Recent events have uncovered a long simmering debate within the scientific/medical community regarding the nature of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The debate centers around whether ASD is a medical issue or a mental health issue. David Rettew M.D., writing on the website for the magazine Psychology Today, takes a look at the issue and comes down on the side of mental health issue.
For many, autism just seems more intrinsically “biological” than many other conditions. With closer scrutiny, however, it is easy to find holes in these distinctions… even though there seems something quite medical about autism, we still have been unsuccessful in identifying the specific processes in the brain that underlie the condition, similar to more classic psychiatric disorders.
It’s a discussion that many of the most respected names in medicine are going to great lengths to avoid. For instance:
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) autism web page devotes several paragraphs to describing the disorder but never says whether it’s a mental illness or medical issue.
- The well-respected website webmd.com also avoids taking a stand on the topic and instead crosses back and forth across the line between the medical and psychiatric camps.
- The UK’s National Health Service takes the boldest position when it declares that autism is not a mental illness, but then back tracks to concede that some people with ASD also have mental health issues.
Back over at psycholgytoday.com Dr Rettew continues his argument that ASD is a mental health issue and seems to point the finger of blame for any confusion on the notion that families of people with ASD simply don’t want their loved ones being classified as mentally ill:
…the push to label autism as something other than a psychiatric disorder, in my view, comes much more from fears of stigma than any scientific principle…“We are not you,” is the not so subtle message being sent.
With the “we” being ASD sufferers and the “you” being the mentally ill.
Lost in all of this discussion is the issue of whether it actually matters if ASD is mental or biological. Certainly the millions who suffer from this debilitating condition don’t care and to a large extent neither do their families. They just want their loved ones to receive the best care available and to be able to find some happiness during their time on earth. Esoteric discussions about medical vs. psychological mean little to them.
But the thing is that it does matter. Because until we know exactly what we’re dealing with the odds of being able to develop therapies or medications that can effectively address it are small. And until a distinction is recognized and those effective therapies are developed, people with ASD and their families will need to rely on programs like the Disability Tax Credit in order to pay for the therapies and treatments that do exist and to also be able to maintain their basic human dignity.
Disability Tax Credit a Stable Force in the Lives of ASD Sufferers
The Disability Tax Credit is a program of the Canada Revenue Agency aimed at providing relief to individuals and families suffering under the burden of extraordinary healthcare costs related to ASD and other recognized disabilities. If eligible you may qualify for up to $40,000 in annual assistance. You may also qualify for up to 10 years of retroactive assistance under the program.
Disability Credit Canada: Making Sense of a Complicated Process
Disability Credit Canada is here to make sure your loved one’s situation as well as that of your family at large does not get lost in the medical/scientific wrangling and that they and you are able to receive the full benefits you are entitled to under the Disability Tax Credit. We keep the focus squarely where it belongs: on the financial hardship being experienced by your loved one and family due to the staggering medical costs associated with ASD. Don’t wait another day to call us and find out how we can help you secure the financial assistance you deserve. Call now on 1-855-765-4458 and start the process of freeing yourself from the scourge of out-of-control healthcare expenses.