How zealous psychiatrists are diagnosing quirks as mental illnesses

Posted on October 29, 2013

Today it seems that almost everyone is certifiably mad. According to critics, amateur and professional psychiatrists are routinely guilty of "diagnostic inflation": turning normal people into mental patients with alphabet soup diagnoses. In a new book, America's Obsessives, author Joshua Kendall argues that many great people have been shaped by obsessive compulsive personality disorder.

Other widely applied questionable labels include disruptive mood disregulation disorder, which may mean nothing more than children's temper tantrums, and social anxiety disorder, which may be shyness. Thanks to psychiatric overreach, every quirk is judged a mental disease, especially if the US$300-billion-a-year pharmaceutical sector has a pill for it, the theory goes.

In the developed world, the mental health industry is booming. According to psychologist Carole Stovall, an expert in anxiety complaints such as post-traumatic stress disorder, mental health prescription rates have "skyrocketed".

Stovall is appalled that doctors prescribe psychotropic drugs to children as young as six months. "This is shameful. Clearly, society is over-prescribing," she says. True, she adds, careful medication can help a patient. But medication is often used "off-label", which can be detrimental. All medication has side effects, she says.

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Source material from South China Morning Post


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