It’s always good to get out into the real world, to share my ideas face to face. I was fortunate enough to be invited to give a presentation this past week at the Autism Society of America’s annual national convention: (Mental Illness in ASD – The Elephant in the Room ). It was hard trying to squeeze six hours of material into a 75 minute session, but I managed to cover the key points:
- The bright line between ASD and “mental illness” is a myth.
- DSM-5 perpetuates the “gumball model” of psychiatric diagnosis: A given patient may have one or more discrete disorders, that happen to co-exist. “Co-Morbidity” is the necessary fiction on which this model rests. In reality, disorders shade into one another along a continuum, or undergo metamorphosis over time.
- ASD, Schizophrenia, ADD, Bipolar Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression have shared biological roots. A given genetic defect can give rise to disorders that “look different” on the surface (pleiotropy). Conversely, disorders that look the same on the surface may actually be due to very different underlying genetic mechanisms (phenocopies).
(Click on graph to enlarge.)
Myth and Reality in the etiology and classification of ASD and mental illness Read the rest of this entry »