Saturday, September 14, 2013

Witch Hunt........

Hellooooooo, guess who's back to blogging? That's right this girl!

That being said, I promise to never ever leave you hanging like that again for such a long period of time. At least not without a heads up that I may be offline for almost two weeks.

I read something last night that just really burned my biscuits. The article can be found here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/02/spanking-children-linked-to-mental-health-disorders_n_1643422.html

With excerpts like this:
          Spanking or hitting children as a means of punishment may increase their risk of mental disorders later in life, a new study finds.
        Among adults, 2 to 7 percent of cases of mental disorders — including major depression, anxiety disorder and paranoia — are attributable to physical punishment that occurred during childhood, the researchers said.
        The study did not include people who experienced maltreatment as children, such as such as physical or sexual abuse, or emotional neglect.
        The study adds to a growing body of research showing that physical punishment in childhood can lead to poor mental health in adulthood, including increased risk of depression, suicidal thoughts and alcohol abuse.
        The findings suggest that eliminating all physical punishment of children would reduce the prevalence of mental disorders, the researchers said.


The article goes on to say that they got the research by asking 34,600 participants of the age twenty and above in 2004-2005, if they remember being hit, slapped, pushed, shoved, or grabbed as a child by their parents or any adult that lived in the home. 6-7 percent said that they had experienced this sometimes, often, or very often in childhood, without other forms of maltreatment.

Those who experienced physical punishment were 59 percent more likely to have alcohol dependence, 41 percent more like to have depression and 24 percent more likely to have panic disorder, compared with those who received no physical punishments, the researchers said.

What a load of bologna! First off, I have a problem with their definition of physical punishment. Slapping, grabbing, shoving, and hitting (I am not referring to spanking) is more often than not, actual abuse. It is certainly abusive behavior. I have no idea how they can try to say otherwise. I find it hard to believe that physical abuse is going on and that is the only form of abuse with it. People that beat their kids are also likely to be verbally abusive as well and sometimes even sexually abusive.  And make no mistake, if you are shoving your kid around and punching him, that is not punishment. That is being abusive! I have a different opinion on spanking, I believe if done without anger, without yelling and cursing, and without beating the child , it can be helpful. I was spanked and it did not hurt me as an adult. It also made me a better person, I believe personally. My parents never beat me, cursed at me, slapped my face, or left welts. Just a discussion of what I did wrong a quick spanking and we were finished. Never in anger. You don't have to agree with my sentiments but please don't make up ridiculous research that has absolutely no founding or contains no actual facts in it.

 This so called "research" is just ridiculous. How can you garner what mental illness you can derive from the (non abusive) punishments you received as a child? Anxiety disorder? I have that, but it wasn't because of anything my parents did. I was born with it.

Here is my biggest issue with this research. To have an experiment with reliable data, you have to have a control group. I went to Science class. I know that is one of the first things you learn is to have a control for research or experiments. Where is the control group? You can not have a control group of people. It is impossible. Everyone has different genetics, different life experiences, different reactions, different medical histories, and different backgrounds. No one is exactly the same.

How can you tell what mental illness a person will get from their childhood without knowing the history of their family background. Was there a history of mental illness in the family? Not just institutionalization, because many family members suffer and never speak about what they are going through. Some mental illnesses are completely genetic. They can't rule genetics out because currently they have been unable to effectively identify all of the genetic markers for every single mental illness out there.

They aren't specific about just what kind of physical punishment they are referring to or how severely it is meted out. Are we talking about a slight slap on the hand like when you tap a toddler on the hand lightly and say, " no, don't touch that," or a slap that leaves the skin angry and welted? Are we referring to grabbing a child lightly by the shoulder to stop them from wandering off or are referring to yanking the child around by his earlobe? Just what severity are really discussing here? There are no specifics in this article.

And my final complaint about this whole article is simply this. The last statement that the deposing of physical punishment will decrease mental illness in adults. This just promotes yet again, another source of stigma. It refers that mental illness is caused solely by our punishments as a child. It places blame directly on care givers and parents with no exception to the many mental illness that are genetic, hereditary, and caused from brain trauma. It simply lumps them all together under a fictitious banner and people will believe that. Yes abuse causes some mental illness. It can cause PTSD and DID. It can cause many issues not limited to just mental illness as well.  Saying that you get depression just because your parents disciplined you and only because of that is crazy. How many participants had preexisting mental illnesses and were depressed from having those already. The article forgot to mention that depression is high in those that suffer from other mental illnesses. The article didn't mention the fact that alcoholism can be predisposed as well. Nor did it identify that fact that mental illnesses are all different and therefore can not be lumped together in such a way that they seem to be the same. Panic disorder is not a mental illness in itself but it is the term of several anxiety disorders such as but not limited to GAD, OCD, PTSD, SAD....the list goes on and on. Not all of these are caused from trauma.

And for my final argument I would like to leave you with the actual math of the percentages they like to quote here. Because when people use a percentage it tends to sound very scary and more pronounced than it actually is.

Of the 281,421,906 people in the US in 2005 57.7 million people claimed to suffer from mental illness.This article claims 2-7 percent claimed to have mental illness due to physical punishment but not abuse from their care givers. That would be about 1154000 as 2 percent and 4039000 at seven percent. I won't even go into the fact that 2 and seven percent seems like a huge difference in percentages. Apparently they were unable to narrow it down it any further than a 5 percent gap.
They had 34,600 participants for their study and found that 6 percent "remember" being physically punished which is 2076 people. Of those 6 percent (2076 people) 59%  were more likely to have alcohol dependence (1224 people), 41% to suffer from depression (851 people), 24%
 suffer from panic disorder (498 people). Keep in mind that every person in this research is different, has different economic circumstances, different family dynamics, and different genetics. I fear that we garner no real answers on mental illness from this poor excuse of a research experiment that probably cost thousands of dollars to research. I fear that if anything this will shame and stigmatize more people with mental illness. This will be yet another catalyst for people to judge us or try to place blame on our loved ones. Many of us do suffer from mental illness that stems from abuse and that makes this article even more maddening. As if they are trying to minimize the horror abuse victims go through and the pain they suffer with mental illness afterwards as just a common thing or something everyone goes through. Not to mention the article is clearly one sided in it's original opinion and ideals before the research was ever conducted. Set out to find what you are wanting and you will find what you are looking for, eventually. This is not an article about mental illness or in anyway a support for those who suffer from mental illness. This is an article that is effectively a witch hunt.
And shame on them for it.

Neurotic Nelly

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