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Is autism overdiagnosed?

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power gem

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i always thought that the normie girls on social media claiming that they're autistic because they own a fidget spinner or w/e just diagnosed themselves after watching some tiktoks and doing a few google searches. however i've recently learned that there are scam clinics that specialize in handing out bogus diagnoses of the 'tism. one that is highly promoted on social media is "embrace autism" . the website boasts that it was "Founded & autistically researched by Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht MSc ND RP" , and if you're skimming quickly, you might not notice that none of those titles is actually "MD". "RP" stands for registered psychotherapist, and in Ontario, where the clinic is based, RPs are not qualified to diagnose any mental disorder. "ND" stands for naturopathic doctor, which is just... lol, lmao. the founder has previously been sanctioned by her professional body for misleadingly presenting herself as an actual doctor. the diagnosis process, which is carried out online, involves some quizzes and a 30 minute zoom chat. now to be fair there is also a review of the assessment by a MD... but only in jurisdictions where this is legally required.

this leddit post is pretty illustrative:
I got my diagnosis from Embrace Autism in February, and I have been considering coming out since then but have been hesitating. One reason I hesitate is that I got my diagnosis online and I worry how people will see that. I've seen some people on the internet say that a diagnosis from Embrace Autism is not valid because Dr. Engelbrecht is actually not the kind of doctor who is qualified to diagnose people. Also, I am worried about how people perceive the validity of online diagnosis in general.

The reason I went with Embrace Autism is that the doctors where I live cost double the price for assessment and also they seemed clueless about autism in women when I contacted them. I felt that Dr. Engelbrecht was very knowledgeable when I met her, and I do believe that I am autistic because I have researched it extensively and can just feel intuitively that I am different. However, recently I have started worrying about whether my diagnosis will be seen as valid in the eyes of others, especially because women in particular get told "you don't look autistic" all the time.
i've read a bunch of social media posts about this clinic and i haven't seen a single one where someone says they weren't diagnosed as autistic. so there you go, you pay $500, talk to someone on zoom for a bit and you get validation that you're super unique and amazing. men do this too but they pay camwhores instead of naturopathic doctors. i always wondered what these people even wanted out of a diagnosis - there's no treatment for it and many of them will insist that it's not a disability and they don't need treatment anyway. i guess it really is just about feeling special.
 
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Raskolnikov

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There was an article posted on the BBC a week or so ago about private online-only clinics that diagnose you with ADHD over the course of a 30 minute Zoom interview, and from there you can easily get a prescription to Ritalin or a similar drug if you so wanted. The questions they ask are often very vague, and they're fairly eager to interpret your responses for a positive diagnosis. The real cause for concern is that they're properly certified and within their rights to provide a formal diagnosis, even though they have an obvious profit motive. There's definitely a 'trend' arising with many forms of neurodivergence, so it's not surprising there's a developing industry behind these diagnoses.

In specific regard to autism though, I honestly feel that there's been such a giant shift from how it was perceived only 20 or so years ago to now, such that it's so much less stigmatised. A lot of people I meet don't hesitate at all to tell me they've got the 'tism after we get to know each other even if only a little bit, before they then proceed to infodump about whatever niche interest they've got. On the whole, that's honestly a pretty wholesome change for the better. But I've sometimes wondered if acquiring an autism diagnosis is a way of excusing or justifying their niche or esoteric interests to others. People can be oddly judgemental about having bizarre and harmless hobbies (and I swear, the word 'cringe' has actually undermined the confidence of a generation of interesting and eccentric people), and so an autism diagnosis provides a sort of defence against that sort of judgement.
 

housepoopr

i always thought that the normie girls on social media claiming that they're autistic because they own a fidget spinner or w/e just diagnosed themselves after watching some tiktoks and doing a few google searches. however i've recently learned that there are scam clinics that specialize in handing out bogus diagnoses of the 'tism. one that is highly promoted on social media is "embrace autism" . the website boasts that it was "Founded & autistically researched by Dr. Natalie Engelbrecht MSc ND RP" , and if you're skimming quickly, you might not notice that none of those titles is actually "MD". "RP" stands for registered psychotherapist, and in Ontario, where the clinic is based, RPs are not qualified to diagnose any mental disorder. "ND" stands for naturopathic doctor, which is just... lol, lmao. the founder has previously been sanctioned by her professional body for misleadingly presenting herself as an actual doctor. the diagnosis process, which is carried out online, involves some quizzes and a 30 minute zoom chat. now to be fair there is also a review of the assessment by a MD... but only in jurisdictions where this is legally required.

this leddit post is pretty illustrative:

i've read a bunch of social media posts about this clinic and i haven't seen a single one where someone says they weren't diagnosed as autistic. so there you go, you pay $500, talk to someone on zoom for a bit and you get validation that you're super unique and amazing. men do this too but they pay camwhores instead of naturopathic doctors. i always wondered what these people even wanted out of a diagnosis - there's no treatment for it and many of them will insist that it's not a disability and they don't need treatment anyway. i guess it really is just about feeling special.
Wow. For me I knew something was always off. I only started to have social success when I started to emulate other people. I had so much trouble coming up and would be easily goaded into doing stupid things, and I had no dignity or concepts of these things when I was young.
I was almost universally thought of as annoying, because I had no idea what was actually wrong with me at the time. I was always seeing councilors and stuff like that. I started to wonder a few years ago if I was on the spectrum, and I got opinions from multiple qualified doctors on the matter. One was more of a generalist, and the other was more of a specialist in the field.

Effectively the things that made me realize that I might be different is years of poor reviews on communication at work, literally every year is "figure out how to say things concisely" or "communication style is too verbose/crap". Then I discovered the masking thing, and this described what I had been doing my whole life, as well as the "stimming" thing, which I also somewhat unconsciously have done for my whole life, as well as the sensitivity to noise, which is a big problem for me. I cannot stand even to hear people eat, snore, repetitive sounds, etc.So I talked to the first lady who did some tests and they were inconclusive, but she reckoned that I might be autistic, that I was definitely on the higher functioning end of the spectrum if I indeed was autistic, but that my memory was pretty good, and usually autistic people have poor memory.

After another couple years of frustrating interactions with people and work, I talked with the specialist and made sure to be really honest with myself and her, and I thought I would be taking a test, like last time, but it turns out during the interview the notes she was taking, were the test. We talked for probably about 1.5 hours or so. She had me on a rope the whole time, I figured this was just background, and she basically detailed how normal people, look (outwardly), act, talk, even down to the modulation of their voices, how normal people experience life vs my accounts of how things are experienced, small behavioral abnormalities, the way I drone on about inane stuff, and then she talked to me about her daughter and how her daughter who is autistic mirrors these things as well, and some other things that I can't really remember. Basically, there has to be a real extended interview with a number of variables and behaviorial assessments, interviews and such to determine it, at least as an adult.
 
like how you can't call someone "fat" or "ugly" in the UK so they changed the famous books of Roald Dahl to have "inclusive language" even though the originals weren't that bad, like, they weren't slurs or anything lol
@CognacDefender , can you guys call people ugly or fat over there?
 
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greyetch

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There was an article posted on the BBC a week or so ago about private online-only clinics that diagnose you with ADHD over the course of a 30 minute Zoom interview, and from there you can easily get a prescription to Ritalin or a similar drug if you so wanted. The questions they ask are often very vague, and they're fairly eager to interpret your responses for a positive diagnosis. The real cause for concern is that they're properly certified and within their rights to provide a formal diagnosis, even though they have an obvious profit motive.
This was a thing before it was online only. I'm from the US - when seeing a psychiatrist for depression or ADD/ADHD or anxiety, they literally have a questionaries that they or you fill out. If you check off X amount of boxes, you're diagnosed. They are VERY easy to fool, and rely on you being truthful. You can simply lie and get the meds you want.

iu

At least everyone is Frenly about it.
Oh absolutely dude, I didn't mean anything negative about it :peepoLove1:

Autism Adhd GIF by INTO ACTION
 
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power gem

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Wow. For me I knew something was always off. I only started to have social success when I started to emulate other people. I had so much trouble coming up and would be easily goaded into doing stupid things, and I had no dignity or concepts of these things when I was young.
I was almost universally thought of as annoying, because I had no idea what was actually wrong with me at the time. I was always seeing councilors and stuff like that. I started to wonder a few years ago if I was on the spectrum, and I got opinions from multiple qualified doctors on the matter. One was more of a generalist, and the other was more of a specialist in the field.

Effectively the things that made me realize that I might be different is years of poor reviews on communication at work, literally every year is "figure out how to say things concisely" or "communication style is too verbose/crap". Then I discovered the masking thing, and this described what I had been doing my whole life, as well as the "stimming" thing, which I also somewhat unconsciously have done for my whole life, as well as the sensitivity to noise, which is a big problem for me. I cannot stand even to hear people eat, snore, repetitive sounds, etc.So I talked to the first lady who did some tests and they were inconclusive, but she reckoned that I might be autistic, that I was definitely on the higher functioning end of the spectrum if I indeed was autistic, but that my memory was pretty good, and usually autistic people have poor memory.

After another couple years of frustrating interactions with people and work, I talked with the specialist and made sure to be really honest with myself and her, and I thought I would be taking a test, like last time, but it turns out during the interview the notes she was taking, were the test. We talked for probably about 1.5 hours or so. She had me on a rope the whole time, I figured this was just background, and she basically detailed how normal people, look (outwardly), act, talk, even down to the modulation of their voices, how normal people experience life vs my accounts of how things are experienced, small behavioral abnormalities, the way I drone on about inane stuff, and then she talked to me about her daughter and how her daughter who is autistic mirrors these things as well, and some other things that I can't really remember. Basically, there has to be a real extended interview with a number of variables and behaviorial assessments, interviews and such to determine it, at least as an adult.
the idea of diagnosing someone through a questionnaire is obvious nonsense because one of the features of any mental disorder is a lack of insight into one's own symptoms. if you asked someone like chris chan if he was socially awkward, if he was disliked by other people, and so on he would say no because he doesn't understand social norms and believes that the only people who criticize his behaviour are haters and trolls. meanwhile someone who's shopping for a diagnosis can easily guess what the "autistic" answers are. i am an actual sperg, diagnosed as a child long before it was cool, and the assessment involved interviews with parents and actual cognitive tests that can't be faked... none of this "do you like trains [] yes [] no" shit.
 
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I'd say there are three sides to this story:
1. it has become a trend that it is cool to be autistic, or more broadly speaking neurodivergent, as a catch all term for all of these things, however legitimate, to pin to yourself as your identity. Because that is the way that works these days, you cannot just be a guy who eats what he wants, and thereby chooses not to eat meat, but still accepts meat when he is someone's guest, no, he has to be a vegetarian--No but's! All or nothing. And thus these new neurodiversity "attributes" are what distances you from being a normie, boring. You can't be boring if you want to be cool, part of the in-group, especially as a teenager. But how has mental illness become the personality token for being "with it"?
Because 2., an ever widening area of personal traits now belongs to the realm of mental illness, even if you can function perfectly normally in society (or at least in a healthy one.) So called normality is becoming a very tight spot. Remember when people were just different? Back in the day you had, for example, a guy inexplicably obsessed with Elvis, but no one cared! He is a nice neighbor/colleague etc. so why should I? Does some guy really into his job at the railway justify creating a lesser caste? Shoving a whole load of people into a box for seemingly no reason, calling them "high functioning autists"? It is like the americans who are spreading these ideas (sorry, I love you, but these trends really do originate in the US. Why can't we europeans copy your cool aspects for once?) are subconsciously longing for the days of racism or something. "Oh, he is like that because he is autistic." may as well be "...because he is black."
And 3. I believe the internet is really making people autistic. And bisexual, and depressed, and trans, and anything else for that matter. The internet, I find, even without direct algorithmic psychic attacks (although greatly accelerated by them) worsens any latent bad habit and weaponizes it. As a boy I had a habit of day-dreaming, especially when confronted by responsibilites (homework, bullies, etc.) With a normal development, with time, I would have overcome this. But instead I was given the ultimate form of day-dreaming: The Internet! A new frontier of interactive dissociation, a means of making day dreaming my new reality! And that is the relationship I still have with the internet to this day (regardless of what I do there.) A habit, amplified, and turned into something diagnosible as ADHD.
The internet takes any latent negative tendency and accelerates it, I have noticed this in other people as well. Obvious example, teenagers wanting to please, get sent down their respective beauty and "grindset" pipelines. A loner becomes an /r9k/ user, solidifying the problem. A childhood friend of mine has always been somewhat impulsive and I am sure the internet played a major role in his terrible spiral into benzo addiction, buying loads of random shit online, getting into dept. Would he have done this if he had to go to a store, or call a mail order service? I doubt it.
It is like the Internet is designed to encourage the opposite of self-development, anti-individuation. Maturing halts, boys stay boys perpetually, leading to the manchild, or the "disney adult". It is a sin accelerator. The gambler can now lose everything from the comfort of his own home. It is like giving an alcoholic an infinite vodka bottle. From a catholic view it would seem it were made by satan himself. (There is already a thread about the internet being made of demons I just remembered.)
No-one has caught on to the fact that the internet is like a drug. We have a relation to it like we had to smoking in the 50s. No one is really aware, although everyone has a hunch it may be bad, but not much more. The only ones who know the full truth are at the top of the industry, that would be the likes of Mark Zuckerberg today. It's just that smoking gave us people like Hunter S. Thompson, and the internet gives us the brainwashed freaks we are today. Smoking didn't stop anyone from self-actualisation. Everyone smoked like a chimney, and still, great academic achievements happened. Smoking is a habit while writing, and the internet keeps you from writing alltogether.
Today, the young Heracles would have even never seen the choice between between virtue and vice, the latter being techno-accellerated and too dazzeling to have even realised there was one (and no, all that red-pill rubbish doesn't count.) Our physical ailments may have gone, no longer do we have to toil every day just to survive; Ours is an age of psychic battle, each day requires acts of willpower the ancient gods could have never imagined. But just like with smoking, the tides will turn someday. The curtain will drop! And I, saying this as a naiive student, wish to be a part of it!
All in all these three aspects are what I now believe got me to buy into this whole neurodivergency thing, leading me to get diagnosed with ADHD a while back, when I was failing my a-levels, which I now find to be totally bunk, since without the internet I would have never had the idea to find myself the perfect excuse and seek the supposed wonder drug, for the symptoms which without being a terminally online zoomer-brained coomer I never would have had in the first place! And without the medical professionals being down on it I never would have got to being diagnosed for them. The less I use the internet, the less I seem to have ADHD. Since quitting porn, all forms of sexual deviancy have disappeared. After relapsing, they reappeared briefly. I am not saying this is the case for everyone, but I will make the claim that it is so for the vast majority today.

Edit: corrections
 
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housepoopr

the idea of diagnosing someone through a questionnaire is obvious nonsense because one of the features of any mental disorder is a lack of insight into one's own symptoms. if you asked someone like chris chan if he was socially awkward, if he was disliked by other people, and so on he would say no because he doesn't understand social norms and believes that the only people who criticize his behaviour are haters and trolls. meanwhile someone who's shopping for a diagnosis can easily guess what the "autistic" answers are. i am an actual sperg, diagnosed as a child long before it was cool, and the assessment involved interviews with parents and actual cognitive tests that can't be faked... none of this "do you like trains [] yes [] no" shit.
I agree with the whole questionnaire thing, I mean, I didn't know for 34 years, and the specialist is the one who confirmed it. The first woman, had me doing tests like a child might. I knew I was some how different, when I was younger, but I thought it was like a cool, nobody knows, I'm mysterious, for a long time, but really was just autism. I was Naruto running in the 90s (fuckin inuyasha) and playing animorphs with my buddy duke. Idk what else to say. High functioning imo means somewhat normal. I pass until you spend time actual with me. Self aware doesn't mean you can always triumph over your nature, but it helps.
 
Sir/madame/other, this is Agora road. Fir internet refugees. That has to be expected, if not anything else!
 
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I didn't even bother read any of the conversation in this thread but I know it would be full of autists screeching about muh modern society / big coops / gobberment while blogposting their embarrassing personal details lol
Says the same fuck who uses the excuse of "sperging" to have a free pass to behave himself like an asshole.

You can't just stop with your smug and constantly negative attitude for even a minute, can you?
 
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punishedgnome

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My theroy has always been that a huge percentage of people, like well into the double digits, somewhere on the spectrum, but a diagnosis only makes sense when it affects your ability to function socially and it doesn't make sense to saddle people with that label unless they are severely socially impaired.
 
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punishedgnome

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Let me get real for a moment here:

My the teachers were pushing my parents to get me tested for ADHD as a kid. My parents refused to do so. Looking back though, my teachers were right. I would have ticked all the boxes, and my father ticks all the boxes for adult ADHD. I don't tick many of the boxes for adult ADHD, but my pet theory is I developed coping mechanisms from mescaline use in my early 20s. I really started to get my shit together after experimenting with it, and I kept journals while tripping and they were full of this shit about having a "lean brain" like a predator who only focuses on hunting. I think that was my subconsciousness' way of telling me I need to focus, and my thought patterns were perceptibly altered afterward. I have a much greater ability to focus than I did previously. There are a lot of studies being done to look into the efficacy of using psychedelics to treat various mental disorders, and I think this kind of treatment for things like ADHD, anxiety and depression will widespread in the future.

Fast forward a few years. I have kids. One of my sons very clearly has ADHD. Like, if you picture child Ned Flanders on the episode of the Simpsons with the Hurricane, my kid can be like that:


He's not like it all the time, but when he gets over stimulated and has a poor nights sleep, it wouldn't be shocking to see him come into a room that way. Most of the time he's very pleasant and outgoing, but when he gets overstimulated, he just has zero impulse control. It's almost like a jekyll and hyde thing which is a common thing you hear from parents with kids with ADHD.

So we go to a psychologist for a parent consultation without him present. She suggests a test for autism. We agree to it just to try and get to the bottom of his issues. She gets us and his teacher to fill out this questionnaire. It had a lot of questions that we were iffy on, but we answered as technically true like citing justification like, "Well, he can't pick up on your non-verbal cues if he's distracted by a squirrel over across the road." The psychologist met with him for a single one hour play session. She called us back around a month later and made an autism diagnosis. She made it clear that he did not exhibit signs of autism in her interactions with him, but the answers on the questionnaire we and the teacher filled out were the basis for the diagnosis. The thing is, we ticked a lot of boxes on that questionnaire for social things that he is 100% capable of, but he technically does not do most of the time because he's constantly running around and getting distracted. However, there's no box to tick on the questionnaire for that. If a kid was deaf and blind, they would technically be diagnosed with autism if you went strictly by this questionnaire. It really felt like she was saying, "well, you're kid is pretty personable, and I would never single him out in a class of kids as autistic, but you answered b for question four, so he technically has autism."

We ended up taking him to another clinic with a pediatrician and she threw the autism diagnoses out and diagnosed him with ADHD. The questionnaire this time was filled with questions we were unequivocally comfortable answering yes to like, "Does your child seem to lack the ability to stop talking?" There was no "I guess that's technically true" here, these were things that were absolutely, 100% true about our kid.

The psychologist specializes in ASD; she is not qualified to test for ADHD. We just put a general call into the clinic saying our kid was having trouble at school, and got directed toward her. The pediatrician is qualified to test for both. Thus, the psychologist has a financial incentive to test for ASD as opposed to sending us for proper ADHD testing whereas the pediatrician has no such incentive to pursue one over the other. Had the psychologist not suggested testing for autism, the idea that he may be on the spectrum never would have been brought up. It was not brought up by the teachers or school guidance counselor. It was not brought up by us. The person who brought it up was this psychologist who specifically is trained to test for autism. So in answer to the thread's question, yes I do think autism is overdiagnosed. I think that financial incentive on the part of people like the psychologist is the reason why.
 
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youtube "know" about agora, or is it just me... and i havent searched it that much into those things... big tech predictions?
here:
View: https://youtu.be/uy7P9RdatXk
1685198488373.png
1685198519037.png

P.S.: OK, those comments are onto something...
 
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