Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mis-Information in Psychology

In the course of reading about this course and relating pseudoscience and the psychology behind it. I started thinking about how these concepts can relate to each other even within the realm of peoples understanding of mental health in general. While considering some of the topics in the book it seems some of the blame lies with misinformation. Uncorroborated rumors and untrue factoids spread quite quickly in the information age. A quick perusal of the magazine rack at any store will give you an idea of how much makes it to print, magazines on the same subject will have wildly different takes on the same subject largely from unverified sources. With all that makes it to print, its hard to imagine the compendium of non-sense one might find on the internet.

Reigning this back into the subject matter of psychology at large and even the simple understanding of psychiatric disorders and diagnoses. Within the last 40 years, sciences knowledge about how the brain works and what goes on in mental disorders has greatly increased, unfortunately the general public has only received the same information in spurts and bursts and generally don't get the whole picture. A good example with this is autism spectrum disorders. While the number of the affected increasing it would seem that the disease itself was spreading but that is not the case. This single fact might lead someone without all the proper information to claim it was an epidemic of disease. This is just one case of the problems presented with unscientific thinking on scientific problems.

Another problem that seems to generally present itself is people will not take counsel with someone familiar with the psychiatric or psychological field when seeking help with associated problems. Many parents take their children to pediatricians instead of a mental health professional, when they seem to have problems with hyperactivity or attention. Many people will go themselves to standard practitioners to dole out anti-depressants instead of taking a hand in talk therapy or any other therapeutic actions. One of the many reasons this is bad is because many mental health disorders have overlapping symptoms, and what might seem like one issue could be another issue entirely. A diagnosis of ADHD first involves ruling out several other disorders including emotional disorders and autism, a professional would need to be familiar with this diseases as well to rule them out. To often people think pills will fix everything as this is generally presented in media.

Adult psychological disorders suffer from the same problems frequently as well. Several disorders can have overlapping symptoms. The rate of diagnoses has also increased in this field as more than simply the most severe cases are treated. It is a wonder there have not already been claims of epidemic with adult psychiatric disorders.

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