HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Revelations About Adam La...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 10:11 AM

Revelations About Adam Lanza's Mental Health Still Don't Explain the Violence

ADAM CLARK ESTES FEB 19, 2013

Frontline finally aired the findings of its weeks-long investigation into Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza, his mother, and his mental health on Tuesday night. Answers were not among the findings. Okay, that's exaggerating the situation slightly. In "Raising Adam Lanza," produced by Frontline and The Hartford Courant, we did learn more about Adam Lanza's childhood and his mother's failure in "failing at bringing him out of his little world," to borrow the words of one Newtown school official. We learned more about Nancy Lanza's private life and even got to read some of her emails. Perhaps most enlightening of all, we learned more about Adam Lanza's mental health history, and how that affected his life at home and at school. What's less enlightening, though, is how this mental health history is related, if at all, to his decision to open fire on a school full of children on that cold December day, two months ago.

Almost as long as we've known his name, we've known that Adam Lanza struggled with some sort of mental illness. Soon after the shootings, it was reported that Lanza had been diagnosed with Asperger's, and many wondered if that was the whole story. Asperger's, after all, is not typically linked to violent behavior, certainly not the level of violence that Lanza unleashed on Sandy Hook Elementary School, so many wondered if there was something else going on. Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychosis something must've tripped a wire in his brain and made him snap.

Indeed there was something else, but it was none of these conditions. Lanza was diagnosed with sensory integration disorder (SID) as a young boy. This condition essentially heightens sensory perception to the point that they can become overwhelming. It's possible that this is what a school official was referring to in December when he said that Adam Lanza could not feel pain, though the new information suggests that Lanza felt too much. "For these kids, the volume is turned way high," Alice Carter, director of the clinical psychology program at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, told Frontline. "So what seems reasonable to most people is very overwhelming to them."

It's not that simple, though. SID is not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), and the medical community is currently at odds over whether it's actually its own condition or simply symptomatic of another condition, perhaps autism or Aspberger's. This would explain why Lanza was diagnosed with Aspberger's after being diagnosed with SID. Again, Aspberger's is not linked to violent behavior and neither is SID, but there is a chance that it contributed to anger or anxiety problems. "The world is a little less predictable , because you don't know when you're going to go somewhere and something is just going to be too loud, too uncomfortable, too something." One of Nancy Lanza's friend recalls how Adam would "become upset" when other kids touched him and would "become angry with them." Other times, a school official remembered, Adam would have "episodes" and "would completely withdraw."

So is that it? Adam Lanza didn't like to be touched, got bullied, got angry and decided to go on a shooting spree? No, it's not, and it's still disadvantageous to suggest that Adam Lanza's mental illness drove him to homicide....

more
http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/02/revelations-about-adam-lanzas-mental-health-still-dont-explain-violence/62317/

18 replies, 1417 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread

Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 10:21 AM

1. When less than intelligent people try to justify something horrible the reach has many arms.

Sometimes there are no explanations or reason. Maybe someday, if right wing idiots actually allow science to exist, an answer may be found.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 11:37 AM

2. I watched this last night

and I came to a very similar conclusion as the author.

One thing I do not understand is why no one is talking to his Father and Brother. It seems to me that they would be able to shine some light on what happened and possibly why.

They have all but been forgotten about in this entire sad situation.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Raine1967 (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 11:42 AM

4. The father and brother...

may not be willing to speak with anyone except LEO's

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DonViejo (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 11:45 AM

6. That's true and very understandable.

I find myself trying to comprehend all of this and balance a sense that they've a right to privacy. I can't begin to imagine what they are going thru.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 11:41 AM

3. Sensory Integration Disorder is not a mental illness. Nor is it linked to violence.

People with SID either crave physical contact or feel somewhat overwhelmed by it. All SID means is that a person's relationship with the physical world is a little different from those who are average. People who like contact sports probably have SID in the range of craving physical contact. People who don't like to wear scratchy wool sweaters are probably on the other side of the spectrum. That's it.

Another red herring.

Maybe it was the guns.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to yardwork (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 12:11 PM

8. I think he had an extreme version. And it was possibly a symptom of something else gone wrong.

Hard to know whats gone wring when a person retreats so young and in an extreme way.
Very sad, and sadder we understand and are doing so little to help families with the mentally disabled.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bettyellen (Reply #8)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 12:13 PM

9. No matter how extreme, there's no obvious link to violence.

This article is irresponsible and does a disfavor to millions of people diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder. I have a family member with SID. This article is a slander against them.

All in an effort to ignore the GUNS.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to yardwork (Reply #9)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 01:00 PM

15. I'm as anti gun as anyone, but wish we did have more services and help

For people with mental illnesses and their families. I think it's important too.
What really stands out for me is that even with a family with resources, they have no firm diagnosis and can only loosely classify his symptoms. I had grown up with several schizophrenics and I know how few options there are and how it rips families apart, so I'm hoping for more awareness about mental illness and how poor our current system deals with it too.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to yardwork (Reply #9)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 01:05 PM

16. To Me There is One

very obvious link to violence that I never see discussed. The fact that he had a rather significant disability and the rage that must have produced in him. He's not "normal." He never was one of those smiling, carefree, fun-loving kids from elementary school. He was quite dependent on his mother when he "should" have been developing independence. He's not doing very well at becoming an effective adult. He can't even make friends with the marginal kids (which saves many "different" kids), because he can't make friends with anyone. The Asperger's (or whatever) per se doesn't have to lead to violence, the disability (combined with other things) could lead to violence.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to RobinA (Reply #16)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 05:16 PM

18. I'm talking about Sensory Integration Dysfunction, which the article calls "mental illness"

and suggests as a cause of what he did. It's nonsense. There is no link between Sensory Integration Dysfunction and violence, and it is not a mental illness either.

We don't know what problems he may have had but it's ridiculous to blame them on Sensory Integration Dysfunction.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 11:45 AM

5. "...it's still disadvantageous..."?

I think the author meant 'disingenuous', no?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to randome (Reply #5)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 11:56 AM

7. You're right.

Sometimes when I see incorrect usage I mentally change it as I read, so I had to go back and check that part. Odd mistake in a well written article.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to senseandsensibility (Reply #7)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 12:16 PM

10. I usually do the same and move on. But that just stuck out for me.

It is a well written article.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 12:19 PM

11. If the kid hadn't had the access to the guns

he had a class room of children would be alive today. As well as 6 teachers who gave their all and not to forget the person who made this all possible by having guns so easily for him to get too, his mother.

Break it down however you want and it'll still come out that if the kid didn't have the guns things would have turned out much differently.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 12:20 PM

12. We may never know what

the explanation is for this. There are no links between SID or Aspberger's. Not everything can be tidily bundled up into a easily digested packages.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 12:52 PM

13. I Found

the Frontline show to be surprisingly uninformative. A few additional facts, much implied speculation, no light. It seems that Adam, in life and in death, manages to say very little. Except for the one thing he said very loudly - I am one pissed off MFer. Other than that he's barely heard from at all.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 12:53 PM

14. Sounds like there should be more

I would suspect major depressive disorder or possibly schizophrenia. Violence and aggression are definitely associated with both of those. I don't think we will ever really know at this point since his mom is also dead.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 01:45 PM

17. Adam would have "episodes" and "would completely withdraw."

That describes the behavior of A Lot of teenagers. The speculation about a nonexistent Dx of a mental disorder is not helpful. Obviously he had problems, but placing it in the context of SID or Aspergers with no direct evidence or confirmed Dx is not helpful.
Ordinary people commit most murders. Sometimes we can comprehend motives, but in this case not. Obviously Adam Lanza was a troubled kid and we will probably never be able to begin to understand his motives. I don't understand Republicans. I really don't understand some people's fascination with guns. I don't understand my sister's obsession with dance that keeps her from holding a job. Other people do understand it. None of those things are necessarily pathological.

Placing behavior that we can not interpret into ill vs. well categories misrepresents not only mental illness but human nature in general. There is a range of adaptive vs. maladaptive behaviors that do no necessarily represent pathology.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread