Sacred Disorder | Cliff Bostock's blog – 'Finally, I came to regard as sacred the disorder of my mind' (Rimbaud)

If you compulsively shop on the Internet, you need help

James Hillman complained frequently that psychology has become “de-souled” through medicalization. This actually began almost as soon as Freud published his first work.

Freud knew that in order for his theories to be taken seriously, they had to be scientific in their presentation. But privately, he admitted his work had more in common with the humanities than science.

It looks like the American Psychological Association is, 100 years later, finally rebelling against the medicalization that has increased hugely during the last 10 years, supposedly because of advances in brain science — despite no conclusive evidence that, for example, a personality disorder originates in neurological defects.

The issue is gaining lots of attention now because the American Psychiatric Association has completed writing the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). The DSM is the Bible that mental health professionals use to diagnose their clients and plan treatment.

The new edition lowers the criteria for diagnosis of many mental disorders and creates a handful of strange new ones (like compulsive shopping and Internet addiction, as I cited a few years ago). It pathologizes ordinary behavior like depression while grieving. It is so warped that the American Psychological Association has started a petition opposing its publication without further review.

Many other organizations, including the British Psychological Society, have supported the petition. Even the chairman of the committee that wrote the last version of the DSM writes in support of the petition.

The petition is prefaced by an open letter that details the many concerns the new volume has provoked.  Read it here.


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