Anger to be called a mental illness?

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  • Psychiatrists want to label people who become very angry as having 'intermittent explosive disorder', in a new psychiatrists' bible...

    Do you find yourself losing your temper? You could be suffering from ‘intermittent explosive disorder,’ which psychiatrists say involves occasionally becoming very angry suddenly.

    ‘Hoarding’ disorder is another one of the new mental conditions being added to the psychiatrists’ bible, or the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders (DSM), to give it its proper name. This would apply to people who find it hard to throw things out of limited or no value.

    The DSM is a large book that lists all psychiatric disorders and describes their symptoms. If a condition is in there, it means it’s considered a mental illness.

    But some of the new entries are controversial, not least because of fears they will result in many more people being put on drugs that could be ineffective or dangerous. The DSM is produced by the American Psychiatric Association and is hugely influential worldwide.

    Other new conditions identified as possibly needing professional help include binge eating – which is said to affect many people who are seriously obese – and ‘cognitive tempo disorder’, which seems very like laziness (symptoms include dreaminess and sluggishness).

    Most bizarre of the proposed additions is one defined as ‘getting a thrill at being outraged by pornography’.

    One of the most outspoken critics is Professor Christopher Lane, author of Shyness: How Normal Behaviour Became A Sickness. He’s worried about the blurring of the line between eccentricity and illness. ‘The American Psychiatric Association is hell-bent on medicalising the normal highs and lows of people’s emotional lives,’ he said.

    What do you think? Are medical labels like this dangerous?


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