I was formally assessed and diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in 2019. Usually when I’ve been in a psychiatric hospital I’m treated as a patient with diagnosed Schizoaffective disorder that occurred in 2012.
Although I have been sectioned 5 times since my ASD diagnosis it was only in my last admission in 2022 that they put Asperger’s on my discharge summary. I had a trainee clinical psychologist work with me who took notice but it was the psychiatrist that wrote the summary.
Although Asperger’s and Autism can often be used interchangeably by many people. Aspergers’ is an obsolete diagnosis and not one I even had.I think it just demonstrates the lack of seriousness or concern many psychiatrists have to the diagnosis. They prefer the illness pathology.
Why do they prefer the illness pathology? I think it’s because autism is a bolt-on to their training. Autism is on the periphery and perhaps even optional. They see themselves as Doctors there to treat illnesses. So medication is the main tool the Doctor uses.
Autism and mental illness are treated as individual medical disorders. We ignore it as a disorder of society as a whole. Poverty, housing, bullying, state violence, the social model of disability, accessibility of services, culture and many more issues are not really considered.
People are different with different needs. We don’t make all clothes the same size as we are made in all shapes and sizes. That’s why we shouldn’t assume we all need the same housing, income, accessibility to services and 38 hour a week employment to function healthily.
I have a lot of sympathy of the psychiatrist as well. They are carrying this burden and all they can do is lock people up and medicate them most of the time. I believe it’s fair to say many are happy with this role as Doctor and aren’t interested in genuine change either.