Monday, December 1, 2008

How Crazy Are We?

Plenty crazy, according to the Seattle Times:

Almost one in five young American adults has a personality disorder that interferes with everyday life, and even more abuse alcohol or drugs, researchers reported Monday in the most extensive study of its kind.

The disorders include problems such as obsessive or compulsive tendencies and anti-social behavior that can sometimes lead to violence. The study also found that fewer than 25 percent of college-aged Americans with mental problems get treatment.

One expert said personality disorders may be overdiagnosed. But others said the results were not surprising since previous, less rigorous evidence has suggested mental problems are common on college campuses and elsewhere.
I'm reminded of something I once read about from the world of art regarding the style of a certain era, wherein they would paint children as being little adults, the notion being that's all the kids really were. I see a faint echo of that here; by dressing up college kids as mentally ill, you're ignoring the fact that they're, well, college kids. Narcissistic, impulsive, compulsive, obsessive, and overconsumptive, but college kids nonetheless.

I think, too, that if you cast your net too wide you're doing a real disservice to those who actually need the help.

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