One manual too far

If you go to the doctors and tell them that you’ve been feeling a little sad on the odd occasion or that you get a little nervous now and again, there’s a good chance they’ll write you a prescription and send you off on your confused way.
The problem here is that even the wisest amongst us can fall victim to a little thing called the self fulfilling prophecy. As soon as a doctor rams anti-depressants down your throat after a two minute appointment whereby he concludes you must be depressed, you start to think that you are. Chances are, however, that you very well may not have been initially. 
The increasing number of mental illnesses added to the ever-growing list doesn't help this, either.
I recently read an article, albeit one with an annoying typo (points to anyone who's bored enough to spot it) , that offered a sneak preview of what we can expect from the revised edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, due for publication next year. It is predicted  to extend the diagnosis of psychiatric illnesses to millions of people that are currently unaware they’re anything but mentally well.
The edition will include a host of new mental illnesses, including dysthymia, characterised by a low, dark, or sad mood on most days for at least two years, and paraphilic coercive disorder, whereby sufferers have recurrent and intense sexual arousal from sexual compulsion. 
According to the same article, there’s even going to be a name for people who are engaged in sexual relationships involving force. Well, the article actually referred to it as ‘men’, but I’ll grit my teeth and try to keep my pedantry to myself (there's probably a disorder for it). Over-diagnosing and self fulfilling prophecies are bad enough, but this is giving mental diagnosis to people society currently deems as rapists.The DSM-5 will apparently also label people as 'mentally ill' for extreme shyness and addiction to the internet.
Handing out drugs for people that can't turn away from Twitter does not call for drugs and counselling - it calls for a good, hard look at the way society is becoming. It won't be long until people who can have a conversation without checking their phone/email/Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn will be seen as the mentally ill ones. 
I’m the last person on the planet to have any cynicism when it comes to mental illness. However, with so many ridiculous disorders emerging, there needs to be a point where we realise that we’re not all mentally ill, we’re just a varied species within a constantly changing society. 

No comments:

Post a Comment