Imagine that you encounter a child who is suffering from malnutrition. In our western world of syndromes and isms, the child would likely be thought to have an eating disorder. My first questions would be: Does she have an eating disorder or does she not have access to food that she can stomach? Say, you then gave this child some food. Of course you wouldn’t feed them a steak dinner. If a person’s been starved their digestive system wouldn’t be up to the task. You’d have to feed this child simple foods first–rice, broth, steamed vegetables. Over time you could work up to more complex, harder to digest foods. Say that the child puts on weight, related malnutrition disorders disappear, she begins to thrive. Now, would you say she has an eating disorder? She might need a modified diet, perhaps she never will be able to eat that steak dinner, but that is certainly not an eating disorder. That is a modified diet based on the child’s needs.
Likewise, if a child is anxious, do they have an anxiety disorder or is it possible they have real anxieties? I can imagine if I was working a full-time job and didn’t understand 75% of what was going on and had no social network to talk it through with I might be anxious too, worried that at any turn I might be found out and fired. And yet, that is a reality for the learning disabled and ADHD child at school 30 or more hours per week. If the child’s environment is modified to minimize or eliminate the sources of anxiety and the anxiety disappers is it still an anxiety disorder? Or is it simply a recognition that this child needs a modified diet to thrive?
And why is the system set up in such a way that it has to be disorder to get funding? I wouldn’t want to go through life with a host of disorders attached to my name like degrees from the University of Crazy. Introducing Betty Jones, LD, ADHD, OCD.
I call that Obsessive Disorder Labelling Disorder (ODLD). Maybe they can get some funding for that.
(Final note: I loved that when I first typed the tag bureaucracy, I typed it as bureaucrazy.)
What’s your vote? Anxieties or Anxiety Disorder?