Friday, October 9, 2015

Only 36% of Psychology Findings Replicable

One of my friends was just diagnosed with a psychological disorder that does not yet exist, her therapist says, but is very likely to be added as an autism spectrum disorder in the DSM-6. It made me smile a little to hear and I realized that I forgot to write anything about this back in August. This NY Times article, "Psychologists Welcome Analysis Casting Doubt on Their Work" reports:

The field of psychology sustained a damaging blow Thursday: A new analysis found that only 36 percent of findings from almost 100 studies in the top three psychology journals held up when the original experiments were rigorously redone.

After the report was published by the journal Science, commenters on Facebook wisecracked about how “social” and “science” did not belong in the same sentence.

Yet within the field, the reception was much different. Along with pockets of disgruntlement and outrage — no one likes the tired jokes, not to mention having doubt cast on their work — there was a sense of relief. One reason, many psychologists said, is that the authors of the new report were fellow researchers, not critics. It was an inside job.

“It’s like we’ve come clean,” said Alan Kraut, the executive director of the Association for Psychological Science, which publishes one of the journals analyzed in the new report. “This kind of correction is something that has to happen across science, and I’m proud that psychology is leading the charge on this.”

My friend was relating to me how her therapist walked her through her diagnosis, including regarding how he had eliminated personality disorder as a possible diagnosis. He explained to her that to diagnose any personality disorder, the person first has to fit into the parent category "personality disorder", and only then (at least officially, or at least apparently) can the mental health professional diagnose you with a specific form of personality disorder. I thought of how my current therapist diagnosed me with personality disorder not otherwise specified with features of ASPD because he said that the ASPD was more developing than fully developed, like a tween I guess. Which I sort of preferred, as it's a much nicer thing to tell people if I was ever required to do so by a police state or something.

I try to keep an open mind about psychology, but it's hard not to think that if you went to a dozen different mental health professionals, you might not get at least several different diagnoses out of the bunch. I'd actually be super curious if someone were to do this as a study -- what sort of agreement do mental health professionals have in their diagnoses in practice. I'm sure it's already been done?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Harm OCD?

I have always had an obsessive streak. My favorite movie is Vertigo, which is all about obsession. My current therapist attributes this to me having features of obsessive compulsive personality disorder (not OCD). It's interesting because I've always thought of my obsessiveness as being a sociopathic trait -- possibly a symptom of hyper focus or other attentional issues -- but he sees it as being somewhat inconsistent with that diagnosis (at least of an ASPD diagnosis). 

Somewhat along those lines, here's the self-report of a youngster who has been diagnosed with Harm OCD (which I had never heard about before) but questions whether there are actually elements of psychopathy about it:

Hi, I'm 13 and I've been reading your blog a lot lately, I think you are the right person to ask.

I know that I can't ask you for too much without paying you, but I hope you at least tell me whether I'm actually psychopathic or I have Harm OCD, I've asked a psychiatrist and he told me that I have Harm OCD

It's a long story but I think that it'll help you to improve your opinion I should tell you everythinhg.

Sorry if there are many mistakes but I'm spanish.
(Is the ability to learn a second language by yourself a psychopathic trait?)

Two months ago I was playing videogames with my friend and he was searching "Scary Videos". He stumbled upon a really scary one, but at the moment I was just scared and nothing else. 
The real problem started when I went to bed, so I had a horrible intrusive thought (Do you need me to tell exactly the thoughts for a better diagnosis?) about my young brother, who sleeps in the same room as me. I started sweating, shaking and crying and wanting to hit my head against the wall until the thoughts left. So the next few days I was worried and searching compulsively about it on the internet, just taking sanity tests.

Also during those days I was overly nice to my family, is that psychopathic?
But in like three days I just woke up and the thoughts didn't seem to be there.

I kept worrying a bit about exactly why I had had those thoughts but I just tried to ignore it.

It was a week later when I was having lunch and I thought 'Have I had these thoughts lately?No'. And then some other intrusive thoughts came in. 
So it was then when I just started impulsively surfing the Internet reading every article and taking every test about psychopathy that I found. I was just so confused because it kinda didn't really fit me but I just kept thinking about it all day long. 
Then it was all more or less the same.

But I found your blog and it was like heaven, I read them and they were pure relief.
But some of my biggest doubts is that sometimes I get graphic intrusive thoughts and sometimes they're just like " I hate this person" when I just don't.

And also taking everything from my past and analisyng them as psychopathic signs
For example: I loved a girl for some years and I didn't ever dare to talk to her, and I just started thinking 'Maybe that's psychopathic' or 'Maybe I didn't love her', while before the thoughts I spent most time  thinking that I should've talked to her and was completely sure that I loved her.

Also lately I've gotten angry very quickly and I just wanted to be alone crying without them noticing, and I started classes today and it has affected me really badly, I'm at school and I just wanna surf the web trying to find out whether I have OCD or actually something horrible.

I have also been having suicide thoughts, but they're not as the intrusive thoughts, they're coherent ideas and actually the only reason keeping me from killing myself is that I don't want my brother grow up in that situation; but then I thought Ïs it better to kill myself so that I make sure I don't hurt anyone but affect his childhood, or stay alive hoping I have OCD and not something worse.

Also I've been wishing to go to a therapist but I don't really know what to tell my parents. Like, it's all been so sudden; before the summer started I just cried monthly because I didn't talk to the girl I love, but when the thoughts came I want to cry every three minutes. 

Most nights I dream about going to therapy and I beg that if there's some god it must either kill me or take the thoughts out of my mind. I haven't had any mental illness in my life, or at least I don't know about having any (maybe I've had some slight depression when I found out that I wouldn't be able to ever talk to my first love (because I changed of school).

Also I've stopped doing some things, I loved watching movies but lately I just can't, I watched two movies other day but no more.

I also have noticed that lately I've been crying a lot because of the death of Robín Williams or Philip Seymour Hoffman or sad news on TV. While I didn't do that often.

Now I'm gonna tell you what I think is the signs that might define me as psychopathic: 
When I was a kid and I got caught doing something bad I would feel guilt, but I would lie so I didn't could get away with it. I also have a high IQ and bedwetted until I was 9.

Can you explain this all?, ask me whatever you want, Will this affect me at school? Am I psychopathic? Is this dangerous? Will I do something bad? How can I tell my parents that I need a therapist? (I've never told anyone about this because I thought it was something worse?) Thanks a lot and if you can help me a bit thanks, thanks and thanks.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Everyone's a little racist

I was thinking the other day about this song, and especially this line "everyone's a little racist sometimes, doesn't mean we go around committing hate crimes." Kind of funny way to think of the difference between what conditions are necessary for some bad thing (racism is probably necessary for hate crimes) versus what is sufficient for hate crimes (not all racists commit hate crimes). Also good to remember that it's easier to judge others for attributes that we probably have in ourselves as well.

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