Wednesday, August 13, 2014
The Effect of Weak Language
One more thing on Robin Williams, then I will leave it alone, at least publicly.
It seems to me that we have chosen a weak path in our choice of language when it comes to mental "illness". I'm assuming this is out of some societal or self-placating fear of confronting our uncertainties on the topic. Whatever the cause, it should be reconsidered.
In the 1980's the medical community shifted their language from the rather spelling-bee sounding "hyperglycemic" to the much more matter-of-fact, and scary sounding "pre-diabetic" to name the exact same medical condition. This is one clear indication that at least some parts of the medical community understand that use of language can have clinical benefits.
However, when confronting the deadly syndrome that ends the life of so many, now including Robin Williams, we tenaciously stick to the weak "depression". The reason "depression" is a weak clinical word is because it doubles as an everyday word. We've all been "depressed" from time to time. Very few of us need medical help.
Can I suggest that it is finally time for us to change our language? Medically-serious depression needs its own "pre-diabetes". Let me offer a starting point: Acute Dissociative Perception Syndrome.
"Robin, it seems to me as your doctor that your depression may be getting worse."
"Robin, it seems to me that your symptoms indicate that you may have moved from simple depression into having Acute Dissociative Perception Syndrome, which is a different thing altogether and needs different treatment."
I know the medical community can do better than that. Anyone who knows how I can share my thoughts with them, please let me know.
Posted by Eddie Proulx