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  1. John Elorriaga permalink
    November 11, 2011 10:48 am

    In a CNN article, Dr. Claudia M. Gold discusses how a new labeling of tantrums as a mental illness does not really achieve anything but as she puts it, “only makes it easier to bill for services…” and “justify using powerful psychiatric drugs rather than treating the underlying cause”. The original name “temper dysregulation disorder with dysphoria” or TDD came under a lot of scrutiny for the name. When the committee came together to form the new DSM-V the name was changed to “disruptive mood dysregulation disorder” or DMDD. Dr. Gold says how this whole thing is off base, as it does not answer the major underlying problems. She says there is not enough help in the United States for primary care, mental health care and support or for struggling parents. She discussed how the disorder is only meant for children 6 and above yet she still deals with parents asking about bi-polar disorder with children around 18 months. What brought this to light is from 2000-2007 children ages 2-5 were prescribed atypical antipsychotics more than doubled.
    The article also described how the child’s suffering started well before the age of 6. Dr. Claudia M Gold says there are many similarities between children who suffer from this “disorder”. She stated that mothers described pregnancy as stressful, and there is evidence that stress at pregnancy is associated with behavioral problems in childhood. The same goes for the infancy stage were things were also stressful and children were tough to feed or cried all the time. This can create later problems for these children who at times are extremely overwhelmed by outside surroundings outside their comfort zone. Like preschool where some children suffer from sever separation anxiety. All these problems arise, but a common trait is the lifestyle at home these children come from. In the article, Dr. Gold brought up how many parents have martial conflicts, single mothers or parents who faced childhood traumas.
    The reason why this article caught my interest is, more than just the labeling of a new disease, but is this just society not knowing how to describe an emotion or is this real issue that needs psychiatric help. Dr. Gold does acknowledge that, “these children are certainly not normal”, but also says how labeling this does not do really anything to help the situation. In class we did bring how society is losing touch with emotions, and when I read this I started to ask is this a real issue that needs a label, or has this generation of parenting over worried and not able to separate a child’s emotions with an actual disorder?

    John Elorriaga

  2. November 11, 2011 5:50 pm

    Storm has Vermont Scrambling to Find Beds for Mentally Ill

    The article I chose entitled, “Storm has Vermont Scrambling to Find Beds for Mentally Ill”, was written by Abby Goodnough and published in the health section of The New York Times. This article was about how the Tropical Storm Irene left this important state hospital flooded with eight feet of water; first evacuating patients to upper floors and then evacuating them all to temporary places. Some patients who were involved in criminal cases are even going to prisons for top security. This mental hospital wasn’t just any hospital, but hosted the most seriously ill psychiatric patients and had some of the strict policies in the nation. In the article Gov. Peter Shumlin says, “The state is grappling with how to care for acutely mentally ill residents.” Because it is such a high level of mental health care that they provide at this hospital it is hard to just send these patients anywhere—they cant do without it. The hospitals where these patients have now been dispersed to are not equipped to handle them. It has not only been an endangerment to the patients coming from the Vermont State Hospital but to the staff and their previous patients as well. Patients with less severe illnesses, but who still need care, are in fact checking themselves out because the environment is too chaotic. To prove just how bad this truly is for everyone, “Thomas W. Huebner, president and chief executive of Rutland Regional, said his hospital has needed to use emergency medication or restraints on agitated patients seven times more often in the 10 weeks since the floods than they normally do in a whole year.“
    Because of this incident Vermont has decided that from now on they will no longer hold 54 residents like they did at Vermont State Hospital but now maybe 30. This seems more manageable for staff and facilities purpose, but what about the ones that they won’t have room for now, where do they go? They say that if worse comes to worse the patients can “quietly get diverted into the corrections system”, like in California or Florida. For now until the 3.5 million dollar pledged renovations happen, they are trying to develop more of a community-base system. As we learned in class, community and support can be a huge therapeutic benefit as well as preventing these types of patients and problems in the first place. Mr. Flood added that “Community services can’t totally replace the need for inpatient services, but it can bring down the demand quite a bit.”
    People are worried they wont have the funds to create these new facilities nor to maintain them. These decisions for the state hospital will affect their mental health policies for decades to come. As we learned in the beginning of this class the mentally ill are HIGHLY stigmatized. Has the trend really gone from stigmatized to medicalized? In closing, what do you do with the people in the mean time? And how do they protect these individuals with severe mental illness needing psychiatric care, while protecting the not quite severe people that still need help?

    Chelsea White

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