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GeeMack
SFN Regular

USA
1093 Posts

Posted - 12/30/2005 :  23:14:15  Show Profile Send GeeMack a Private Message
Parents, listen up. You won't always know what sorts of programs the school system is forcing upon your children. The following article discusses pseudoscience of the most dangerous kind. An organization known as TeenScreen is trying to get every teenager in the US to participate in its program of evaluation for mental disorders. The objective seems to be simply to label your children as mentally ill in order to help pharmaceutical companies sell billions of dollars worth of psychoactive drugs.

Once your child has been through this screening they may be deemed mentally ill and referred for treatment. If you refuse the recommended course of treatment, a referral to the local child welfare agency could be made, resulting in your child being taken away from you and forcibly drugged. The wheels may already be rolling to get the TeenScreen program into your child's school, even without your knowledge or consent.
quote:
The Making of Mental Patients: Inside TeenScreen...

In October, 2004, after taking TeenScreen, a 10-minute computer test developed in the psychiatric department of Columbia University, 16-year-old Chelsea Rhoades of Indiana was told she had two mental health problems, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and social anxiety disorder. The diagnoses were based upon Chelsea's responses that she liked to help clean the house and didn't "party" much.

Chelsea is one of countless children who get labeled with fraudulent diagnoses every day. The difference in her case is that her parents, who were unaware that TeenScreen had infiltrated their daughter's school and had not given permission for the screening, reacted quickly. They filed a lawsuit against the officials of the high school who allowed the test to be administered and the TeenScreen program. In doing so, the Rhoades took a stand for all parents across the nation.

[...]

The goal of TeenScreen is one item they are not afraid to reveal: to provide mental health screening for every single American teen. If TeenScreen' s goal is achieved, all 19,800,000 youths will receive a "mental health checkup". Considering that 71% of teens who were screened in Colorado were labeled with a mental disorder, should TeenScreen succeed in its goal, it is possible that 71% of our teens would end up being labeled. This means that no less than 14,058,000 American youth would end up labeled mentally ill. Since nine out of ten children who receive "treatment" are given mind-altering psychiatric drugs, the inevitable conclusion is that 12,652,200 would be drugged.

The average price of a prescription for psychiatric drugs is $102 per month. TeenScreen's endeavors would increase the pharmaceutical companies' monthly revenues by $1,290,524,400.
The article discusses related issues such as the increased possibility of suicide among teens who have been subjected to such screening, and general problems resulting from labeling your children as mentally ill. The government is not going to step in to protect you or your children from this pseudoscience. You'll need to be vigilant to avoid the danger.

Edited to add the following -

Here are a few links with more information on TeenScreen...

Edited by - GeeMack on 12/30/2005 23:59:23

H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2005 :  00:33:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
You know, I was half-prepared to say screening kids for mental disorders isn't such a bad thing, but reading some of those links you provided really illustrated what a low down group these TeenScreen people are.
quote:
TeenScreen also utilizes a "passive consent" form which requires no written parental approval. The passive consent form is sent home to parents and if they don't return it TeenScreen considers that the parents approve. TeenScreen officials favor passive consent because they say it boosts their chances of screening kids to 95% as opposed to the written parental consent technique. What if the child forgets to bring the consent form home? What happens if the parent is too busy to refuse in writing? They've consented in the eyes of TeenScreen personnel.
What a fucking scam, and preying on children to boot. I don't have words for how despicable I find this.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 12/31/2005 00:34:49
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13463 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2005 :  02:20:54   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
I dunno, GeeMac. Upon first glance there seems to be some hysteria with regard to mental health screening. The language of the articles from the sites you provided are filled with biased terms like infiltrate and stuff like the following quote from one of your links:
quote:
Yet, the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities newsletter, Update - May/June 2002, revealed that a recent local TeenScreen survey was partly funded by pharmaceutical giant, Eli Lilly.

The TeenScreen site says this about that:
quote:
Local TeenScreen programs operate independently of Columbia University. Local programs receive free materials and training from the national program but often seek local funding from a wide range of supporters including school districts and community foundations. We recently learned that one of our TeenScreen sites did receive a modest contribution from a pharmaceutical company some years ago. During the 2000-01 academic year, a pilot TeenScreen program was created at this location and Eli Lilly contributed a one-time $7,500 grant for the purchase of computers. This is the only pharmaceutical money that the program ever received. No money from pharmaceutical companies went to the actual implementation of screening. In fact, all the people involved in the pilot volunteered their time, which is a testament to that community's commitment to the early identification of mental illness. Once the pilot was completed, the coordination of the program was transferred from the original organization that started it to a local mental health services organization, which does not solicit or accept funds from the pharmaceutical industry for the TeenScreen program.

Even though local programs make no treatment recommendations, we believe any funding received from a pharmaceutical company could create the appearance of a possible inducement to recommend treatment. We strongly recommend that local TeenScreen programs do not receive funding from companies that market medicines for adolescent depression or other mental health problems identified by the screening program.


Setting The Record Straight About TeenScreen
Updated: October 17th, 2005


While I really don't know too much about it, I would recommend looking over the TeenScreen site carefully before coming to any conclusions about the program.

Frankly, skeptic alarms go off in my head when I am being asked to consider evidence for medical or health related conspiracies being foisted on us by a medical establishment. My inclination is to proceed with caution and regard both sides of the issue.

Screenings are done at schools for a host of possible health related problems. Why should there not be mental health screenings as well?

quote:
Originally posted by H. Humbert

You know, I was half-prepared to say screening kids for mental disorders isn't such a bad thing, but reading some of those links you provided really illustrated what a low down group these TeenScreen people are.
quote:
TeenScreen also utilizes a "passive consent" form which requires no written parental approval. The passive consent form is sent home to parents and if they don't return it

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2005 :  02:56:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
Well, "passive consent" shouldn't even be an option as far as I'm concerned, but thanks Kil for your post. I guess until we know more it is best suspend judgement.

The knee-jerk reaction against any form of modern medicine practiced on children is a serious problem. One need look to further than than the current "vaccinations cause autism" rumor to see how baseless hysteria can do great harm. On the other hand, I had read about some Scientology programs creeping into the school system under the guise of drug prevention programs, so the notion that schools are easily duped by slick presentations to the detriment of their students seemed all too likely. But perhaps I over-reacted.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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ronnywhite
SFN Regular

501 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2005 :  03:45:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send ronnywhite a Private Message
I'm probably biased regarding this situation because I'm rather skeptical of psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals in general. I think I have some valid reasons as they apply to some aspects of these fields, although I realize that something has to be done about these human problems... meaning just because ideal solutions aren't available or known doesn't imply that we shouldn't try to address these issues somehow, and hopefully learn from our mistakes, implementing better treatments as the basis of these diseases or disorders becomes better understood. But admittedly, my attitude is likely somewhat skewed by certain marketing strategies of the pharmaceutical companies, especially considering the continual stream of consumer-oriented TV and magazine advertisements for their newest pills and potions... whereas some lean towards legitimate "public service announcements", I'm not so sure in other instances... perhaps these matters would more frequently best be left to the judgment of physicians (and I have little doubt these companies are aware of that.)

Regarding psychological testing as depicted, I'm all the more wary of just how accurate such tests are as diagnostic tools (I'm aware that surely biostatisticians... paid, or otherwise motivated by some formal body or institution... have "validated" them with psychometrics, but nonetheless I remain unconvinced.)

Having dated a woman with a severely autistic and hyperactive son (a saddening situation to witness, as she truly loved her child) I asked a professor of pediatrics (and hemotology researcher) whom I worked for long ago whether the use of Ritalin (the preferred medication for ADHD of the day) was potentially detrimental or could impair childhood development, as the mother had been led to believe... he replied that it wasn't hazardous in the physiological sense when used as prescribed, yet there were legitimate dangers in that parents would indescretionately use the drug, in light of their desires (in some cases) to sedate children of normal youthful disposition to pacify them for their convenience. I find his point compelling, particularly considering that I've since read the contentions/opinions of several physicians that childhood ADHD is vastly overdiagnosed with the subsequent use of medication inappropriately applied.

Due to the subjectiveness of diagnosis, in addition to the statistical nature of psychological diagnostic criteria and classification, I'm awful leery of that kind of thing... especially as applied to children. Whereas I have no problem calling most fields of modern medicine "scientific," psychiatry is a different breed... it seems more of a curious amalgam of psychotherapeutic agents of varied consensus as to their proper application, a history of procedures and treatment methods with safety and efficacy equally debatable in nature, and equally crude diagnostic methods necessarily involving great subjectivity as compared to other branches of human medicine. These things considered, it's small wonder the "holistic treatment" bunch and their assorted voodoos, herbal treatment/meditation charlatons, "positive thinking" gurus and the like are over-represented in this arena.

My mindset may be colored as such, but I think skepticism, or at least a heavy dose of caution is appropriate in these matters. The kid's not happy, is maladjusted, or is a nervous wreck because of abuse, negligence, or other various and sundry problems at home or elsewhere? Well, loadem' up with Ritalin, Prozac, tranquilizers, or whatever pill the pharmaceutical industry's advertising money and marketeers have made vogue these days because the real issues are too hard, touchy, bothersome, or otherwise too much of an inconvenience for the parents, the school district, or the social service systems to deal with? In the long term, that's not good for the kids or society- in fact, it's not good at all.

Ron White
Edited by - ronnywhite on 12/31/2005 06:40:11
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R.Wreck
SFN Regular

USA
1191 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2005 :  10:42:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send R.Wreck a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Kil:

Screenings are done at schools for a host of possible health related problems. Why should there not be mental health screenings as well?



Most health related problems that a school might test for can be diagnosed with pretty good accuracy. I am skeptical that a 10 minute computerized test can tell anything useful about one's mental health (unless of course one claims the computer is the devil and beats the crap out of it). People spend countless hours with high priced psychiatrists who still can't say what's wrong with them, so why should we expect 10 minutes of multiple choice to do the job? Although I haven't seen the TeenScreeen materials, I have taken what I would assume to be similar tests (including Meyers-Briggs) for pre-employment or as a job requirement. I don't think they are very accurate in more than the broadest terms.

Besides, by any rational standards, most kids, and teens especially, are mentally ill!. It's just the way they are (and the way I was and the way most of you were) at that particular age. Our job as parents and educators is to guide them through this time of significant developmental change. The vast majority seem to do OK without being labelled "mentally ill" or medicated to cure them.

Those kids who exhibit behavioral problems at school may need to be referred to some sort of screening or counseling, but I think it is a colossal waste of money to screen every one of them.

The foundation of morality is to . . . give up pretending to believe that for which there is no evidence, and repeating unintelligible propositions about things beyond the possibliities of knowledge.
T. H. Huxley

The Cattle Prod of Enlightened Compassion
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2005 :  11:42:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
quote:
Why should there not be mental health screenings as well?



Because every person alive can be boxed into some sort of mental health disorder.

If the screening were explicit to a few common, well defined, evidenced, and life-threatening issues (depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis(which doesn't typically manifest in teens anyway) etc) then it wouldn't be a big deal to me.

But a blanket "screening" for mental health? I oppose that on general principle. Some amature screener (or maybe even professional, but doing large numbers of screenings...) labeling your children with a disorder? No way is that acceptable practice as far as I'm concerned.

And why this push in recent years to "screen" children for "mental health" disorders?

Show me some evidence that this screening has any significant positive outcomes for the kids they identify.

I hesitate to jump to a conspiritorial conclusion about anything (and this is further than I would usually go), but this does seem to be, in part, a clever marketing ploy for the makers of psych drugs.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13463 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2005 :  12:47:17   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
quote:
ronnywhite:
I'm probably biased regarding this situation because I'm rather skeptical of psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals in general.

Your bias is noted…
quote:
ronnywhite:
…I realize that something has to be done about these human problems... meaning just because ideal solutions aren't available or known doesn't imply that we shouldn't try to address these issues somehow, and hopefully learn from our mistakes, implementing better treatments as the basis of these diseases or disorders becomes better understood.

The recognition and diagnosis of diseases and disorders in the mental health area of medical research has advanced by leaps and bounds over the years. Most kinds of depression, for example, are very treatable and the prognosis is good. At this time the study and treatment in the area of mental health is not mostly a case of shooting into the dark, as many people believe that it is. There is no question that this is a very difficult area of research, but having said that, advancement is more often built upon refining successes than learning from past mistakes. (Of course, learing from past mistakes is important too.)
quote:
ronnywhite:
But admittedly, my attitude is likely somewhat skewed by certain marketing strategies of the pharmaceutical companies, especially considering the continual stream of consumer-oriented TV and magazine advertisements for their newest pills and potions... whereas some lean towards legitimate "public service announcements", I'm not so sure in other instances... perhaps these matters would more frequently best be left to the judgment of physicians (and I have little doubt these companies are aware of that.)

While that is an identifiable problem with drug company marketing, it has nothing to do with identifying a health related condition and determining the best corse of action. If a physician prescribes a medicine at a patients request without knowing if the medicine will be of any value, or worse, harmful to the patient, obviously there should be some concern about that doctors qualifications as a practicing physician. Problems of lapses in judgment and ethics is an industry wide concern. And I agree that it is one to be taken seriously. But would you have bothered mentioning that problem if the screening was for diabetes or tuberculosis or poor dental habits?
quote:
ronnywhite:
Regarding psychological testing as depicted, I'm all the more wary of just how accurate such tests are as diagnostic tools (I'm aware that surely biostatisticians... paid, or otherwise motivated by some formal body or institution... have "validated" them with psychometrics, but nonetheless I remain unconvinced.)

These tests are for screening only. They are not intended or used as a diagnosis of any condition. They are used to flag possible problems. Further identification of a possible problem can be done by much more extensive testing and evaluation by qualified clinicians or by an interview with a qualified clinician, or both. I am convinced that clinical depression, as one example of a possible problem, is very diagnosable. Again, and taking into consideration the difficulties of diagnosing some problems and disorders, for the most part, mental health professionals are well past shooting into the dark when identifying many common mental health problems. There are industry wide recognized markers for the diagnosis of many mental health problems. In many cases they are as accurate or more accurate than the diagnosis of some non-mental health related medical problems.
But again, your bias is noted…
quote:
ronnywhite:
Having dated a woman with a severely autistic and hyperactive son (a saddening situation to witness, as she truly loved her child) I asked a professor of pediatrics (and hemotology researcher) whom I worked for long ago whether the use of Ritalin (the preferred medication for ADHD of the day) was potentially detrimental or could impair childhood development, as the mother had been led to believe... he replied that it wasn't hazardous in the physiological sense when used as prescribed…

Bingo.
quote:
ronnywhite:
…yet there were legitimate dangers in that parents would indescretionately use the drug, in light of their desires (in some cases) to sedate children of normal youthful disposition to pacify them for their convenience. I find his point compelling, particularly considering that I've since read the contentions/opinions of several physicians that childhood ADHD is vastly overdiagnosed with the subsequent use of medication inappropriately applied.

This may be a problem that should be addressed. But again, I see it as not related to the issue of screening. Is it better as parents to remain in the dark about possible problems our kids may have because in some cases some doctors and parents are making mistakes or abusing a situation? This starts to feel like a slippery slope argument. What I can say about that is that as a parent myself, I would like to know if my child is suffering from a problem that I can do something about. It may even mean that I too need therapy. So be it. My hope is that most parents feel the same as I do. And my guess is that they do.
quote:
ronnywhite:
Due to the subjectiveness of diagnosis, in addition to the statistical nature of psychological diagnostic criteria and classification, I'm awful leery of that kind of thing... especially as applied to children. Whereas I have no problem calling most fields of modern medicine "scientific," psychiatry is a different breed... it seems more of a curious amalgam of psychotherapeutic agents of varied consensus as to their proper application, a history of procedures and treatment methods with safety and efficacy equally debatable in nature, and equally crude diagnostic methods necessarily involving great subjectivity as compared to other branches of human medicine.

It is a difficult science, but it is science nonetheless. The very same scientific method is used as in every other area of science. There can be many more variables causing a problem than in other areas of medical research, but progress is being made in identifying those contributing factors. Results of research and clinical results are tangible in many areas of diagnosis and treatment. I understand that talk therapy can seem like voodoo for those who are used to the idea tha

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13463 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2005 :  12:54:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
quote:
Dude:
If the screening were explicit to a few common, well defined, evidenced, and life-threatening issues (depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis(which doesn't typically manifest in teens anyway) etc) then it wouldn't be a big deal to me.


quote:
TeenScreen:

What mental health problems does TeenScreen screen for?

TeenScreen screens for depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse. TeenScreen does not screen for "externalizing disorders," like ADHD, or for disorders that require behavioral observation for detection, like autism. TeenScreen focuses on depression, anxiety, and substance abuse because they are common and treatable conditions, and most youth who suffer from them go undiagnosed and untreated. In addition, research has shown that a significant association exists between these disorders and suicide risk. Depression carries a particularly strong risk, with 60% of depressed teens thinking about suicide and 30% actually making suicide attempts. Although TeenScreen screens for the symptoms that are associated with different mental health disorders, the program does not make any formal diagnoses and never involves treatment.


Bolding mine.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2005 :  15:50:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
How to recognize if your child is a Goth. and treat the disorder.

quote:
Shows a declining interest in wholesome activities, such
as: the Bible, prayer, church or sports.

Eats Count Dracula Cereal

Masturbates
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GeeMack
SFN Regular

USA
1093 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2005 :  16:32:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send GeeMack a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Kil...

While I really don't know too much about it, I would recommend looking over the TeenScreen site carefully before coming to any conclusions about the program.

Frankly, skeptic alarms go off in my head when I am being asked to consider evidence for medical or health related conspiracies being foisted on us by a medical establishment. My inclination is to proceed with caution and regard both sides of the issue.
Yep, I guess if there were some concern as to the safety of, let's say, Chevrolet automobiles, the first place I'd go to get unbiased information on the issue would be the Chevrolet company.

Although I agree fully with you, Kil, about proceeding with caution and considering both sides of the issue, I think some statistics on the effectiveness of such screening are in order before instituting something like this as a program targeting every child in the nation. I wasn't able to dig up much in the way of data, or even positive commentary, other than from the TeenScreen organization itself.

Also, my skeptic alarm goes off when I hear of a screening tool that uses (I think it was) 14 questions on a 10 minute questionnaire to determine whether a child should be moved along to successive stages of diagnosis and potential treatment for mental disorders.

It brings to mind the single question screening process to determine whether a person is an alcoholic...
Doctor: Are you an alcoholic?

Patient: Yes.

Doctor: Then we'd better get you into treatment.
Or the alternative...
Doctor: Are you an alcoholic?

Patient: No.

Doctor: Aha! You're in denial. We'd better get you into treatment.

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13463 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2005 :  18:09:35   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
quote:
Dude:
I hesitate to jump to a conspiritorial conclusion about anything (and this is further than I would usually go), but this does seem to be, in part, a clever marketing ploy for the makers of psych drugs.

I guess I missed this in my last reply to you but if I hadn't I would have asked; How so?

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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ronnywhite
SFN Regular

501 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2005 :  19:52:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send ronnywhite a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Kil

The recognition and diagnosis of diseases and disorders in the mental health area of medical research has advanced by leaps and bounds...


I don't doubt that the difficulties of diagnosis and understanding mechanisms of treatment as opposed to other branches of medicine result from the complexities of the brain, how it relates to emotional issues, environmental factors etc. But from what I've read, the major breakthrough in the treatment of depression has been Prozac and similar drugs... I'm led to believe they were a major advance, but far from a panacea. It's been noted that they act on only one transmitter among a myriad of them which relate to depression, and many, many others are involved in this complex disorder. It elevates levels of seratonin in all tissues- not just the brain, where its antidepressant effects are induced, and the physiological consequences of this (if any) aren't known. My understanding is that depression is a long way from a "curable" disease at this point. I've read that the most common mental illness- and the most serious- is schizophrenia. They're still using the same class of drugs, and others similar to treat it (although each new variant allegedly has advantages, as would be expected.) These drugs are chronically toxic, and to say they "imperfectly" treat the disease would be an understatement. I believe there's been advancement in the field, but I seriously question just how much based upon what I've read, but granted I'm less informed on this topic than you are.

quote:

While that is an identifiable problem with drug company marketing... But would you have bothered mentioning that problem if the screening was for diabetes or tuberculosis or poor dental habits?



If I were reliably informed that the methods of diagnosing these potentially life-threatening disorders (in the acute sense) were done with as much subjectivity, and lack of accuracy (crucial, in these cases) as in psychiatric problems... yes, I'd certainly be concerned that children would be walking away without desperately needed antibiotics, or with insulin which wasn't called for. Poor dental habits, no... that's simple a health hygeine issue, not a complex diagnostic matter with potentially life-threatening consequences in an acute sense.

quote:

These tests are for screening only. They are not intended or used as a diagnosis of any condition. They are used to flag...



Well, I don't doubt that an adequately trained psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, etc. could effectively categorize a person in terms of their symptoms as the "book" deems appropriate... it's just a question of exactly what basis these categories are formed upon, and in some cases (to make my point in an extreme sense) why they should be considered diseases or disorders at all.

And regarding the test being only for screening purposes, I think there's merit to the point of GeeMac's described lucicrous exchanges between the suspected alcoholic and his doctor. This reminds me of a day 3 months ago when I stopped at a rest area North of Los Angeles on my way home to take a nap because I was exhausted. I fell asleep, and woke up hearing someone hollaring at me... "Don't move your hands and nobody will get shot." Naturally, being awakened by a death-threat had my adrenaline flowing, but (with 2 rookie cops observing for "training purposes") a police supervisor put me through a "methamphetamine intoxication test", advised me that I had "failed it", and he "knew" that I was "on speed" (I never even get near the stuff!) He asked me (bordering on yelling) 7 times (!) when I took the drugs, and after repeatedly telling him I never had, I insisted he take me to the station and have my blood tested- the response: he told me that he wasn't going to do that, because it was "my lucky day" but if he ever saw me again, he was going to arrest me for methamphetamine intoxication (Say what??? Great training!!! No wonder people have so many complaints about these guys here in California! I suppose I should be thankful and impressed that he didn't just shoot me and have the corpse tested later.) That was a rather extreme example of someone who was convinced of the infallibility of his insight/intuition and "knows what he sees" (regardless of how utterly wrong that might be)... but I can easily envision even some reasonable people... e.g. physicians, given such "test results" along with a confidently affirmative suggestion from a social worker proclaiming to have "given a lot of those tests," for instance... easily becoming highly biased and predisposed to diagnose a mental illness/prescribe medication, for lack of more definitive tools than (sometimes highly-fallible) "judgement" (i.e. blood titres, xrays, etc. as in other fields of medicine)... and unjustly so.

quote:

...My hope is that most parents feel the same as I do. And my guess is that they do.



I would hope so, too, and I suspect most so fortunate to have such parents would be well-adjusted, in most instances.

quote:

It is a difficult science, but it is science nonetheless....



RE talk therapy, I've read that in the long-term that hasn't been substantiated (study results are inconclusive) but I can imagine that in many circumstances, having someone to talk to about personal problems could be helpful in the short term. Essentially, "expensive friends?" Maybe. I'm sure you're more familiar with recent opinions/data on that question than I am.

quote:
Well Ron, you are simply wrong here. As a person who is well acquainted with New Age curatives (please see any of a number of Kil Reports I have done on this subject) I have to tell you that quack cures for cancer and diets are way more prevalent than cures for mental illness are.


I'm aware that you're particularly knowledgeable in this area... I said "over-represented," not "exclusively predominate" or something like that. I think they must be "overepresented" as opposed to quackery for many disorders simply because I've noticed quite a bit of it oriented towards emotional issues, self-help, "motivation" etc. etc. I suspect that's because the mentally ill or otherwise struggling might be more suggestable, or vulnerable to buying into nonsense promoted by confident salesmen full of energy and charisma than others who aren't so burdened.

quote:
...just yelling

Ron White
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13463 Posts

Posted - 12/31/2005 :  20:37:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
quote:
GeeMack:
Although I agree fully with you, Kil, about proceeding with caution and considering both sides of the issue, I think some statistics on the effectiveness of such screening are in order before instituting something like this as a program targeting every child in the nation. I wasn't able to dig up much in the way of data, or even positive commentary, other than from the TeenScreen organization itself.


From the PDF download of studies at the TeenScreen site:
quote:

1 Shaffer, D., Restifo, K., Garfinkel, R., Wilcox, H., Ehrensaft, M., Munfakh, J. (1998). Screening for young-adult suicidality and mood disorders in high school. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; Anaheim, CA.

2 Levitt, J.M., WonPat-Borja, A., Buffered, S., Jensen, P. (2004). Implementing evidence-based assessment strategies in schools. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association; Honolulu, HI.

3 Aseltine, R.H. and DeMartino, R. (2004). An outcome evaluation of the SOS suicide prevention program. American Journal of Public Health; 94(3): 446-451.

4 New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, Achieving the Promise: Transforming Mental Health Care in America. Final Report. DHHS Pub. No. SMA-03-3832. Rockville, MD: 2003.

5 U.S.Surgeon General, (1999) Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, 1999.

6 U.S. Public Health Service. (2000) Report of the Surgeon General's Conference on Children's Mental Health: A National Action Agenda. Washington, DC: Department of Health and Human Services, 2000.

7 Shaffer, D. et. al. (2004) The Columbia SuicideScreen: Validity and Reliability of a Screen for Youth Suicide and Depression. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; 43(1):71-79.

8 Shaffer, D. and Craft, L. (1999) Methods of Adolescent Suicide Prevention. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry; 60 (Suppl. 2): 70-74.

9 Kaplan, A. et al. (2005). Assessing the effectiveness of the Columbia University TeenScreen Program. Poster presented at the annal meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; Toronto, Canada.

10 Scott, M. and Shaffer, D. (2004). The Columbia Suicide Screen: Does screening identify new teens at risk? Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; Washington, DC.

11 Suicide Prevention Resource Center (2005). Available at http://www.sprc.org/whatweoffer/ebp_factsheets.asp.

12 Gould, M., Marrocco, F., Kleinman, M., Thomas, J., Mostkoff K., Cote, J., Davies, M. (2005) Evaluating iatrogenic risk of youth suicide screening programs: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association; 293: 1635-1643.


Some of the above are independent studies.

Check these out here.

And this.

I understand that David Shaffer created TeenScreen. It is the “et. al.” that matters I guess. David Shaffer is a very big deal in area of adolescent psychiatry according to Michelle.


Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13463 Posts

Posted - 01/02/2006 :  14:50:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
Okay Ron. My girlfriend Michelle wrote most of this response to your last post in this thread. Michelle has worked with troubled teens for the last 17 years. It's what she does…
(Much of what I have learned about psychology has come from her and suggested readings. I do not regard psychology as a “soft science” any longer, but more, an often difficult science. In fact, it would be safe to say that at one time I had the same bias that you have. Still, I am no expert. I only live with one.) I jumped in a few times. So I suppose you are being tag teamed a bit…


quote:
ronnywhite:
I don't doubt that the difficulties of diagnosis and understanding mechanisms of treatment as opposed to other branches of medicine result from the complexities of the brain, how it relates to emotional issues, environmental factors etc. But from what I've read, the major breakthrough in the treatment of depression has been Prozac and similar drugs...

Michelle: Major breakthroughs in depression are not just drugs. Early diagnosis and ability to recognize symptoms of various forms of depression have been very helpful. There have been “breakthroughs” with the discovery that some depression is connected to sunlight, for example. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) has been successfully treated with sun lamps.
quote:
ronnywhite:
I'm led to believe they were a major advance, but far from a panacea. It's been noted that they act on only one transmitter among a myriad of them which relate to depression, and many, many others are involved in this complex disorder. It elevates levels of seratonin in all tissues- not just the brain

Michelle: Please cite this. SSRIs don't “elevate” serotonin. In the brain there are neurons. Messages travel along the neurons until they reach a gap, (synapse) and on the other side of the gap is another neuron. The neurons send out neurotransmitter to fill the gap so that the message can keep on going. When the neuron receives it's message the neurons take a little of their neurotransmitter back in…that's the Re-uptake part. That way, the body doesn't waste so much neurotransmitter. And the neuron is able to receive another message faster. Some depressed people have less serotonin and noradrenaline (these are neurotransmitters) to work with. SO, SSRI's or Selective Serotonin Re Uptake Inhibitors slow down the re uptake time so that there is more of that neurotransmitter hanging around for a bit longer. This gives the brain a chance to utilize the neurotransmitter more effectively and it helps the brain produce more so that, eventually, it won't need an SSRI. I have not read anything about elevations in seratonin in all tissues, nor do I know how that would affect a person, good or bad. I'd be interested to read whatcha got on that subject.
quote:
ronnywhite:
…where its antidepressant effects are induced, and the physiological consequences of this (if any) aren't known. My understanding is that depression is a long way from a "curable" point…

Michelle: Psychiatric diseases are rarely spoken of as “Curable” or “in curable.” Mostly spoken of as “treatable.”
quote:
ronnywhite:
I've read that the most common mental illness- and the most serious- is schizophrenia…

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

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ronnywhite
SFN Regular

501 Posts

Posted - 01/02/2006 :  19:14:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send ronnywhite a Private Message
Michelle & Kil-

Thank you for your well-considered comments. I'll respond to some now, I'll try to hit the rest of the points tomorrow night (too much material to adequately cover at the moment.)

Michelle:
SSRIs don't "elevate" serotonin...

As far as I can tell, you thereafter described SSRIs "elevating serotonin." It's just indirectly "elevated"... serotonin is used as you mention to promote certain electrical activities in the CNS, among many other chemicals... it's destroyed by the body, while the body converts an amino acid (tryptophan, I think) into more. The drug inhibits the reuptake of serotonin, and hence allows the levels to increase, or "elevate" (e.g. just this morning, bathtub wouldn't fill because drain-plugger-deallie was busted... I shove sock in drain... sock inhibits reuptake by filling bathwater receptor site causing elevated levels of bathwater.)

Michelle:
Major breakthroughs in depression are not just drugs…

Point taken. That's interesting.

Michelle:
Psychiatric diseases are rarely spoken of as "Curable" or "in curable." Mostly spoken of as "treatable."

And surely they will remain palliatively, and (in some cases) very effectively "treatable" in the same sense that diabetes, and many other serious illness are. If diabetes is carefully monitored and controlled via diet, etc. the effectiveness of the treatment can be extremely good, due to our understanding of the exact mechanism of the disease. I don't know whether the word "curable" can be applied to any psychiatric disorder at all... first, because the mechanisms as such either aren't adequately understood, or in many cases, they aren't understood at all... AND...

Michelle:
They are considered a disease or a disorder because, in most cases, the person suffering from them feels a dis ease. The DSM, the "book" that I'm assuming that you are referring to, has many sections to the diagnostic area. It does not just look at, for example, the symptoms of a disorder but how much those symptoms seem to be affecting the person's life quality. Does the person, for example complain that because of these symptoms they are not able to hold a job? Are they unable to retain relationships? Are they oriented in time and reality? There are a lot more things going on in a psychiatric evaluation besides if someone fits into a "category" as you say.

So far as I can tell, I'd still say it's even questionable as to whether there's anything to understand in many cases, because it appears to me that it's just as likely that by grouping a bunch of idiosyncrasies of human behavior together "as we deem fit"... I have no way of knowing whether we've "discovered" a new state of disease/disorder, or whether we've just "created" or "invented" one for our convenience through "definition" (i.e. Is a propensity to pour too much ethanol down our gullets a "disease/disorder"... or is it just an annoying [and very unhealthy] personality quirk? Are pedophiles "afflicted" with a "disease/disorder"... or are they just people with sociopathic tendencies which manifest in an especially reprehensible, and destructive manner? Could it be that someone drinking too much alcohol for the sake of their health just needs to stop doing so (if such is within their power) just as a person who drives recklessly would be well-advised to do similarly for their own benefit and that of others? For that matter, why not define a "disease/disorder" for that, too... maybe "vehicular recklessness syndrome" and put it in "the book" as well? After all, that's undeniably a deadly disease, right? Could it be that maybe a pedophile is just a scumbag with sexual tastes of a despicable variety who fails to respect the welfare of children, just as a thief might be a person who has a taste for money and fails to respect what others have earned

Ron White
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