Thu, May 29, 2008
Deviation from social norms are tolerated until a point. What I am curious about is the motivation behind 'correcting' behaviour through medication. Is it a natural process akin to gravity, which pulls most individuals towards the center of the mass/average behaviour? Are we trying to feel better by feeling alike? Too bad this makes everobody feel worse.
Thu, May 29, 2008
Bussiness, as usual.
"Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness"
(Yale University Press, October 2007),
Northwestern's Christopher Lane chronicles the "highly unscientific and often arbitrary way" in which widespread revisions were made to "The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (DSM), a publication known as the bible of psychiatry that is consulted daily by insurance companies, courts, prisons and schools as well as by physicians and mental health workers.
"The number of mental disorders the general population might exhibit leaped from 180 in 1968 to more than 350 in 1994," notes Lane, Northwestern's Herman and Beulah Pearce Miller Research Professor. In a book that calls into doubt the facade of objective research behind psychiatry's revolution, Lane questions the rationale for the changes, and whether all of them were necessary and suitably precise.
By labeling shyness and other human traits as disorders with biological causes, the doors were opened wide to a pharmaceutical industry ready to provide a pill for every alleged chemical imbalance or biological problem, the author says.
In examining the American Psychiatric Association archives, Lane — who argues that psychiatry is using drugs with poor track records to treat growing numbers of normal human emotions — even came across a proposal to establish "chronic complaint disorder," in which people moan about the weather, taxes or the previous night's racetrack results.
"It might be funny," he says, save for the fact that the DSM's next edition, due to be completed in 2012, is likely to establish new categories for apathy, compulsive buying, Internet addiction, binge-eating and compulsive sexual behavior. Don't look for road rage, however. It's already in the DSM, under intermittent explosive disorder.