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Les étiquettes psychiatriques sont des  descriptions, pas des explications. (Edward Welch)

Psychiatric labels are descriptions, not explanations. (Edward Welch)

This article is taken from the book It's the brain's fault! by Edward Welch

Have you noticed that you have a different effect when you say, "I have attention deficit disorder (ADD)" and "I find it very difficult to pay attention to lingering verbal presentations? "? In a way, the psychiatric diagnosis seems to have more authority than the mere description of the problem. You suffer from ADD, while the other statement describes your behavior . However, the difference between the two statements is not very important. The psychiatric definition of ADD is longer, but there is really no difference between the two explanations: they describe the symptoms without explaining the cause.

TDA sums up what a child does , without telling us why they do it. The difference between the two is significant. For example, if I asked you to tell me about a car that you just saw going full speed, a descriptive response (which is "what") would be, "It was a green car that was going too fast." An explanatory answer (which corresponds to "why") would examine the fundamentals of combustion engines, the mechanics of the automatic transmission, and driver motivation.

Psychiatric descriptions touch on the what of a child's behavior, without touching the why . Sometimes the descriptions can be helpful and highlight symptoms that we haven't looked at previously. In other words, instead of describing a green car, you would say, "It was a green Ford Taurus station wagon with a 2.0 liter engine, which was traveling almost 120 km / h in a 70 km zone. / h ”. That's more descriptive than saying, "A green car that goes too fast" (and that sounds smarter), but that's still just a description.

The description of TDA is circumspect. If you want to understand what specific behaviors are contributing to your child's poor performance in school, the list of symptoms associated with the term ADD may reveal behaviors that you had not previously examined. However, this descriptive category is still limited in its usefulness.

Let's say someone asks you, "Why is your son always squirming in his chair? "And you say," Because he has ADD, "that would be like saying," He squirms in his chair because he moves a lot. " For most people, that wouldn't be a satisfactory answer. You would answer the question "why?" With a descriptive response.

Psychiatric literature generally does not make this distinction explicit. Most discussions of ADD and other similar psychiatric problems assume that the descriptions correspond to a medical diagnosis, a medical cause . The popular assumption is that these behaviors have underlying biological causes, but this assumption is unfounded. Although there are dozens of biological theories to explain ADD, there are currently no physical markers for them or medical tests to detect their presence. Food additives, problems with childbirth, inner ear problems, and brain differences are some of the theories about what causes ADD. They are all intriguing, but so far not supported by medical research.Each theory may be valid in individual cases, but there is no biological theory that can systematically explain symptoms At this point, it cannot be said that someone is suffering from depression, mania, schizophrenia or ADD the same way you would say someone has contracted a virus. If we did, we would ignore the heart.

Psychiatric terms summarize a group of descriptive phrases. You might think that the careful description of the problems is innocent and without prejudice, but the psychiatric vocabulary is not. The terms are usually laden with assumptions about physical causes, without distinguishing between problems with the heart and those with the body. This does not mean that we should boycott psychiatric terminology. It just means that we have to examine it with Bible glasses.

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