Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Avoidable Death of Rebecca Riley and GOOD LUCK!

In chapter ten of The Psychopath Test, Jon Ronson finally realizes the dangers of misdiagnosing people with mental disorders, and how to value what makes one disease more or less legitimate than others. He meets with Robert Spritzer, a psychiatrist at Columbia University, who later went on to become an editor of the DSM. It's believed, even by Spritzer, that the DSM falsely diagnoses many people with normal characteristics as having mental disorders, which many pharmaceutical companies benefit from. He also reviews the Rosenhan experiment, where 8 people faked mental disorders. They proved the unreliability of psychiatry. At the end of the chapter, Ronson shows how severely things can be screwed up as the US is misdiagnosing diseases amongst other things. He learns that Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Childhood Bipolar Disorder are the most commonly misdiagnosed disease in America. Ronson believes that the push in diagnosing of diseases is due to society's push for conformity. People feel better about themselves if they have a label for whats wrong with then. He then gives a real life example, the death of a young girl, Rebecca Riley. She was often quieted with her bipolar medication, which her parents then overdosed her with one night as she couldn't fall asleep.
I'm glad that Ronson finally realizes in the last chapter what he's been doing all along. He realizes how dangerous it is to over analyze someone's common characteristics into a mental disorder, or in his case, psychopathy. I'm also glad that Ronson kind of stands up to Bob Hare and tells him whats up about the checklist and it's vagueness. I am kind of surprised, however, that many of the more popular and acknowledged psychiatrists value Hare's checklist as a very powerful tool. I agree with Ronson that most of psychology is guesswork. There really is no way to get inside someone's head and find out exactly what is wrong with them. Overall, I really liked this book. Ronson keeps things interesting by constantly providing new stories and though-provoking questions. I also still think it's really cool that Gary Maier lives in Madison.

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