All Tip, No Iceberg: A New Way to Think About Mental Illness

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From The Conversation: The search for a single, identifiable cause underlying each mental disorder has yielded very few useful results. New research suggests that a network approach to mental disorder, which focuses full attention on symptoms themselves instead of underlying causes, may prove more effective.

“The network approach to mental disorder, developed by Dutch psychologists Denny Borsboom, Angelique Cramer and colleagues, represents each symptom as a node in network. It draws links between these nodes to reveal the symptoms that are most strongly related, such as which ones influence other symptoms most powerfully and extensively.

For example, loss of appetite and weight loss are both symptoms of major depression. If researchers found they were closely related, and appetite loss drives weight loss, then an arrow would be drawn from the former to the latter. By this means a group of dynamically related symptoms can be represented by a network diagram.”

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3 COMMENTS

  1. “Insomnia is a symptom of depression” so treat depression is what kicked off my psychiatry pill nightmare. Then its anxiety (self explanatory) ADHD and bipolar the latter 2 I knew nothing about like most people, I knew nothing about any of this “mental illness” had no interest in it and was never around it or talked of it or knew anyone that “had” it. All I wanted was a go to sleep pill. Got 10 years of hell.

    I remember getting told ADD or ADHD in the office and my thoughts were what the heck you say I have what the special ed kids have ? Then its explained an I am like I guess so. Then I was introduced to the amphetamine high, its awesome till it turns destructive. Pain pills screw that “nod out” how boring Dexedrine Focalin lets party.

    All I wanted was a pill to go to sleep, I am not tired till way after midnight. I knew doctors had pills that worked better then that over the counter stuff. The world is set up for morning people and cheery and crap at 7 am jobs all want early birds.

    Stimulants , Benzos, Remeron Zyprexa then psych hospitals sickness anxiety attack hell withdrawal hell a dozen times. All I wanted was a pill for sleep.

    Life was good till I trusted those quacks stole everything send me to hell for 10 years.

  2. The basic problem starts from treating “symptoms” as “disorders.” Giving up on the idea that we can “treat” an emotional condition without figuring out what’s behind it, whether mental, physical, or spiritual, would be a great first step toward a rational approach. I guess this is better in that it at least doesn’t denigrate the person with the “symptoms,” but you’d think the lack of results for “causes” would lead an intelligent person to abandon the labeling process that gave us “disorders” that don’t have unitary or even similar causes.