Those raw numbers look staggeringly high to me. 60% clinical anxiety? 20-40% clinical PTSD? 30-50% ADHD? Really? I'd expect these sorts of things to top out at more like... 10% maybe.

It's really, really hard to look at these numbers and not conclude that our society is just way too quick to pathologize everyday experiences. By which I mean, to treat them as ontologically separate "illnesses", rather than as sometimes harder parts of everyday life.

I promise to still keep an open mind about all of this, I really do. But hot damn.

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My first thought is that this is a MASSIVELY biased sample, even though very large, towards the audiences that Aella reaches. I think it's still really useful and interesting, but certainly 40% of the females I know between 30-40 years old don't have moderate to severe anxiety or ADHD.

The article does call out that this is likely the Very Online people, which was good to read. If you paid researchers to go to local gyms and interview females who regularly leave their house and get exercise, you would certainly get a different result.

I still think it's a useful data set because it explains Very Online People, and VOPs (I'm loving that acronym) are probably the annoying hashtag activists we notice posting about self-diagnosed ADHD and fake gluten intolerances on their Instagram stories :P

I'd love to see some complimentary research on this data set where someone puts a lot of money in to interviewing random people in public to try to find a different set of people.

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You have to make sure to factor in female neuroticism. Women on average are higher in any negative emotion disease, as the neuroticism levels are more pronounced in women. Thankfully for nature they have that variance, for raising kids and being attentive to the children's emotional variance when babies - not so good for interacting with men, who have less negative emotional variance.

Great video to watch on the subject of gen z and diseases is jon haidt's video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5IGyHNvr7E as it seems in a lot of cases, that its not just wrong self diagnosis, as there is a rise in actual suicide. Can't fake suicide you know. Teen girls are the hardest hit. As he goes into, kids are actually raised differently, and its changed them mentally, social media has added to it, etc.

But overall I agree with you, I am not a great fan of psychiatry (psychology has its pros) and the flippant way the book of illnesses just has exploded to anything and everything that can be handed out like cookies.

"Revisions since its first publication in 1952 have incrementally added to the total number of mental disorders, while removing those no longer considered to be mental disorders... although the number of identified diagnoses had increased by more than 300% (from 106 in DSM-I to 365 in DSM-IV-TR)... which includes over 450 different definitions of mental disorders..."



450 mental disorders, from "throwing tantrums" which is the case for every single 2 year old on the planet to the rest, should be something we query when totally trusting the industry. A lot of them can usually be combined - for example, possibly higher neuroticism makes you more likely to have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Bipolar, Major Depressive Disorder, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, etc - as women naturally have more in most mood variance (besides ADHD) diseases, so why not have a classification of those with higher neuroticism and treat them in variance. Ie, I have high volatility but low withdrawal - so I get more angry, but I don't get more sad and anxious. There must be some better way to manage the industry you know -.-.

I found this study great though in seeing the instability of non-cis vs cis. It didn't surprise me, but it was great to see that link with autism (as you probably need a formal diagnosis to know you are on the spectrum, in difference to anxiety) and non-cis behaviour. Fascinating research :). As I've been learning recently about the link between teen girls going trans and autism. But those ADHD numbers definitely imply the cohort (which is what the stats say too) are American - as most other countries would have a lower than average ratio I'd imagine.

Would be great to do a continuation study on how many people are medicated for their diseases. As I was just reading that 70% get meds for ADHD and 30% dont as children. Would be interesting to see how many of these statistics are, even though you can obviously choose to be unmedicated with a disease, have been given medication therefore an official diagnosis from a doctor, to consider their disease severe enough to medicate for it. Or just asking how many have been diagnosed by a healthcare professional or is it self-diagnosis. And see how the numbers fall in variance. Would be fascinating to see how many people self-diagnose or how many doctors are using the labels in what percentage societally for the cohort / tiktok community :P.

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If most people are anxious, wouldn’t not being anxious be a mental outlier, if not an illness?

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If most cars have a headlight out that doesn’t suddenly make having two headlights an “illness”. Mental illness isn’t just about bell curves, it is also about whether people’s lives are being negatively impacted in a serious way by their behaviors.

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That is why I said “outlier” if not illness. Your contribution is as useful as ever.

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I get your point. Whether it can be considered a mental illness is based off "deviancy" - deviation from the norm. But you must understand, based off the statistics of things like ADHD and what is considered in the DSM as a "mental illness," it is obviously, not totally deviation.

But also, with the rise in peanut allergies, proved by Haidt to be caused by what people are doing to their kids - is that raising can totally affect how a child turns out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iQmoe7Wygw so maybe the mental health issues are a reflection of the new raising, that if 50 years ago kids were raised in exactly the same way, you might see the same rises in illness. Like obesity is based on environmental factors, ie, food is tastier because companies have worked out how to do so. If 50 years ago there was as much food variety, obesity would have risen then too. I was just listening to a podcast on it, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKX59Rour-I. Mental illness could be a byproduct of something wrong happening with kids is a possible look at it.

Psychiatry fundamentally has a lot of flaws, and monetary incentives for "without due process" to decide to medicate someone - speaking from personal experience, I was once told by a psychiatrist that he could diagnose bipolar within 20 seconds (I think was his claim, it was a long time ago now, was some ridiculously short and stupid amount of time) - which should obviously be an impossibility. I am high in the dark triad, which was what he failed to observe, not unbalanced - very low in politeness and disagreeable, I just didn't like him - so he claimed I had mood swings because I was "angry". Not liking someone does not = bipolar.

But this is the state of a lot of psychiatry I would imagine based on the frivolous content in a lot of the DSM. So, with things like ADHD, "boys being active" is not a disease, but it is now that we are shoving 5 year olds into school and not letting them run around.

For some more non-deviation examples:

Minor Neurocognitive Disorder - for normal forgetfulness in old age

Major Depressive Disorder - includes normal grief

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder - for temper tantrums (which is what the norm is for every toddler at the age of 2)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder - includes everyday worries


From the institution that said being gay was a mental disorder and used to give electroshock therapy for it, from what I know. It's not the most trustworthy profession. Psychology and Psychiatry have their differences - I would argue the latter is more conflicted monetarily.

Buss has a great article on it that you may like, for "who" is being misdiagnosed by the field - https://jonathanhaidt.substack.com/p/mental-health-liberal-girls. Would be interesting to see Aella peer-review that research - political leanings with mental health diagnosis, to see if it corroborates buss's research (see first graph in the link). As it seems to be that openness to experience is a literal correlation for being diagnosed with a disease - as openness to experience predicts that political leaning.

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It is the internet, the kids get social brownie points for having mental illnesses and quirks so a lot of people collect them like they are Pokémon.

Plus it makes a great excuse when you don't want to act like a grownup and accomplish stuff.

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I hope this stupid trend of people needing diagnoses for their regular old personality ends soon. By the time this generation ages into middle age, we're all going to be bankrupt from paying for everyone's "diagnoses" and the "medication" to treat their personalities. These numbers are a joke.

Or maybe the pharmaceutical/mental health industries could do us all a favor and come up with a new mental illness/diagnoses for being annoying. If we could attach a fancy term to that, and come up with a pill to solve the problem of annoying people, we might actually be improving the world! As opposed to whatever train wreck these results show.

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But my "personality" results in functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities...

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Related article from Scott Alexander: https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/book-review-the-geography-of-madness

> schizophrenics remain overrepresented among transgender people today - maybe 5-10x expected rate [1] - and a few papers suggest they were more overrepresented in the past when transgender was less common...Schizophrenics’ brains don’t use categories/guesses/narratives in normal ways, and they end up in kind of random places, whereas everyone else mostly ends up where their culture guides them


> I think you could probably have a culture where 99% of people were transgender, where it was generally accepted that everyone transitioned on their 18th birthday, and where only a few people (disproportionately schizophrenic) would object or see anything wrong with this.

Interesting that both autism and schizophrenia are overrepresented in the trans crowd, given the hypothesis that these sit at opposite ends of some information-processing spectrum.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4274821/

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I think people who feel bad, regardless of whether the bad feelings are caused by schizofrenia or autism or anything in between, will search for reasons why they feel bad. If being born in the body wrong body is a much talked about reason for feeling bad, it will be picked up by essentially every category of people who are feeling bad.

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How do the non-cis numbers compare with male patterns?

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Self-diagnosed, self-reported, on tik-tok?

To me it's completely meaningless

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-Boys (13%) are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls (6%).

-About 1 in 44 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to estimates from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.

-ASD is more than 4 times more common among boys than among girls.

Would been neat to see the established rates on your graphs too. Like you noted, heavy social media users probably but interesting stuff regardless.

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I am trying to articulate something that I know can be relevant to this post but I am not sure how good I can be writing it. Nevertheless, the difference that your data is showing (if I understand your data well) regarding the cis and non-cis gender's relationship with mental illness can be entirely expected if we look into some theory. And this might not have that strong a link with mental illness itself per say but with normalisation and society. Since Freud we know that mental illness is not something that we can just ask people about because people lie to themselves about it and do this consistently (don't get me wrong I am not against the survey just that such a survey somehow has to assimilate this information). It is therefore expected that as we move away from the normal in the gender category we can have a lot more people simply recognising that we have issues, an honesty that being closer to the normal doesn't afford us. I am being careful here, I am not saying that normal people are better or noncis people are more ill because of exclusion. I am rather providing a certain privileged position to that exclusion from which a dimension of truth about oneself can become visible.

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"Why are the percentages so high! There is no way that 40% of women have ADHD!"

Yeah but 40% of women who participate in mental health surveys might.

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Apr 19, 2023·edited Apr 19, 2023

Do you think you have a major self-selection bias.....

of people who are more likely to self-report a non-cis identity, the more likely they are to self report (and identify with) any diagnosable mental condition as more than mild?

in for a penny; in for a pound.

validated as non-cis and you now know you may feel just as good by finding community with the undiagnosed autism and anxiety experience.

Second confounding question: Are cis women more likely to mask their mental struggles?

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Very interesting. But is this surprising?

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Female ADHD is up twice, is one of them supposed to be autism?

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Wait nope, the autism graph is there.

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I guess the obvious question is, then: Does transitioning in any way help people deal with autism/ADHD/schizophrenia/borderline personality and so on? Is it erasier to be male-looking and autistic than female-looking and autistic?

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Could you consider, you know, NOT referring to trans men and other non-binary people as "females"? Because that is extremely disrespectful and inaccurate.

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The immutability of biological sex makes "female" a useful, clear descriptor. I'm glad Aella used the language she did.

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Yeah I am inclined to agree--using male/female/intersex to describe sex-assigned-at-birth, but man/woman/enby to describe gender identity, is probably the most elegant way to speak about it.

I'm sure there are some trans folks that chafe at the use of male/female, but I don't see an alternative we can successfully coordinate around. And having precise, shared language to discuss these issues is extremely important.

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Mar 15, 2023·edited Mar 15, 2023

"Female" is a term used in science to refer to an individual in a sexually reproducing species with the larger gamete/egg (or an individual that would produce eggs if fertile). This term applies to almost every trans man and afab non-binary person.

This terminology (male/female/intersex) applies to all non-human species that sexually reproduce as well.

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How is it disrespectful or inaccurate? Biological sex is male/female/intersex and gender identity is man/woman/non-binary, no?

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Calling people cis is disrespectful and inaccurate. The world doesn’t conform to your feelies.

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This actually confused me at first. I thought we were talking about cis women vs transwomen, not cis women vs transmen+.

Is there a single word that encapsulates non-cis afab people (that's not as opaque and jargony as afab)?

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This sort of confusion is precisely why it is important to protect terms like male and female (notice that Aella went the extra mile of prependeding 'biological' as well) from this sort of language perversion.

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