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S., Revisited---Updating An Earlier Blog

In a recent "New York Times" science article, journalist Benedict Carey writes that the psychiatric community is updating its influential diagnostic manual, hoping to clarify psychiatric diagnoses and to better integrate them into clinical practice. This will obviously improve treatment of personality disorders and clarify further the often subtle differences among mood, personality, and psychotic disorders. From what I understand this is a difficult task, at best. Having a long-term student, S., who is preparing to pass the rest of his subject tests for his GED early next year (S. has already passed the history and science sections of the test this past August, but needed some extra time to further review writing, language skills, and math) and who has been battling with these often misdiagnosed psychiatric issues, I've been following these developments as closely as possible. I'm learning that more and more is being done to better understand these disorders. Young adults like S., given the proper guidance, medications (often necessary, as strides have been made here, too), and verbal therapy (also highly helpful) do not have to live an adulthood as "ogres in seclusion", having to be led by the hand.

There's no doubt that the challenges for someone facing these issues are enormous, and there's no doubt that the desire to want to "snap out of it", as S. often puts it when he's having a bad day, is not always enough. Working with S. has taught me a lot. Community support from family, friends, teachers/tutors is very vital. Hopefully, with better comprehension of these psychiatric issues---not fear of them---young people can get the support they need to feel they are, in fact, moving on and progressing with life. As S. tells all his supporters: "I'm not giving up." We shouldn't, either.