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beneficii
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24 Jul 2015, 12:46 pm

Just because someone's irrational does not mean they have a mental disorder, and just because someone has a mental disorder does not mean they are never rational.

Irrationality is universal among human beings and anyone can fall into the trap of irrational thinking. Likewise, people without mental illness may not be able to think clearly.

The belief that irrationality means someone is mentally ill is based on a faulty layperson's understanding of psychology and psychiatry. It is also pernicious because it allows people with such beliefs to create an us vs. them scenario where they pump themslves up as rational people to whom others should just shut up and listen, while creating an environment where any person who is known to have mental illness is not given any chance at all to contribute to the conversation--because they must be "irrational." I have seen this and I think it's a really nasty way to go about things, and it's not an honest way either, but a way to poison the well for those labelled as "mentally ill."


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24 Jul 2015, 12:50 pm

That is very true...not to mention no one is rational or irrational all of the time.


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beneficii
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24 Jul 2015, 1:16 pm

I was involved with an online clique up to about a year ago (and never want to involve myself with this clique again) and we had a debate like this:

Me: In order to determine if and what mental illness a person has, you would have to have a qualifed clinician evaluate the person.

Clique: Oh, come on! You can often just tell someone is mentally ill by looking at them!

I wish I said this:

Me: Actually, no you can't. In fact, even if police suspect someone is mentally ill and in need of commitment, they must still bring the person to an evaluation to determine the presence of mental illness.

Basically, this clique would give me a very hard time when I became open about my autism and troubles. They would often tell me to shut up, letting me know in no uncertain terms that my opinion was NOT valued, simply due to the fact I had mental diagnoses. They demanded the ability, claiming to be intellectually just as competent as any mental health professional (if not more so), to diagnose people with mental illness just by hearing about what they've done, as though their layperson's conception of mental illness was the way to go about it.

This article I think shows this attitude well:

Quote:

Dr. Keisha Bean, HSP, a licensed psychologist, answered questions via email about the likelihood of Dolezal’s life as an African-American woman being the result of trauma or of Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder). She explains, “Dissociative Identity Disorder is a severe form of dissociation where a lack of connection exists in a person’s thoughts, feelings, memories, actions, or sense of identity.” Bean advises that DID is usually the result of a traumatic event, as a form of coping, but cautions that there is a lack of consistent data that prevents recognizing patterns of frequency. Based on Dolezal’s defensive reactions to questions about her race and ethnicity, she seems to be aware of the controversy surrounding her passing as black. Would this awareness be expected of a person with DID? “Typically, the person is not consciously aware of the disassociation,” Bean answers.

Bean disagrees with the presumption that someone passing as another racial identity automatically has mental health issues. She explains: “I would not think it to be wise at all that someone passing as another race or ethnicity has a mental illness on that information alone. From a historical perspective, many African Americans would pass for white as a means of coping with racial and civil injustices [and] as a means to stay safe/alive and I would doubt these individuals would be diagnosed with a mental illness.” Bean says other factors would have to be considered, such as behaviors, ability to function daily, ability to cope with daily stressors and other symptoms/indicators for mental illness.


http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/rache ... al-illness

In other words, we don't have access to a formal evaluation of Dolezal in order to say with certainty if she has mental illness.

Despite this, many commentators to the article still thought they were qualified to apply the label anyway, such as here:

Quote:
Precisely. It struck me as a deliberate misinterpretation of why people were bandying about the "mental illness" talk so the article could be written in the first place, launching into a diatribe about white people making excuses for white people, as if that gross generalization applied to this situation makes any sense. We have a fact set here containing years and years of inexplicable behavior marked by incredible inconsistencies, indecision, hypocrisy, lying, hiding, fabrications, etc., some of which could arguably qualify as tortious or even criminal (e.g., if she filed false statements with the police or arguably defrauded the NAACP to get her job), and people frequently look at that kind of pattern of anti-social behavior and slap a colloquial "mental illness" label on it. it had nothing to do with "she must be crazy to want to be black." No, she must be crazy to behave like she did for a couple decades.


In other words, in this person's uninformed opinion, one must be mentally ill in order to engage in such behavior, throwing caution out the window. This person shows the same unwarranted entitlement to armchair diagnose as that nasty clique I talked about further up.

When are people going to realize that you must do a formal evaluation, which includes following such protocols as the mental status exam, in order to diagnose mental illness? Why do people insist on giving such poorly informed opinions?


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heavenlyabyss
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25 Jul 2015, 3:43 am

In some cases it's the supposedly "mentally ill" who attack other mentally ill people. If one is depressed and thinks of themselves as useless they may view other people who are depressed as useless as well (a form of projection).

A mentally "healthy" person does not feel the need to attack others. Very few people are mentally "healthy."

I just don't think these conversations are very useful. Some people with mental illnes are peaceful, others are violent. You can't unlink the two completely becuase in some cases the mental illness actually is contributing in some form or another to the violence. You can't just say no one with mental illness is violent, and if they are it is completely unrelated to their mental illness. It is disingenuous. Paranoia can in some cases contribute to violence. Personality disorders can in some case result in violence. PTSD can sometimes result in violence. It's just disingenous to say that no violence is ever caused by mental illness.

I've said this before and I'll say it again. As someone has experienced voices and delusions, I could VERY EASILY have been violent if I was raised differently. So upbringing is important as well.



Rudin
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25 Jul 2015, 6:43 pm

beneficii wrote:
Just because someone's irrational does not mean they have a mental disorder, and just because someone has a mental disorder does not mean they are never rational.

Irrationality is universal among human beings and anyone can fall into the trap of irrational thinking. Likewise, people without mental illness may not be able to think clearly.

The belief that irrationality means someone is mentally ill is based on a faulty layperson's understanding of psychology and psychiatry. It is also pernicious because it allows people with such beliefs to create an us vs. them scenario where they pump themslves up as rational people to whom others should just shut up and listen, while creating an environment where any person who is known to have mental illness is not given any chance at all to contribute to the conversation--because they must be "irrational." I have seen this and I think it's a really nasty way to go about things, and it's not an honest way either, but a way to poison the well for those labelled as "mentally ill."


The converse is not true as well. Those who are rational do not necessarily not have a mental disorder.

People with personality disorders are a good example. They can be rational and have a "mental disorder".


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IntellectualCat
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27 Jul 2015, 8:26 pm

I think the problem may occur because the DSM often refers to symptoms of mental conditions in language such as "excessive" or "unreasonable".

Stupid medical model of disability.



Ettina
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03 Aug 2015, 8:35 am

Rudin wrote:
People with personality disorders are a good example. They can be rational and have a "mental disorder".


Psychopaths are actually more rational than NTs. It's been shown in scientific studies that they are equally likely to sacrifice one for the good of all regardless of whether they do so by flipping a switch or physically pushing the one in front of a train. In contrast, NTs are less likely to make the utilitarian choice if they are personally confronted with the impact on the one being sacrificed.