Adam Lanza and Asperger's Disorder
|Adam Lanza (Elite Daily)|
She also told a babysitter, when he was a young teen, "Don't take your eyes off of him for a minute."
Mrs. Lanza kept a pristine, perfectly ordered home. People will say Adam was angry at her for that, or because he was enmeshed. At age twenty, two years after his last contact with his father Peter, he snapped, bought a gun, and became a mass murderer. Some will say it was about that. Others will say he was a bully, that he picked on people younger than himself. He attacked children.
And then there is always the sociopathic diagnosis, but Adam doesn't fit that as it appears in the DSM IV. He wasn't charming and he didn't con people.
We might have thought he had a severe version of Intermittent Explosive Disorder, except that these murders were premeditated, not a result of a simple tantrum. It was a complicated tantrum.
Most people are saying that schools need better protection. I envision bullet-proof doors and intercoms. Even then, even after gaining admission to the building, visitors will first pass through a metal detector, with no one else in that lobby (this is my imagination on autopilot) and if they don't pass, won't be admitted through the second set of doors.
We can't afford to lose school guards, principals, psychologists to people who have lost all control, who are listening to voices in their heads that tell them, "Do it! Kill everyone!"
Life is precious. We are all in tears over this.
The Wall Street Journal posted excellent advice, what to tell your children, how to discuss these murders. They need to talk, and all week, this week, hopefully they will have that chance.
When the discussion comes to diagnosis, every child with Asperger's will be hiding under their desks!
It shouldn't be this way. It is not a violent disorder. Paranoid Schizophrenia-- that's a violent disorder, and Schizoid Personality Disorder, typified by aloofness characteristic of Adam Lanza, is sometimes premorbid to that.
The history we're hearing does not indicate any prior sociopathy. We're hearing he was shy, wore black.
I wrote about this when Cho Sueng Hu massacred 32 students at the Virginia Tech five years ago. Most professionals agreed that he suffered from Schizophrenia, Paranoid Type, and perhaps had Schizoid Personality Disorder, too.
For the record, since the DSM V (the American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic and statistical manual) isn't out yet, we're stuck with the DSM-IV. Here are the features of the disorders I think are relevant to Adam Lanza. Of course, I could be wrong. You be the judge.
Asperger's Disorder, 299.80
(I) Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
- (A) marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture, and gestures to regulate social interaction
(B) failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
(C) a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interest or achievements with other people, (e.g.. by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
(D) lack of social or emotional reciprocity
- (A) encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus
(B) apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
(C) stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g. hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)
(D) persistent preoccupation with parts of objects
(III) The disturbance causes clinically significant impairments in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
(IV) There is no clinically significant general delay in language (E.G. single words used by age 2 years, communicative phrases used by age 3 years)
(V) There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self help skills, adaptive behavior (other than in social interaction) and curiosity about the environment in childhood.
(VI) Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia, Paranoid Type 295.30
The DSM IV-TR doesn't paginate, the following four all merge into one in the bible. Actual symptoms, that check list, won't help you at all.
The essential feature is the presence of prominent delusions or auditory hallucinations in the context of a relative preservation of cognitive functioning and affect. Symptoms characteristic of the Disorganized and Catatonic Types are not prominent.
Delusions are typically persecutory or grandiose, or both, but delusions with other themes (e.g., jealousy, religiosity, or somatization) may also occur. The delusions may be multiple, but are usually orgnaized around a coherent theme.
Hallucinations are also typically related to the content of the delusional theme.
Associated features include anxiety, anger, aloofness and argumentativeness.
The individual may have a superior and patronizing manner and either a stilted, formal quality or extreme intensity in interpersonal interactions.
The persecutory themes may predispose the individual to suicidal behavior, and the combination of persecutory and grandiose delusions with anger may predispose the individual to violence.
Schizoid Personality Disorder 301.20
(2) almost always chooses solitary activities
(3) has little, if any, interest in having sexual experiences with another person
(4) takes pleasure in few, if any, activities
(5) lacks close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives
(6) appears indifferent to the praise or criticism of others.
(7) shows emotional coldness, detachment, or flattened affectivity
B. Does not occur exclusively during the course of Schizophrenia, a Mood Disorder With Psychotic Features, another Psychotic Disorder, or a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, or another medical condition.
Schizoid Personality Disorder is found premorbid to schizophrenia.
What did people say about him? Everyone has something to say.