Psych Student Syndrome, the DSM, and How this Ended in Baked Goods

The aftermath of this baking blitz.

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

– Jiddu Krishnamurti

Before you start reading this post, you should know that I may have ADHD, OCD, multiple anxiety disorders, and I may have discovered a few phobias I didn’t know I had before the last few weeks.

I don’t actually, but see problem is that I have Psychology Student Syndome (PSS). Which is the psychology version of Medical Student Syndrome. I will never forget the day my first year applied psych professor warned us as we read the overviews of the classes of psychological disorders to not start self-diagnosing.

Which I didn’t until about 5 minutes later, when… OH MY GOD! I’VE GOT OCD??!?!?

Fortunately other than the minor blip I stopped that nasty habit.

For a while.

Until Psychopathology. And then you really start picking up on random symptoms that you recognize lie within your behaviour repertoire, cognitive habits, or problem areas. For a while there I was almost convinced I had early onset Alzheimer’s. REALLY early onset. All because I kept forgetting things at home and losing things inside my house. Yeah, it was really bad.

I calmed myself down after the course was over, until last week when we started discussing ADHD in my Disorders of Children and Adolescents class. All of a sudden every time I glanced away from the textbook, ironically, the chapter on ADHD, I got lost in a sea of thoughts where I recalled every time I got distracted reading the textbook, or forgot to respond to someone’s text or email.

I actually was at the point where I contemplated going to my doctor. I spent the entire weekend convincing myself that despite the fact that I couldn’t focus on the readings to save my life, that I did not have symptoms of inattention at the ADHD level.

I am hoping that somewhere in grad school they will convert me into a certified sane person. Or at least will teach me how to recognize when I have officially lost my mind versus just think I have. Who knows by the time I graduate the definition of half the mental disorders may have changed.

Did you know that in the first two editions of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the Bible of Psychology) actually classed homosexuality as “sociopathic personality disturbance”? This wasn’t changed until 1974, when it was modified to “sexual orientation disturbance.” Whatever that means. And before you go blaming psychology for this – it was really a symbol of the current cultural attitudes.

The first attempt at gather statistics on the mentally ill was the 1840 census. It listed a single category – “idiocy/insanity” – apparently being stupid was synonymous with crazy which was synonymous with “not like us”. I should check with Merriam Webster on that one. The last system used by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) prior to the DSM, consisted of 22 categories (1917), and when the DSM was first released in 1952, it was only 130 pages with 106 mental disorders.



I found this on Twitter a few weeks ago  - thanks @Runs4Coffee

I found this on Twitter a few weeks ago – thanks @Runs4Coffee

Today, the newly published and highly controversial DSM-5, has 947 pages, and over 300 mental disorders, including 15 new disorders. Including “Caffeine Withdrawal.” Crap. There’s another disorder on the list. Though apparently this, as well as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, is on the “we still have to study this one” list. Also added to the DSM-5 is  “Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder” which to me sounds like “excessive temper tantrum disorder” but I haven’t read the research yet so no one yell at me yet. I mean the changes I am sure are good. Except the fact that none of my professors are willing to use the DSM-5, and insist on sticking with the DSM-IV-TR. Because that’s a good sign.


If you’re curious about some of the other disorders added: check out either the APA website, or this article from the Wall Street Journal.

So needless to say, it has been an interesting and mildly stressful couple of weeks. October  is also midterm month. And Grad School Applications month. Which means it is also Beg-and-plead-with-random-strangers-in-an-attempt-to-secure-grad-school month. And Scholarships Application month. So all together, if you’ve followed me since the beginning or hit up the archives, this spells baking. Lots and lots of baking.

On the menu this week? Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins and Oatmeal Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies.

The aftermath of this baking blitz.

The aftermath of this baking blitz.

With Turkey Day coming I’m working on my hollow leg, so I gave most of the cookies away to Aaraf’s lab (I felt bad, last time they all shared ONE of the cookies because Aaraf had already eaten them all). The other 16 12 cookies are calling to me though.

And this whole time, yes I have been mentally creating a parody for “Milkshakes” about these cookies. Yeah, you wish you were as cool as me.


1 Comment

  1. Pingback: When Life Hands You Lemons | climbing the crazy tree

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