Diagnoses are often wrong — or they don’t mean much, anyway. Earlier this year, Benjamin Nugent, creative-writing director at Southern New Hampshire University, wrote that as a teen in the 1990s, he starred in an education video about living with Asperger’s. But once he found a niche, he was fine. “I wasn’t that awkward or isolated anymore.”
Remember when everyone had attention-deficit disorder back in the ’80s — but it turned out that the main problem was that it’s hard for a 5-year-old to sit still for 12 hours? Asperger’s is the new faddy diagnosis — partly because not everyone is cut out to be a bubbly “event planner.”
The mental-health profession could rely on family reporting of a person’s mental state and whether it’s changed or not over the years.
But’s it’s unclear why having the federal government compile a list of millions of people who might have schizophrenia, depression, Asperger’s or other ills — and then constantly updating that list based on family, friend and caregiver informants’ information — is any less a violation of civil liberties than banning military-assault weapons and ammunition.