In journalism “burying the lede” means hiding the main or most important point among distracting details.

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When Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus began a system of labelling and identifying plants it made a lot of sense. There were millions of species, and naming them and organizing them into an evolutionary hierarchy helped us to understand plants, and eventually animals, as never before. The names are unique, sometimes descriptive, other times more whimsical, or even done just to give some obscure scientist a bit of immortality. Keep in mind, we weren’t trying to fix the plants, or cure them, just hang a name on them.

The modern field of mental health—I have to laugh when I use that phrase to describe either psychiatry or psychology—does an excessive amount of labelling. But unlike Carl Linnaeus, these are fields that are supposed to be helping and healing the multitude of conditions that they have named over the years. And yet the only thing that seems to be happening is that more so-called mental conditions are identified and named. While you might imagine the scientists of old studying a variety of plants in a lab, or tromping though the wild seeking to discover other species, the psychs do no such scientific methodology at all. And to date, they have not cured a single condition despite labelling over 500 of them.

If I didn’t know better, I might assume that labelling and categorizing WAS the only job of the psychs. If so, I could pat them on the back for a job well done. And like Linnaeus, we could canonize a few of them for leading the way.

But unfortunately labelling various mental and emotions states and giving them important sounding names does exactly nothing for the people who get stuck with such labels. One could even make the case that these labels might do great harm. Certainly more harm than good. To say nothing of what follows the label.

I once tutored a child of 11, whose mother was desperate to help him. He was a quiet, sad young boy, introverted, and doing poorly in school. After a few unsuccessful sessions with math, I knew something else was wrong. As it turned out he had been labelled for learning disability, and some moron, also known as a school psychologist, had explained that he had something wrong with his brain. Since that moment the boy was afraid that he would die. Had he not come to me I’m certain he would have been put on mind-altering drugs that would have ruined his life. Instead, I told him he wasn’t going to die and that there was nothing wrong with his brain. The change was startling. He had a few more sessions, learned quickly, and needed no more tutoring. When I saw him several years later he was bright as ever.

Fact: labelling young minds can destroy lives. And there are so many labels.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (latest edition: DSM-5-TR, published in March 2022) is the go-to book for the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders, the holy bible of so-called mental disease. All this despite there being no medical tests that scientifically prove any of it, and nothing is ever cured. Think of that, 947 pages. Page after page of labels and diagnoses, all voted into existence. That’s right, disorders are voted into existence by psychiatrists. And not a single cure anywhere to be found. In fact, it is deemed illegal to cure anything.

With all the variations, there are now over 500 possible disorders to choose from. Dozens each in categories like anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, dissociative disorders, sexual disorders, sleep disorders, eating disorders and more. Phobias alone run over 100. Too many to name them all, but here’s a Whitman sampler. Popular fears include the number 17, buttons, cooking, eyes, leaves, the colors red, purple, yellow or black, Hungarians, the number 4, books, babies, phone calls, standing, sitting or walking, balloons, knees, clocks, food, water and the wind. Add to that 100 fears of specifically named insects, animals and even plants.

The latest update to the DSM has improvements and additions. What started fifty years ago with homophobia, now includes Islamophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, fatphobia and whorephobia, all requiring treatment. Yes, whorephobia is a thing. It is the fear of hookers, I’m sorry, of genital custodians. And what once was PTSD, has turned into a long list called Trauma and Stressor Related disorders. While I still haven’t figured out what childhood behaviors would not be considered ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, we now have the even more confusing Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, added without intended irony, in a section called More Precise Criteria. That’s DMDD to the professionals out there. I don’t think I can any take any more precision.

Terms like “racialized” and “ethnoracial” have been invented to further confuse identities in the woke world of socially constructed everything. Words like minority, majority, non-White, Caucasian and Latino are out, replaced with Latin X and Person of Color, all to avoid labelling confusions and invented stigmas. Hah.

An Ethnoracial Equity and Inclusion Work Group was created, either to make sure socially oppressed groups get their fair share of labels, or that they don’t get labelled. I’m not quite sure which. But I can guarantee more mental disorders for non-persons of color (that would be whites) will be coming. You think I’m kidding? Whiteness itself is now a disorder.

Here’s a bit from an official NIH site. I had to check five times because I thought it surely was a joke. Apparently not. I quote, just so you don’t think I am exaggerating. “Whiteness is a condition one first acquires and then one has—a malignant, parasitic-like condition to which ‘white’ people have a particular susceptibility. Parasitic Whiteness renders its hosts’ appetites voracious, insatiable, and perverse. These deformed appetites particularly target nonwhite peoples. Once established, these appetites are nearly impossible to eliminate. There is no known cure.” Are you dazed and confused yet?

There is such obsession with labels. I think that should be a disorder. It could be called namephobia, the fear of wrong names. To go along with pronounphobia, the fear of being mis-pronouned. And genderphobia, the fear of being misgendered.

I am reminded of the classic tale of the three blind men who come across an elephant. One grabs the tail and declares the elephant to be a rope, the second feels a leg and proclaims the elephant a tree, and the third grasping the trunk says it is a snake.

Don’t be fooled by the pseudo-scientific idea that coming up with impressive sounding labels is somehow important to handling mental health. In real medicine, when you need to distinguish between bacterial vs viral infection it matters a lot. In that case, the doctor is actually going to cure a malady with treatment. Recognizing a broken radius vs a broken ulna goes a long way toward making the proper repair. But in mental health there are never any cures. Labelling just sells more drugs. The worldwide sales of psychotropic drugs have topped $80 billion per year.

What’s worse, some things need no cure. They are developmental phases, or idiosyncrasies. But labelling them as defects certainly disables a person, in his own and in others’ minds. You might call it the contagion of false illness spread by the doctors themselves, a manufactured illness having no other reality than that pumped into it.

And other labels that might refer to an actual trouble do nothing but hang a label around someone’s neck, at best a millstone of disability to weigh them down with a severity they didn’t feel, and at worst a push toward the inevitable mental health drug treatment. Mental health drug treatment. Now there’s another phrase deserving a ridiculing laugh. That is, if the drug treatments weren’t so harmful.

When Psychiatry married Big Pharma, the union produced a Frankenstein monster of an industry. It has gotten progressively worse through the decades, with more than 77 million Americans now taking mind-altering brain-damaging drugs, including 6 million minors. Over 200,000 babies are given one or more of these drugs. The zombie apocalypse is closer than you might think.

To make matters worse—and you might get the idea that making things worse is the actual intention—these drugs offer no cure, only suppress symptoms, and always seem to come with a long list of potential side effects.

Those always-present side effects also beg the question of intention. You would think the geniuses researching these drugs would manage to hit one now and then without harmful side effects. But that never seems to happen. And yet, there are many regular medications that actually cure with virtually no bad side effects.

So, to summarize, labelling is certainly confusing, often stigmatizing, and never leads to a cure. The drugs so readily offered as help have lists of side effects that would send even the mildest hypochondriac into catatonic shock.

Rather than voting for more labels to stick on people, perhaps we could simply recognize that people are different, and let them live. And couldn’t we just call kids, kids, and let them grow up? I vote yes.

And there you have it.

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