Sunday, November 14, 2010

Borderline, feels like I'm going to lose my mind.....thanks, Madge

I'm having a brain fartage weekend where the grey matter has apparently gone on holiday without me.
Got a question, though, to ask all you lovely readers -
Where does autism stop and mental health begin?
Cos I get the whole anxiety disorders, OCD et el are part and parcel of the Spectrum - heck, the level of extra bonus' offered on the Spectrum you'll never see at David Jones or Myers - but where/when exactly does it become mental health?
I ask as a disability service stated they didn't cater for mental health issues, only disabilities.
You and I could sit here until the cows come home discussing how mental illness can be a disability in itself but autism is clearly defined as a 'disability' and a 'mental illness' in some circles.
Soooooo....how abouts them OCD quirks? Disability?
Nahhhhh.
Anxiety higher than the Great Wall of China (and better at keeping rabbits out)? Disability?
Nope.
These aren't disabilities in themselves until they grow to the point where they block activities of daily living.
But they are quite readily found, and accepted, on the mental health side of the ledger.
Autism isn't classed as a mental illness yet it's catered for in many such areas as Child and Adolescent Mental Health service, Mental Health Australia, etc.
Some ASD specific places encourage the implementation of a mental health care plan.
So....when does Autism cross the border into mental illness and when do we get the memo that the whole stigma of mental illness is behind us?

11 comments:

Dan said...

It's a tricky one.

Ultimately you have to remember that in the field of mental health no one actually knows what they are doing (although there are a lot of people who pretend they do) . There are no x-rays or blood tests to be done to help diagnosis.

In our (very imperfect) services what it boils down to is who made contact first.

If someone is already in the Mental health services then usually learning difficulty services are reluctant to get involved. And it's the same the other way around.

None of which answers the question you ask obviously, and is generally crappy.

•´.¸¸.•¨¯`♥.Trish.♥´¯¨•.¸¸.´• said...

I wish the answer to that question was easy. I have two friends both with 4yr olds independently assessed as possible autism ...one thought is was behavioural problems ( diagnosis was a shock & husband is in denial) Other is a teacher had no flipping idea -till preschool pointed it out. She knew her son had severe meltdowns for her and OCD quirks.Then she tells me her almost 11 yr sister is now on anti d's for OCD & unusual quirks (my friend now thinks her sister has autism now too). Both are in early diagnosis stage.

Cheryl D. said...

That is tricky. I think it can be both a disability and a mental illness. My daughter, who is a high-functioning aspie really doesn't seem to have a lot of the mental illness component. So far, she doesn't seem to have much OCD and no anxiety. She's overall pretty happy. So, I think what you deal with would fall into both areas.

River said...

Clearly Autism with all its facets and quirks is a mental health issue and a disability. I just wish both sides, mental health and disability services would stop faffing around and combine their units.
Or perhaps they're having difficulty agreeing because while autism is a permanent disability, some high functioning autistics can live what is called a normal existence, and while some mental health issues are permanent,(lifelong depression, foetal alcohol syndrome, retardation), others are brought on by external circumstances such as injury or illness and can be cured.

DQ said...

I agree with others who have commented here that autism is both a mental health issue and a disability.
When looking at conditions such as OCD, anxiety, these need to reach a point where clinically, the level of impairment of everyday functioning is what is used to determine when intervention (medication, usually) is required.
The challenge is that often services are very specific as to who they can help. Usually this is because their professionals are only experienced in one area. There needs to be more cross-over services for ASD clients.
But the reality is far less satisfactory, as you well know.
I think ASD for our family is a complex mix of behaviour management and mental health management. There are very few days where we only deal with straight ASD challenges - anxiety is almost always present.

@jencull (jen) said...

Really good point, there should be some line of seperation because the underlying causes are different? BUT seeing as nobody really knows much about how autism/aspergers or the brain works I guess we will have to wait.

Claire Louise said...

Hi I'm new to your blog and a little shocked I haven't read it before! Why? Because it fantastic! How is you're blogging brain on a holiday? It's in my opinion that your question was one so many of us have thought to ask but never quite knew how to put it? You've just summed up a question that I really want answers for too. We are UK based and my eldest child is 10yrs old and he has a diagnosis of Aspergers. Though his high up on the spectrum, lately his regressed! Sadly problems at school are huge and if you ask me... It's these problems in school that are causing my child to regress. You see when you touched on the topic of OCD I had to join in. You see I suffered from age 7, I was a little girl who saw a smoke alarm ad and was scared for life (Was our sofa engulfed in flames on this ad! " Well it wasn't ours, but it was the exact same" As a child that does something to you. The mind is a powerful tool and the little of things may tip a person towards a mental health problem. My son is now acting very OCD and is performing rituals as a way to void of the bad:( His asd gives him very OCD traits but these are different due to the sheer fact he enjoys these other things like obsessing over buses and storing his bus maps in a box within a box, within a box lol. Sadly he doesn't enjoy these other rituals and he seems to becoming very tired. We also have huge issues that mostly all relate to anxiety. Well, my son is under Camhs in the UK and we received a letter containing a copy of a report for a statement and it states that the finding were that my son showed No signs of poor mental health but displayed many behaviours that are challenging, worrying and obsessional and these are in context with his Aspergers. That's when I stopped and asked myself, When is Autism considered mental health?

Ps fab blog (found the link over at the blog welcome to the mad house)
Claire.x

Nikki aka Widdle Shamrock said...

It's ridiculous.

Once again, all you want is HELP and all that is given is bureaucratic clap trap.

Maybe just wait until the OCD's and anxiety turn the lad into a axe welding psycho, and goes on a killing spress. Then he might get some help and will be used as an example of how bad autism is and how we need to find a cure and how we need to stop vacinating our children. Oh and Mother will be blamed.

(Helpful, aren't I? )

Ro said...

Thanks, everyone :)
Yes, the two merge and cross over so much it's difficult to pinpoint but unfortunately the govt depts will only see the 'bits' they're qualified to deal with, no matter if the other 'bits' go hand in hand with them!

Happy Elf Mom said...

I think we'll "get the memo" when mental and medical health are covered under the same policy and you can get your coverage questions answered by the same bunch of people. When mental and medical health are treated as the same thing.

BTW, it bothers me that optical and dental coverage must have different insurances as well. Are brains, eyes, and teeth NOT part of the whole physical body?? WHYYYY do we need to buy different coverage?

No sense.

Mistress B said...

Great post and interesting discussion...

And one of the reasons I think we are going to have trouble with an assessment. They can't seem to make up their minds if the anxiety amplifies behaviours or if the developmental delay is as the root of the anxiety. Sigh. Chicken or the egg all over again.

Just keep calling them all until someone caves !