds in about a year or so. As I was starting to add calories back in to my diet, I had swelling in my feet, hands, and face. I spent 6 months going through every test the Dr. could think of. He thought I had Wilson’s disease even. During this time I also snapped back into binge eating big time. I ended up seeing a psychiatrist who took all of 15 seconds to say had a case of re-feeding edema. I told him about all of the other test the Dr. ran, and he kind of laughed and made some comment about that Dr.’s abilities. He did say that refeeding edema was common in anorexics and if I had been a young female instead of a male in my late 30′s the Dr. probably would have figured it out much faster.

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