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Treating Extreme Wealth As a Disease

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From http://www.flickr.com/photos/47422005@N04/11810121256/: David Koch & Charles Koch
David Koch & Charles Koch
(image by DonkeyHotey)

Psychiatry has been shifting to a model that is designed to identify psychiatric pathologies in most of the population. If there are no biological markers or indicators then the psychiatric diagnostic manual puts together patterns of behavior. Once it's characterized" there's, very conveniently, a drug for that. 

Using this Big-Pharma driven model of diagnosis creation, I'm partially playfully and partially seriously offering some potential diagnostic categories for the very wealthy.  Remember, this is half satire, I am not a mental health expert and I'm not doing serious references to support this exercise. Also, there are absolutely wealthy people who are decent people. The problem is, as Lord Acton observed, "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." I would argue that there are so many risks and dangers in giving people the ability to accumulate huge amounts of money and the power that comes with it, that we should put limits on wealth and even tighter limits on inheritance of wealth. 

The article wraps up by discussing the enablers of these "mental illnesses-- call them co-dependents? I've offered another diagnosis as well. 

Hoarding-- In a conversation with Thom Hartmann last sumer, he suggested the idea that billionaires might be hoarders. People with hundreds of millions or billions of dollars are, in some ways like the people we see on the hoarder reality TV shows, with houses so packed with crap that they have to walk sideways or climb over piles. Hoarders can't let go of or throw away anything they've touched or that has their name on it. The other day, a local hoarder died in a house fire because he could not escape through the piles in his house. These people are often stuck in their homes and lose connection with other people. Hoarding is one pathological way to control their lives.  Hoarding might be considered a variant of obsessive compulsive disorder. 

Drugs of choice: Anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, possibly mood treatment medications like Abilify. 

Narcissism. Narcissists are a**holes who think the world revolves around them They are similar to psychopaths but they have some, though not much empathy.  Wikipedia (link is bolded) describes some of the characteristics of Narcissists:

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Hotchkiss identified what she called the seven deadly sins of narcissism: [7]

  1. Shamelessness : Shame is the feeling that lurks beneath all unhealthy narcissism, and the inability to process shame in healthy ways.
  2. Magical thinking : Narcissists see themselves as perfect, using distortion and illusion known as magical thinking. They also use projection to dump shame onto others.
  3. Arrogance : A narcissist who is feeling deflated may reinflate by diminishing, debasing, or degrading somebody else.
  4. Envy : A narcissist may secure a sense of superiority in the face of another person's ability by using contempt to minimize the other person.
  5. Entitlement : Narcissists hold unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves special. Failure to comply is considered an attack on their superiority, and the perpetrator is considered an "awkward" or "difficult" person. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger narcissistic rage .
  6. Exploitation : Can take many forms but always involves the exploitation of others without regard for their feelings or interests. Often the other is in a subservient position where resistance would be difficult or even impossible. Sometimes the subservience is not so much real as assumed.
  7. Bad boundaries : Narcissists do not recognize that they have boundaries and that others are separate and are not extensions of themselves. Others either exist to meet their needs or may as well not exist at all. Those who provide narcissistic supply to the narcissist are treated as if they are part of the narcissist and are expected to live up to those expectations. In the mind of a narcissist there is no boundary between self and other.

    Medications: Medscape states:

    Although no psychiatric medications are specifically approved for the treatment of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), patients often benefit from the use of such medications to help alleviate certain symptoms associated with this disorder or to manage concomitant axis I diagnoses. Medications that may be considered include antidepressants (specifically, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs]), antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers.

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      Dynasty Disorder: An NIH/NIMH report on children of the wealthy reported serious, alarming problems. Since many of the wealthy are children of the wealthy-- think Waltons, Kochs, Rockefellers-- to name a few, and American Dynasties are growing, these studies may apply to the adult children of the wealthy too. here's a sample from the report, titled The Culture of Affluence: Psychological Costs of Material Wealth:

      "...affluent youth reported significantly higher levels of anxiety across several domains, and greater depression. They also reported significantly higher substance use than inner-city students, consistently indicating more frequent use of cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, and other illicit drugs.

      Appraisal of psychopathology among youth in this sample in relation to national norms yielded more startling findings. Among suburban girls in the 10th grade, one in five reported clinically significant levels of depressive symptoms, reflecting rates 3 times as high as those among normative samples. Incidence of clinically significant anxiety among both girls and boys in the suburban high school was also higher than normative values (22% and 26% vs. 17%). Similar patterns were seen for substance use. Of suburban girls, 72% reported ever having used alcohol, for example, as compared with 61% in normative samples, and parallel values for boys' use of illicit drugs were 59% versus 38%."

      This research suggests a few more diagnoses that could cause or exacerbate wealth mental illness:

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      Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

      Rob Kall Wikipedia Page

      Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also (more...)

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      At the heart of EVERY addiction, is the addiction... by Virginia Simson on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 10:05:30 AM
      Just a few days ago the New York Times featured a ... by Stanley Heller on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 10:06:27 AM
      Perfect. I'll be there are a lot more documenting ... by Rob Kall on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 10:30:16 AM
      Hoarders often have pornography/dating service is... by Virginia Simson on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 10:13:07 AM
      Fascinating hypotheses, Rob, and I commend you as ... by Paul from Potomac on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 10:20:53 AM
      I love the bacterial behavior concept. But I think... by Rob Kall on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 10:33:03 AM
      Marx (The Grouchy one, that is) said it best, "He... by Paul from Potomac on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 1:35:40 PM
      Rob, Glad your focusing on greed and power addict... by David Vicks on Saturday, Jan 25, 2014 at 4:46:49 PM
      I really don't have sympathy for these rich psych... by Patricia Gray on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 10:40:21 AM
      This insider's story tends to agree with you:click... by Scott Baker on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 10:46:17 AM
      Wolf of Wall Street: Scorsese's Best Film? ... by Joe Giambrone on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 11:05:46 AM
      Unfortunately the film "Wolf of Wall Street" glori... by M.I. Lee on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 2:48:30 PM
      I don't care how rich is the wealthist small perc... by David Chester on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 11:26:23 AM
      CONTINUED: Now as far as disease is concerned, i... by David Chester on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 11:27:50 AM
      Good Points. I think the psychologically ill t... by David Vicks on Sunday, Jan 26, 2014 at 5:06:55 PM
      As a person who loves many people with mental ill... by Tsara Shelton on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 11:32:04 AM
      I;m with you Tsara.  How would you start? &nb... by Burl Hall on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 12:37:26 PM
      While Kall's observation have merit, the 1% ... by George C on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 11:59:49 AM
      I;ve read both Eisler and Fromm and think they are... by Burl Hall on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 12:28:34 PM
      It's been a few years, too long,  since my l... by Rob Kall on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 12:47:52 PM
      All these work great.  Many diagnostic categ... by Burl Hall on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 12:20:39 PM
      By rights governments ought to be able to sue cor... by paulvcassidy on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 3:33:04 PM
      My dear folks What you see are figureheads. I ... by Mark Sashine on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 1:00:42 PM
      I appreciate the challenge but  tough to say... by Mark Sashine on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 5:19:37 PM
      Just for the sake  of the argument: One of t... by Mark Sashine on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 5:33:18 PM
      Well stated, raising the issue of what "ownership... by Robert S. Becker on Friday, Jan 24, 2014 at 3:11:11 PM
      Mark if there is anyway I can help, please tell m... by Richard Girard on Friday, Jan 24, 2014 at 4:38:33 PM
      Great slant, thanks Rob. The seven deadly (self) d... by Jon Fox on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 1:55:13 PM
      Finally someone with wordpower who sees (and says)... by tao on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 2:34:08 PM
      That is  why I actually defend the guy who ga... by kelly mackin on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 2:41:28 PM
      I refer to these wealthy people as "The Forgotten... by Freddie Venezia on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 3:05:12 PM
      Brian Czech has written on this topic extensivel... by CASSE3 on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 3:10:54 PM
      This is a GREAT idea and I enjoyed reading it. Giv... by Pal Palsimon on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 3:27:15 PM
      I would never subject any children to unnecessary ... by Charles Roll on Thursday, Jan 23, 2014 at 6:25:38 PM
      I couldn't disagree more. In this last reces... by Bob Davey on Friday, Jan 24, 2014 at 10:24:10 PM
      Rob-- I don't think you are far wrong. The one sy... by Richard Girard on Friday, Jan 24, 2014 at 4:30:28 PM
      I think you might be on to something Rob, and may... by Bob Davey on Friday, Jan 24, 2014 at 9:54:34 PM
      A theoretical point, (please excuse me but this t... by Bob Davey on Friday, Jan 24, 2014 at 11:41:50 PM
      Well, then, shouldn't be too difficult to divest ... by Pal Palsimon on Saturday, Jan 25, 2014 at 1:45:06 AM
      one half would be 35.89 trillion so then pe ... by Pal Palsimon on Saturday, Jan 25, 2014 at 5:02:12 PM
      Power Addiction is the Worst Addiction! ... by David Vicks on Saturday, Jan 25, 2014 at 3:42:50 PM
      Since 1969 there has been a tremendous shift in ... by Lance Brofman on Saturday, Jan 25, 2014 at 9:59:28 PM
      Why should ANYONE need to pay tax? when the gover... by David Chester on Sunday, Jan 26, 2014 at 8:35:52 AM