Friday, January 30, 2009

I will not be labelled

Why is there a need to give everything a name? Admittedly, psychology is not the best subject to study if you hold this attitude as it labels every ailment and symptom but seriously, does everything need to be a 'condition' or an 'issue'? What exactly is this magic formula to which we are supposed to conform in order to be 'normal' and to not be labelled as *insert whatever condition your behaviour apparently displays*? Does everyone who diverges from this norm have said condition? It seems as though as long as you even remotely match the textbook description of something, you suddenly get labelled as it. Could it be that you just do some things differently to others? What suddenly makes this difference in your behaviour the manifestation of an entire condition? And not only are certain behaviours matched to certain conditions but if your behaviour, heaven forbid, is even slightly ab'normal' then before you know it a new condition has been formed in order to categorise the behaviour. There's a constant flow of new 'conditions', yet to be officially listed as true medical conditions, some which end up listed and some which don't. Surely if we keep adding new words to diagnostic manuals, people will soon be unable to avoid having their behaviours assessed in order to be given one of these labels. And then, once you've been labelled as whatever you apparently are, you then become the condition yourself. You're a 'hyperchondriAC' not someone with hyperchondria, you're an 'alcoholIC' not someone who suffers with alcoholism, you're 'schizophrenIC' not someone with schizophrenia etc etc. Obviously labels are important in order for people who are genuinely ill to be treated in the best way but I'm just agitated by all these 'disorders' that are creeping into use which aren't really disorders but are simply people deviating, sometimes only slightly, from cultural and social norms.

I found this article which sums it up in a nutshell (I actually found it after writing all of the above, just to point out I'm not just regurgitating stuff I've read), I'm on the side of Szasz.
Click here

From the article:

"The D.S.M., currently in its fourth edition, classifies serious mental illnesses like psychoses and schizophrenia, but critics say it also medicalizes many behaviors once considered traceable to character flaws."

"Dr. Thomas S. Szasz, a Syracuse psychiatrist and the author of ''The Myth of Mental Illness,'' the landmark 1961 book that argued that psychiatry consistently expands its definition of mental illness to impose its authority over moral and cultural conflict."

"as recently as 18 years ago, the D.S.M. had only 106 mental disorders, while in the mid-19th century, before the D.S.M., the Federal Government recognized only one: idiocy/insanity. Now, he added, less money is available to treat those with serious, debilitating mental illnesses whose sufferers have little clout. "

"Road rage disorder is the current favorite in the pack of hopefuls jockeying for position."

1 comment:

*Emma* said...

It does get slightly ridiculous...