Mental Health Awareness Last Post

It’s June 1, and Mental Health Awareness Month is over officially, but I have 3 more topics to add to my list before I go back to the promised second part of my posts on Money and Therapy…In a year it will be Mental Health Awareness Month again, and the DSM V will be just coming out at the same time.

8. Gender Dysphoria: It seems that the DSM V is getting rid if the category “gender identity disorder” and substituting Gender Dysphoria, which they describe as:
A. A marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, of at least 6 months duration, as manifested by 2* or more of the following indicators: [2, 3, 4]**
1. a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and primary and/or secondary sex characteristics (or, in young adolescents, the anticipated secondary sex characteristics) [13, 16]
2. a strong desire to be rid of one’s primary and/or secondary sex characteristics because of a marked incongruence with one’s experienced/expressed gender (or, in young adolescents, a desire to prevent the development of the anticipated secondary sex characteristics) [17]
3. a strong desire for the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics of the other gender
4. a strong desire to be of the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender)
5. a strong desire to be treated as the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender)
6. a strong conviction that one has the typical feelings and reactions of the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender)

B. The condition is associated with clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning, or with a significantly increased risk of suffering, such as distress or disability**

There is more, but if you’re interested you can check it out on their website. The interesting part is that the B category about impairment in functioning was added, and I think it’s a big deal because you could have all 6 of Category A, but if it’s not causing distress or impairment in functioning, then you are simply a healthy transgendered individual, and do not have some sort of mental illness…

9. I think PTSD and depression are still very separate categories in this new DSM, and I think from my observations and experience as a therapist that many people who suffer from depressive episodes have a significant traumatic event that sets off the onset of depression and related symptoms, so perhaps there could be a form of depression that is described as a PTSD
induced depression… Under the PTSD diagnosis there is reference to depressive types of symptoms:
“3. persistent, distorted blame of self or others about the cause or consequences of the traumatic event(s)
4. persistent negative emotional state (e.g., fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame)
5. markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities
6. feelings of detachment or estrangement from others
7. persistent inability to experience positive emotions (e.g., unable to have loving feelings, psychic numbing)”

However it still seems important for there to be a specific subtype of depression as induced by trauma, which I don’t think is clearly outlined yet…

10. Why are mental health and mental illness still viewed as so separate from “physical illness”? Is it really different? Is the mind so separate from the body? What difference would it make to our society if the two were not so separate? Would it change anything about health insurance coverage? More importantly would it change how we view illness and health?

So I end on a basic question we can’t really answer fully, but it seems important to pose these types of questions…

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