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BBC Radio 4 - Aspergers Syndrome or Not?

(13 Posts)
headinhands Tue 04-Mar-14 14:08:40

I just now saw this on my FB feed and thought I'd share as I've seen a few threads of this nature recently:

Why do so many women think their men have Asperger's syndrome? Is there a hidden mental health epidemic, or have the rules of relationships changed? Asperger's only entered the textbooks in 1994, but since then there's been an explosion in the number of people diagnosed. Mostly it's male children, but increasingly, women seem to be diagnosing their adult partners as being "on the spectrum".

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 04-Mar-14 14:15:10

Aspergers seems to be the lazy shorthand for 'socially awkward, emotionally distant' in the same way as the word anorexia gets bandied around to mean 'thin'. Takes a doctor to properly diagnose and treat a condition of course.

Keepithidden Tue 04-Mar-14 14:35:40

Could be Cog. Similar accusations were made a few years ago about ADHD IIRC.

Or it could be that there are lot of undiagnosed people around, or that they were previously diagnosed incorrectly. Lots of possible reasons I suppose. The reality I suspect is that it is a combination of all of these, including (not professional) misdiagnosis of Aspergers as well as cod-psychological diagnosis through internet based tests.

Thinking about it, there seems to be a similar pattern with most mental illnesses, maybe it's a kind of evolution of that particular medical field (which has been lagging behind for centuries compared to purely physiological maladies) and the media pick up on interesting labels that then turns into a bit of a meme and crops up all over the place.


CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 04-Mar-14 15:45:05

I think, in the context of abusive or unhappy relationships, there is a strong tendency for baffled victims to look for some kind of medical condition to explain behaviour. You see it quite often on this board. Victims talk about these men having childhood issues, anger problems, depression and so on. Rather than get away from some vicious individual they ask about getting help enrolling them on an anger management course. It is easier to rationalise that offensive behaviour is down to a condition out of someone's control than to acknowledge that it's deliberate.

So whilst some aspergers sufferers may be out there undiagnosed, I think there is a far larger number of straightforwardly offensive men.

Twinklestein Tue 04-Mar-14 16:09:02

Thinking about it, there seems to be a similar pattern with most mental illnesses

To be pedantic Asperger's isn't a mental illness it's a neurological disorder on the ASD spectrum...

Cailleach Wed 05-Mar-14 01:48:06

Twinkle is right: ASD is a "build-of-brain" problem, not a psychological one.

As are Schizophrenia and ADHD, in fact.

jojane Wed 05-Mar-14 02:17:39

I think it's because back in the day it wasn't diagnosed, it affects males more than females.
FIL has just been diagnosed, we have always known he was antisocial, no rudeness filter etc etc but it wasn't until we were looking into aspergers for ds1 we realised he fitted the criteria to a tee. In fact when he went for assessment, they stopped after the first bit and said we don't need to go any further you are 100% aspergers!
The hard thing is that it is a spectrum and most people are somewhere on that spectrum and if you read a list of symptoms some will apply to you. Doesn't mean you have aspergers in the same way as having headaches doesn't mean you have a brain tumor!

Keepithidden Wed 05-Mar-14 06:15:05

Twinkle and Cail, apologies no offence was intended.

mummytime Wed 05-Mar-14 06:33:03

Umm how much more Asperger's affects men more than women is a matter of debate. I'm sure when I was first learning about it (about 1998) the figure given was something like 10 boys to every girl, I think that has been massively revised down. Girls/women with ASD tend to present differently and be better at "covering it up".

I will listen to the program later, but the synopsis sounds a bit like a rehash of Baron Cohen's ASD as extreme maleness hypothesis, which I think even he has back tracked from a bit.

bragmatic Wed 05-Mar-14 06:47:35

Well I suppose if it entered the textbooks in the early 90s then it stands to reason that a proportion of today's adult population would be undiagnosed.

DarlingGrace Wed 05-Mar-14 06:49:34

People love a label. It helps you make sense and order of the world round you. If you can label it you can pigeon hole it. Voila!

Branleuse Wed 05-Mar-14 06:58:10

it isnt as if everyone says it.

Cailleach Wed 05-Mar-14 07:04:04

Keep none taken, at least not on my part. smile

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