Friday, May 14, 2010

Youth culture and psychiatric diagnosis

Last week I had a discussion with a collegue about youth culture and the influence of it on the scoringsystems and results of psychiatric diagnostic tests.

Most tests rely on standardised answers and everything which doesn't fit in is considered extreme.

Other tests are scored according to the insights of the person who uses the test, mainly psychologists and those learning to become either a psychologist or psychiatrist.
When that person is not aware of youth culture and it's influences on behaviour of a youngster the resulting diagnosis might be completely wrong, sometimes leading to devastating interferences in the live of the person diagnosed.

One of my sons got the wrong diagnosis of schizoid personality traits (which isn't a complete diagnosis, but that's another matter).
He answered to questions about his future not with the desired plan to finish school, work for a proper diploma which allows him to work professionally, find a job, etc etc.
He answered for instance that he wanted a BMW, HDTV, and iPAD and a villa.

Not-realistic and calling for a strange feeling of aloofment, which should result in a diagnosis on the schizophrenic spectrum, the scorer concluded.

I objected, because it's a standard answer from a certain group of youngsters here in the neighbourhood.
Showing that my son has a strong sense of belonging to that group and identifies with his peers.
Which is sound behaviour for youngsters his age.

It's a pity that the organisation where my son got his diagnosis isn't flexible at all and there's not a strong sense of reflextion on their own behaviour.
I had no choice than to go against the diagnosis, but my son wasn't granted a revision.

Instead he got a prescription of an anti-psychotic drug, and a diagnosis which isn't of help to get him admitted to a school he needs.


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