Saturday, December 22, 2012

Diagnosis And Treatment

I have stayed away from the whole Adam Lanza issue because I know the information I would want to comment intelligently on him is not available to me.  You need to know a lot before you can offer an opinion.  I think people can comment intelligently on general issues or surrounding issues without knowing much about Adam and his mother, but I have so few folks I trust on this that I don't find it worth the energy.

Really, what would be the point?  We pretend we can know enough to pass some law or settle some narrative in our own brains, and that makes us feel better.  But these events are so rare that studying them is impossible.  We find that an unusual percentage of them have hazel eyes (or whatever), so we start following that rabbit trail.  But "hazel" is hard to define and measure, and we start to remember that there are millions of people with hazel eyes who aren't violent.  Horrible. Things. Happen. Whole countries go insane for unclear reasons - how do we hope to explain why one individual does?

Still, there are those whose general information is good enough that they can offer you something valuable.  Retriever knows a good deal more than I here, and she commented at length over at Dr. X's Free Associations. Notice that even here, however, she does not so much tell us what did happen as correct conclusions that people are jumping to.  There is a lot of what-mom-did-wrong being discussed, and Retriever points out that some odd-looking actions may have very reasonable explanations.

I don't think you will know more about Adam Lanza or his mom.  But you will get some info about the world they lived in and how that influences behavior.  And you'll get a reminder not to jump to conclusions as well.


terri said...

I read retriever's comment and think it has a lot of truth in it. I have been troubled by how easily everyone falls into blaming Nancy Lanza. The fact that. She had those types of weapons seems like the only legitimate criticism in my mind. Although even that could be blamed on the inability to see that her son could be so murderous. Maybe she might have feared for herself, but if Adam had never talked about harming others she might have only worried about him hurting himself.'s always the mother' s fault...isn't it? :-(

Personally, I view the whole thing as incredibly tragic for all involved. Tragic that Adam Lanza felt so angry, rageful, and broken that he wanted to hurt as many people as possible and then take his own life. Tragic that his mother was probably completely overwhelmed with a mentally ill adult son, having no real support, beyond financial support. Tragic that so many innocent people are bearing the transference of all that pain and anger from the Lanzas to their own families.

Dubbahdee said...

I'm picking up memes around the prescription of anti-depressants to young people. There have been documented instances of anti-depressants being disapproved for children and teens for reason of causing depression and violence. I have NO sense of whether this holds water. I'm not hearing it on MSM -- but knocking around other channels.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I don't know if Adam Lanza was appropriately prescribed antidepressant medications, obviously. But who goes seeking treatment for depression? Depressed people. Who do doctors try to fix? Broken people.

My uncle sent me one of those "other channel" comments on the topic. 100,000,000 people on antidepressants - how many kill people? And even among those who do, was it the medication that caused it.

So much of the commentary during tragedies is an expression of people's belief that "someone should have done something. this was solvable." I think we are programmed to believe that, because it improves our survival rate. But that doesn't make it true, just useful.

ChemProf said...

It is fascinating to me those who know the most about mental health are quick to point out why changes to that field would be difficult and probably wouldn't have stopped this, but are also quick to say that gun law changes (about which they clearly know little/noting) would have helped a lot.

My favorite was the comment that gun owners should have to submit to regular psychological evaluation, when given the attitudes expressed about guns, it was fairly clear that anyone who wanted to own a gun would immediately fail such an evaluation, at least from the recommender.

Sam L. said...

Well, if there are 12-20 million illegal immigrants, and we can't deport all of them, cow could we possible get rid of 300 (est.) million firearms?

Gun banners want to be safe from us, but not for us to be safe from them and criminals.