First DSM (1952) had 106 disorders, the number has almost tripled. Are we getting sicker, or is something else at play?
The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is widely regarded as the bible of psychiatric diagnoses. Its authority extends not only to this country’s schools, prisons, court system, and health-insurance industry, where it is daily invoked, chapter and verse, but also around the world, where it is highly influential in defining mental illness. It’s currently in its fourth edition, and a fifth is due out in 2013. With each edition the number of diagnoses greatly increases, and the thresholds for meeting them are routinely lowered. The number of people who can be defined as mentally ill has grown to the point where Darrel Regier of the American Psychiatric Association says that mental disorders affect some 48 million Americans in their lifetimes. That’s one in six people. And he’s basing that judgment entirely on DSM criteria and language.
Behaviors once understood as reactions to one’s environment and upbringing are increasingly seen as innate conditions of brain chemistry, resulting from problematic levels of neurotransmitters, especially serotonin. Lane suggests that because of the open-ended language in the DSM and the wide range of behaviors it pathologizes, anyone who is shy, as he was as a teenager, now risks being diagnosed as mentally ill. The new disorders were “obviously music to the ears of drug companies,” he says, “insofar as they massively increased the market for their products, which the media greeted with incredible enthusiasm.”
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately one in four Americans suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder. Our society has gone further than any other in classifying unwanted behaviors and emotions as diseases demanding medical — and often pharmaceutical — treatment.
Emotional distress is highly individualized, and we shouldn’t come to any general conclusions about it. ..
People who have been taught that “mental illnesses are brain diseases” see psychiatric patients as dangerous and unlikely to recover. And those in crisis are often understandably reluctant to consult mental-health professionals, because the stigma of mental illness is so severe: it’s possible to lose your job, your home, and your family as a consequence of being diagnosed with a mental illness. In cultures that take a social view of emotional distress, by contrast, people more readily seek help because they aren’t as likely to be ostracized and are assumed to be capable of full recovery.
The World Health Organization did an international study comparing outcomes for patients diagnosed with schizophrenia in “developed” countries — including the U.S., the United Kingdom, Denmark, and others — and in “developing” countries such as Colombia, Nigeria, and India. To their astonishment, they found that outcomes were much better in the developing countries. As often happens when a study produces unexpected results, the findings weren’t believed at first. So the study was repeated a few years later with a more stringent definition of what constituted improvement for the patients. The results were the same.
Two hypotheses have been put forward to explain these findings. One is that developing countries don’t use medications over the long term because they can’t afford it. Without long-term medication, patients don’t become chronically disabled. The other hypothesis is that people in developing countries are more likely to be cared for at home and be a part of their community, rather than being isolated or sent away to a hospital, and this helps them recover.
Well said, this comment on Whitney Houston’s death in the NY Times
The reStart Internet Addiction Recovery Program— a first of its kind center in the U.S. — recently opened in Fall City just a few miles away from Microsoft’s headquarters.
Tthe creators of reStart say Internet addiction is a growing problem. The 45-day program (cost $14,500) is designed specifically “to help internet and video game addicts overcome their dependence on gaming, gambling, chatting, texting and other aspects of Internet Addiction”.
Similar programs are already on offer in places like China and South Korea.
This “Lttle Miss Addict” You Tube made me laugh, hope you enjoy it!
Today a young woman from NY showed up at the Vietnam ashram asking for Durga. She is in recovery, and in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) for 2 weeks to help her sister move here. She wrote a friend in NY (YoR retreat guest) who told her we were here, so she came on 2 buses and a motorcycle taxi to visit. It was lovely to share our experience, strength and hope together. She’s taking our YoR and Vietnam ashram brochures to her new recovery friends in Ho Chi Minh City now – small world eh?
I am grateful for fellowship and connections
Here is the link to AA in Ho Chi Minh City, http://www.aahcmc.com/
This is a wonderful 20 minute talk on “The Power of Vulnerability” from Brene Brown, compliments of TED.com
We often get to these kind of discussions and realizations in our Yoga of Recovery sessions, it is amazing to be around people who are becoming open to accepting their vulnerability and all the gifts it offers.