Therapist calls "affluenza" a real condition more common than so - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Therapist calls "affluenza" a real condition more common than some may think

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The trial of a 16-year-old who killed four people while driving drunk introduced many to the term "affluenza."

Ethan Couch's defense was that he was the product of a broken home, and money could make problems go away.

Many people are angry that he was sentenced to 10 years' probation based off of that defense, but many psychologists say it's a real problem.

Affluenza means children of richer families feel as though they've got a sense of entitlement, which can ultimately lead to their destruction.

For most, it's a fancy word that means spoiled brat.  For those in law and therapy, it's a very real condition.

"Every now and then, I'll get a really smart kid who knows how to play the system," said Carol Doss, a licensed family therapist. "He'll tell me, ‘Yeah, I know how to work it.'"

Doss has counseled teens who have a lives of excess, along with their parents, who can't seem to stop giving their children anything and everything they want.

"It feels bad to not give your kid something, even though sometimes that's the best thing for the kid," said Doss.

Doss says the term affluenza is more common than most people think.

"It's really amazing that it's not always wealthy people…it's people who are doing pretty good, doing alright, and they're giving their kids everything," she said.

Couch killed four people back on Father's Day weekend when he was driving drunk and slammed into them near Burleson.

But his sentence of probation in a rehab facility has been very unpopular in the court of public opinion.

"If he's on probation, they've got him for 10 years, so that's almost, in some ways, more harsh," said Doss.

The term affluenza might come up again in court, because there are five civil cases pending against the Couch family.

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