Sometimes we create our own problems.
There are many things we can’t control and problems arise because they arise. We can’t control all of our situations no more than we can control what colour of hair we’re born with.
But, according to 30-year psychiatrist Dr. Gary Greenberg, several mental health disorders aren’t real and psychiatrists need to be more honest with patients to help them.
In a recent article in the Daily Telegraph, Greenberg said the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the renowned source for mental health diagnosis and research is a “fiction.”
The article said Greenberg believes the DSM “medicalises human experience.”
After reading it I tend to agree. We should connect with each other on a personal level and accept who we are. Otherwise, irrespective of whether we have a mental disorder, we can never heal.
The article said when first published in 1952, the DSM had 14 mental disorders in it. Now there are 250.
The fifth edition of the DSM, DSM-5, Greenberg said, has been widely criticized for the “unhealthy influence of the pharmaceutical industry and its tendency to medicalise behaviours and moods that many would argue fall within the normal range.”
Consequently, he said millions are “hooked on powerful antidepressants.”
Such examples include a new illness, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD), to cover “intensive temper tantrums.”
But DMDD is controversial because it might include some volatile kids with no mental illness.
The criteria for Major Depressive Disorder have been changed in the DSM-5. It now includes grief from recent bereavement cases.
“The exemption clause was an embarrassment because it challenged the idea that depression is caused by biology and led critics to demand that other external factors, such as divorce and redundancy, be exempt too,” said Greenberg in the article. “So they got rid of it, which means that if you are depressed while bereaved you can be classified as mentally ill."
He said people in bereavement need help, but he questioned if it was a medical problem.
And it’s not like every disorder ever thought of has actually been a disorder. In 1850, physician Samuel Cartwright reported a new disease in a New Orleans medical journal called drapetomania from the ancient Greek drapetes meaning ‘runaway slave.’
That disease, in effect, supposedly caused slaves to run away. Of course that is ridiculous and untrue. It never made it into the DSM, but Greenberg said if the DSM had existed at the time it might have been included.
The article made me wonder how accurate our mental health statistics. Are some of the people diagnosed with a mental disorder improperly diagnosed? Have we, as a society, become far too lenient on prescription drugs to deal with everything?
I’m no medical expert. I don’t know or understand the full extent of mental disorders or how best to treat people. There are more facts I don’t have.
But I agree with Greenberg’s assessment. There is a line between human behaviour and mental disorders.
Science and medical advancements should move us forward, not set us back.
Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.