Mental health bible suggests no one is normal

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  • An updated edition of the mental health manual for doctors could mean that soon everyone will be classed as having a mental health disorder...

    Experts warn that the proposed revision of the US Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental Disorders (DSM) could mean that soon, no one will be classed as normal, devaluing the seriousness of mental illness.

    In the past, people experiencing occasional mood swings, feelings of distress or anxiety and even episodes of hearing voices would have been considered as difficult or eccentric, but according to new guidelines these people could receive diagnosis that might affect their future lives and job prospects.

    Professor Til Wykes from Kings College London said, ‘It’s leaking into normality. It is shrinking the pool of what is normal to a puddle.’

    The new edition of the DMS, due to appear in May 2013, will provide the first update of the guidelines in 16 years.

    But Professor Wykes and other experts have accused US authors of racing ahead of scientific progress, fearing the reviews could have a detrimental impact on individuals and society as a whole.

    On the subject of the new mental health manual, Professor Wykes added, ‘Not only is it self-defeating, but we think it will have severe consequences from the point of view of stigma, the way people view themselves, and the anxiety they might have.’

    The Journal of Mental Health editorial, co-authored by Professor Wykes further suggested that labelling the individual at risk of a disorder could dramatically change an individual’s sense of themselves.

    The major influence of the US on psychiatry and mental health research has been branded the Americanisation of mental illness due to the huge impact it has on the field.

    So has America gone too far in its attempt to answer questions about mental disorders with lacking evidence?

    Do you see this as a positive step for the diagnosis of mental disorders or do you think the proposed reviews devalue the seriousness of the matter?

    Whatever your thoughts, Marie Claire wants to hear from you by posting a message in the box below.


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