February 17, 2010


According to an article in Mail Online, Psychologists are updating their bible, The Diagnostic And Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM, and apparently the new version, the fourth,  is going to be 7 times larger than the original of 1952 and there’s a bit of a hoohah going on!

Well I’m not surprised! Do you hoard things and not throw them away? Well hoarding is being added to the DSM as a mental illness. That’s half of my friends and family heading for a padded cell for a start!

Do you get angry suddenly sometimes? Careful…you’d be admitting to a mental illness under the new Psychiatrist’s bible! And this new mental illness (anger!) has got a name: Intermittent Explosive Disorder!!

There’s another one: General Anxiety Disorder or GAD; how’s that any different to just plain and simple anxiety? Why does it need a special label?

One of the issues there’s a lot of reservation amongst Psychiatrists as to whether it should be included or not is binge eating disorder. How can they even think of not including that one? Binging or Compulsive Eating isn’t about food; it’s about the underlying negative emotions that cause people to use food as a coping mechanism.

Fortunately there is a sane voice out there: somebody who recognises the huge danger of giving doctors the power to pigeon-hole every single little item of eccentric and out of the ordinary human behaviour.

Apparently the logic in increasing the number of mental illnesses included in the DSM, is to catch early signs of mental disorders in children. Dr Michael First, Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University points out: “…there’s a huge potential for many unusual kids to fall under this umbrella and carry this label for the rest of their lives. The more disorders you put in the DSM, the more people get labels and the higher the risk that they will get inappropriate treatment.”

It’s interesting how the wind has changed over the last 10-15 years; some people have had a huge battle to get things like ADHD, Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia accepted as a legitimate illness, rather than being fobbed off with “yuppy flu”.

And now psychiatrists are going the opposite end of the scale and creating their own special syndrome: Labelmania!

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