The psychiatric world is full of absurdity, like this gem.  Neuroskeptic reports on a recent British Journal of Psychiatry article in which a new and less stringent category of Personality Disorder, called Personality Difficulties, is recommended as an addition to DSM-V (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual vol 5, to be published by the American Psychological Association, APA).  The problem: with this new category, at least 78% of the general public could be diagnosed with personality disorders.  As Neuroskeptic points out, it seems that we should almost scrap the whole category and instead consider the 22% without personality disorders as the abnormal ones.

Psychiatry’s practice of pathologizing any human problem has been steadily gaining momentum for years, so this isn’t surprising.  At one time or another, everything is a disorder or disease.  For example, homosexuality was considered a disease by the APA until 1973, and they once thought it proper to treat homosexuality with electro shock therapy!  Need more examples of psychological absurdity?  Check this review of the DSM-IV-TR’s section on culture bound syndromes:

Appendix I is about “culture-bound syndromes.” If you are a man (women don’t get it) from Papua New Guinea, a perceived insult could provoke you to become sick with a disorder called amok. Indian men (only, I assume, though here it doesn’t specifically say so) might go crazy from a discharge of semen. This mental disorder is called dhat. American Indians can get ghost sickness. Eskimos get pibloktoq, which includes tearing off clothes, eating feces, and fleeing from protective shelters. The Chinese get another apparently male only disorder, shenkui, caused by excessive semen loss from frequent intercourse or masturbation. Central and Latin Americans are subject to susto, which is when the soul leaves the body. Zar, which occurs in parts of Africa and Asia, is possession by spirits. Although recognized by the DSM as a mental disorder, the local population do not consider it pathological. But then they don’t have the benefit of science like the APA does…

So from this you can see that the powers that be are willing to pathologize anything, even when they know it to be nothing more than local folklore or an “urban legend” as it were.  When will they create PREISS – Pop Rocks Exploding In Stomach Syndrome?

Why do I bring this stuff up, why is it relevant to us?  Because an oft used non-argument for the disease theory of addiction is simply an appeal to authority.  People say that the APA and others have called it a disease and that should be enough for us to accept it and move on.  I judge the authority to be unreliable, with a bad track record.  I demand actual proof that addiction is a disease.

Check Neuroskeptic’s Article on Personality Difficulties here: Normal? You’re Weird – Psychiatrists

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