Mental disorder misdiagnosis affecting friends, shidduchim and status.

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    I have a friend that was diagnosed at a young age with aspergers syndrome. In fact she never had the disorder, rather it was a concequence of the environment she was in. Later in life it affected everything as you can only officially say someone has a mental disorder after the age 21 when the brain has completely developed. What do you think? Diagnosis sometimes helps, but should it be done?


    I don’t understand. She didn’t make friends because of the diagnosis?


    A teacher sat in on a meeting and shared the information with her daughter and a rumor spread throughout her classmates. Who wants to be friends with someone with problems?


    Then the issue is with those who spread the rumors and allowed it to be spread, not with the doctors or the parents who figured it out. (In this case the doctors are at fault because they were wrong, but if they had been right then the fault does not lay with them.)


    Yes. But is it ok to diagnose children with few symptoms based on a out of environment test if the child may be going through a phase that will be gone by the time a child is a few years older? As this can affect social status and even shidduchim?


    I never heard that you can only officially say someone has a mental disorder after the age of 21. There are definitely illnesses that affect children/teens. Can we not diagnose them?


    Yes but it is good when it is there. But what about when its not??


    Any false diagnosis is bad whether it is a false positive or a false negative. Anecdotal evidence that a false diagnosis was made in a particular case is not a legitimate reason to stop diagnosing. Of course it is always important to determine what the reliability of any particular diagnosis method is to determine if the gains outweigh the risks.


    I don’t understand what you are saying. The “child” was diagnosed and then nothing…..left to her own devices???? No therapies, no follow-ups, no efforts made on her behalf????

    And you are saying this is the fault of the doctor who diagnosed her? Where are the parents in all this? Did the parents allow proper testing? Did the parents take her to the right doctors? Did the parents go for a second opinion? Did the parents take her to the appropriate specialists, find her the right schooling or programs?

    If the parents would have followed through like they should have, they would have found out that their child did not have the disease she was diagnosed with.


    when she was a child she was diagnosed and treated by one pschologist who used her social displacement for monetary gain. the parents were the one who initiated the investigation into her socail displacemnts and skills even though she was being isolated by teh children in calss cause she was the only girl not realted to anyone. the diagnosis was rough and obviously wrong. no second opinion.


    “Diagnosis sometimes helps, but should it be done?”

    i take umbrage at that for two reasons. firstly because you obviously don’t understand mental illness, or you do but are being intentionally vague. since asperger’s is in the DSM it technically is a mental illness…but whatever ill move past that.

    the bit about you not understanding mental illness is more from your statement that diagnosis sometimes helps. you obviously dont know what the word helps means either. lets start with mental illness. mental illness is either a physical deformity or chemical imbalance in the brain which causes other than normal behaviour. it is called mental ILLNESS because it is an ILLNESS.

    now lets swap mental illness with COPD. Does diagnosis help with COPD? Should it be done? youd be cracked if you said no. once you can wrap your mind around the fact that mental illness is just as legitimate an illness as heart disease then you wont be asking such questions. diagnosis itself doesnt help, but once a person is diagnosed then they can get the help they need. but you said that your friend was misdiagnosed and i can understand that it makes you wary of doctors and diagnoses, so lets move on to part two of your question: should it be done?

    the answer, of course, is yes. lets go back to COPD. there are false positives for heart and lung diseases all the time, does that mean they shouldnt be done? taking as given that youve accepted that mental illness is a legitimate illness, suppose your friend really had aspergers and therefore couldnt react properly to normal social and interpersonal emotional cues, do you not think that would cause some issues in a marriage? do you not think that would cause issues with kids?

    now im not saying that someone with aspergers has to give up a meaningful life with a spouse and children, but it must be treated in order for them to have that. otherwise they’ll never know why they could never have what everyone else wants and has. and i can tell you from personal experience that if someone goes ahead and builds a family despite the fact that they have untreated mental disorders, the consequences can be extremely severe.

    so your friend was a false positive, a misdiagnosis and now shadchanim are wary because of the misdiagnosis. i wish your friend only the best in life, and that she should find her zivug and b’ezras hashem build a bayis neeman b’yisrael and that she should have only success and health. but what you have to realize is that its not the mental health system that’s the problem. its a system and systems are imperfect and will generate false positives every now and again, and it IS important for the system to continue so that the other 99.99% can get the diagnosis and treatment they need.

    asperger’s by the way would be a legitimate concern to shadchanim so i would understand if a shadchan would be wary of someone who actually had it, but since your friend was misdiagnosed, and mistama the shadchanim know that (maybe get proof from a doctor? i know its a pain but maybe that would help?) then its the shadchanim’s problem, not the mental health system’s.

    that being said, perhaps there are other ways she can go about finding a shidduch? is there a family rav who knows her well who would be able to either find her someone or find a shadchan who isnt as narrow minded? maybe a family friend who knows people and does shidduchim as a hobby? idk these are suggestions that are just coming to me, but maybe she can find a shidduch in other ways that the standard open a phone book, dial a shadchan, buy a husband…idk how these things work.

    EDIT: obtw just out of curiosity…is the misdiagnosis official? did a doctor officially say that she was misdiagnosed?


    zeena.kasta- You can most certainly diagonse mental disorders at a young age. In fact, there are certain diagnoses (thats not a misspell) that MUST be diagnosed at a young age to be considered a DSM diagnosis.

    Also, are you saying that she never presented any symptoms and she had no friends because of an illness she never had?


    I was not diagnosed til my early 20’s. I’m thinking back to my elementary and highschool years and wondering how much better they would have been had I know what was wrong with me. I would have been on medidcine, I would have been in the right kind of therapy and (omg, whoaaa this is like crazy uneard of) I would have been hospitalized during those times that I very desperately needed to be. I am totally not blaming my parents or my Drs. Actually it is my fault. I refused to go onto meds, refused to see a psychiatrist or a/t but I do know if I was forced into the hospital with no choice in the long run I would have appreciated it!


    She had no friends becaue of the rumor that spead about her false diagnosis. Her symptoms were not serious, in fact once she moved to high school she presented no symptoms. Her school environment was the problem not her. In that school your friends were people that you were related to by family, not your classmates.


    The misdiagnosis is official she had it checked out by a psychologist, just to clarify.


    then everything i said in my post stands.


    to post an opinion

    In mental health since there are very few if any physical tests if any available i.e. blood work/MRI/X-rays it is basically upto the medical professional to make the call on the diagnosis based on observations and evaluations done during a visit – many illnesses have similar symptoms that may be a cause for a diagnosis or misdiagnosis the same as would be with a physical illness where if you go for a second opinion for something that is possible to test i.e. stomach ulcer / fissures etc you may hear different opinions on treatment it is much more so on illnesses that is pretty much a grey area and can only be diagnosed by observing/hearing.

    However not going to a medical professional just because there may be a misdiagnosis is preventing the patient the basic right of being helped … and just like any other medical issue if you are not happy there is always the option of getting a second opinion.

    understanding that there are ramifications of a diagnosis not going is like making a person with a broken leg go up & down stairs.


    I know kids who are diagnosed as having one disorder or another so that the school can get a shadow/para and use him/her as an assistant to the teacher. Or, so that the school can bill for therapy (which is not even given). Or, the child is put in a “special” class and the school milks the Board of Ed for money.

    And when a child is put in a special class or has a shadow, it kills them!



    It is a problem if that is the case – however there are children & adults that need help – by not doing what is needed it just postpones the problem and probably makes it worse.

    as a statistic 90% of people with a mental condition that is not being taken care for ends in divorce where if it is taken care of they can lead an almost “normal” life.

    so the question is do you take care and risk a stigma but give the patient a chance at a productive life or don’t take care and have them struggle thru the rest of their life.


    alha: First, WELCOME!!! It is a pleasure to see new faces around here! Join the Fun™!

    Second, I agree with everything you said.




    Why do you think having a shadow kills them?

    Do they stick out more because of the shadow or because of the issue necessitating the shadow?

    As a parent of a child with a shadow I can tell you it’s often the latter.

    A child who struggles to keep up academically begins to be viewed differently by the class. A child who has difficulty focusing or who becomes easily distracted and interferes with the work of others because he seeks stimulation also sticks out.

    We actually revealed to a camp that my son was on meds for ADHD. They became apprehensive about their ability to manage him when, in fact, he was extraordinarily compliant because of it. There’s just no easy way.


    It is always difficult for a parent to accept that “their” child is different – everyone wants to “fit in” and be normal. but burying the problem does not make life easier for the child by being in trouble with staff at school finding difficult with interpersonal relationships with classmates and in the long run does not make it easier for the parent.

    A child that is different due to no blame on the childs part – only because he has a medical condition no different than a child with strep throat.

    A parent who makes the decision a difficult emotional and long term one that they will face up to the problem will find that in the short term people may notice the shadow may realize that the child is on medication – but will be providing the tools for the childs long term well being and a bright and productive future.

    It takes courage and strength to do it in our society environment you should be proud that you are doing what is good for your child .


    there are certain diagnoses (thats not a misspell)

    “Diagnoses” was spelled correctly, then you missed an apostrophe in “that’s” and used the verb “misspell” instead of the noun “misspelling.”

    One out of three isn’t bad. (For the CR, it’s amazingly good.)

    a guy

    im new here and just testing the waters.


    @haifagirl stopped reading before I got halfway through your first sentence. No one really cares to read about spelling/grammar mistakes….on the internet.

    @OP If something looks wrong with your kid you should check it out. But just to take a kid to a psychologist “to be safe”!? You can visit 50 different psychologists and they will all rip you off with 50 different issues they “find”. Everyone has psychological issues but the majority of them do not require a psychologist. You would not find a single person in the entire world or it’s history that would not have some psychological issue according to modern psychologists after their inspections and greed.

    I personally had seen people who were perfectly “normal” have some retarded psychologist tell them they had problems. I have studied a lot of psychology and i can easily say that it would take me only 5 minutes with anyone on earth before I can somehow or another relate some “problem” that they have and need meds for.


    how can you tell that a kid has a mental disorder eg asbergers by some physcologist sitting in on a half hour lesson and then diagnosing the kid and with it a label for life?! maybe it so happened that the kid was just having a bad day…..and then he’s stuck!!! is that fair?!



    Ask the moderators for my email. I know someone who might be a good shidduch for your friend.



    Ask the moderators for my email. I know someone who might be a good shidduch for your friend.


    A diagnosis of Aspergers is a challenging one to make, and it requires an expert or more than one.. But it is not a “black mark” by any means, unless it is so severe to the point of autism-like symptoms (Aspergers is identified as an Autism spectrum disorder, but it doesn’t usually manifest in the same way)

    Also, Aspergers is very often associated with high or very high intelligence, so stigma associated with it is a big ??? to me. The diagnosis is made as a function of evidence.

    In the case of Aspergers, there is a distinct lack of socialization and obliviousness to social cues that will have been there before any diagnosis, as is the exclusionary focus of interest onto one thing or idea. Social stigma follows from the behavior more than from a rumored diagnosis of what is often a high function disorder.

    Aspergers does, however, often have associations with other diagnoses for other issues, co-morbid with it, variously ADHD, Depression, OCD, and other psychological challenges. Maybe this is what was circulated.

    I write this as the parent of a child diagnosed several years ago with Aspergers. Though my child certainly has had to overcome challenges in socialization, my child is Baruch Hashem healthy, doing extremely well in school, and has begun to develop relationships and friendships, and figured out workarounds to social cues utilizing intelligence rather than the more common intuition.

    Rumor is a horrible thing in a school no matter what it is about, but as far as Aspergers is concerned, people like Lincoln, Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Newton, Jefferson, and Edison all displayed symptoms and were likely affected by the disorder, so the person affected is in good company.


    Without reading the responses. I’ll jump straight in on this one. zeena.kasta I think some research could really help. Asperger’s Syndrome isn’t a mental disorder or metal health problem. I get very offended by the general consensus and the sheer lack of understanding of autism spectrum disorders. I have recently been diagnosed and can honestly say that if I had been diagnosed at a young age, as opposed to 22, I wouldn’t have faced any where near as many social problems as I did. It helps to know that your brain works differently than average and society can’t seem to bother with you, rather than just thinking you’re a piece of drek.


    aries2756 ASPERGERS IS BY NO MEANS A DISEASE!!! It’s actually quite disgusting to hear people talk like this.


    to ‘foxoutsidethebox’ … exactly ….. people with Asperger’s are only mildly disabled, and can overcome many of the social issues they face with support and mostly with acceptance and chesed shown to them by those most important to them …. family, classmates, teachers, clergy, etc … it is horrific that ‘social literacy’ has become so important in the Jewish community, and that shyness or social awkwardness, Asperger’s or not’, is now on par with ‘mental illness’ …. my son, now 26, has had what we now know is Asperger’s for his whole life, but the yeshiva termed it a learning disability. his social issues weren’t fully realized until I came across information on Asperger’s just a few years ago. even without the ‘medical’ diagnosis as a child, we now know this is what he has …. he will probably always feel socially awkward and handicapped, but knowing that it is just another challenge that he was given has relieved both him and my entire family. his siblings have become particularly sensitive to him after feeling frustrated for years as to his loneliness and lack of close friendships, even though he has learned in yeshiva for years and is now in college working on a degree in psychology ….. he is so bright and one of the most remarkable and nicest people we know ….. the best thing that can be done for these wonderful young people is to embrace and accept them ….. regardless of their social literacy skills ….. sadly, the common Jewish practice of shaming and shunning those among us who are different is probably one of the reasons for our unusually long and painful golus …. and doesn’t do much for the gentle and remarkable people with Asperger’s, either ….


    Unless there is some serious malpractice going on (which could be possible; we don’t have enough details to do more than speculate) I think the situation is being blown way out of proportion. Okay, so there was a misdiagnosis, and rumors spread, etc etc and it’s hard to repair the damage. But those who really matter won’t listen to rumors and will appreciate your friend for who she is– and, furthermore, wouldn’t care even if she did have Asperger’s. I have a few close friends with Asperger’s and they’re wonderful people, and function quite well (just differently).

    Making diagnoses, especially those related to mental rather than physical health, is not easy. There is a lot of “gray area” and it’s not always clear (that’s why autism is called a “spectrum”, because people present in different ways). Furthermore, especially as a youth, one can present symptoms and then have them disappear. What does that mean? Did the person really have the disorder and then it went away, or did she never really have it to begin with? It’s hard to say. Science has not advanced enough to the degree of precision that we would like, and that’s difficult to accept, but it’s true.

    I would suggest to you and your friend that you stop looking for scapegoats and focus on moving forward in a positive way. Much hatzlacha.


    A psych is a priest of Greek thought.

    Shopping613 🌠

    I know someone who was diagnosed with aspergers and her family treats her like she is mentally ill or something, she has to go to all the psychologists and they are always talking behind her back, and her mother wants to put her in a special needs school. She understands that she just thinks differently, but how can she explain that to her family?


    Is she having trouble in school? If not, why does she need to switch?

    Shopping613 🌠

    Her parents think that aspergers is a mental disorder and she should be in an asylum or at best a special needs school. She is fine, vwry high functual, barely can tell that she has it….its really sad, poor kid. I wish I could do something….

    kid has friends, a social life, and very sweet…no one knows a thing. Doing great in school too….just moody at home and having problems with her family…


    >> Her parents think that aspergers is a mental disorder

    >> and she should be in an asylum or at best a special

    >> needs school.

    I do not give advices.

    I am a 43 yo man. I have Asperger’s Syndrome combined with moderate depression. The worst reaction from people is when they place the same expectations on me as they would on someone who has no disability. Often people with mental disorders are called lazy or weird.


    “Politics of experience.”


    Sh613- That sounds really sad if she’s happy where she is. Why not allow her to stay if she feels she can do it?

    Having a mental disorder doesn’t mean one has no sense, or opinion. Especially in light cases. There are many high functioning/capable people with mental illness who can do fine on their own if given a chance. As they say, many famous influential people have/had mental disorders. When a friend or family member is diagnosed, it’s important to research the disorder, and find out how it affects them personally. Every case is different. Ask her/him how you can help. Just by being supportive and understanding you can help relieve symptoms. Assuming they’re deficient, or thinking they can be constantly normal is the worst thing you can do. In some cases, it can worsen their symptoms.


    1) Why was the teacher in the room?

    2) This is why many people do not seek treatment, or don’t go to frum therapists.

    3) Also, the new DSM actually gets rid of Asperger’s and places it back within the Autism spectrum.

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