I’m angry. I am so angry that I need to get it out before I can reach out with love and tears to the families of murdered children.

I am angry because I have been saying for years that our country is going about its handling of mental illness in the wrong way. I have just written an article at GoodTherapy.org on that very topic. The new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders will be coming out in the spring, DSM-5, and, as the reviewers for GoodTherapy said about my article:

“They’ve had five versions, and nearly 20 years since the last one, to get Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders right. And they’ve failed miserably.”

Why Adam Lanza Killed

If you are not up for reading a heavily-researched article on the history of the DSM and why it is junk, here is the synopsis: Labeling people with diagnoses and then pushing pills at them is NOT, I repeat NOT the answer to helping people with emotional difficulties. Adam Lanza did NOT kill people, including his own mother, because he had Asperger’s Syndrome. Like all the other mass murderers, he killed people because

a. he was in terrible, unbearable pain

b. he wanted the world to “know” the degree of pain he was in by giving us that same degree of pain.

Adam Lanza needed something far more potent than pills.

The pharmaceutical industry has been pushing pills and I have been patiently trying to explain why that is not the answer. In short, pills are incapable of taking away the degree of pain that some people, perhaps many people, are in.

When in Pain, Create Meaning

The only way to deal with the degree of pain we are talking about here is creating new meaning from the tatters of our lives and the challenges we face. The only way to deal with that much pain is to learn new skills to get out of the rut. But if I were to pit “meaning” against “skills,” meaning wins. All competent therapists will help people with skills. Many competent therapists will help people with making meaning out of their lives. When people can look at the world in a new way, and because of it, be happy, they don’t need pills.


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