Previews of the DSM-V and Ethan Watters’ Crazy Like Us

February 10, 2010 at 5:04 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This morning The New York Times published a short but intriguing look at the draft fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Since this tome is the worldwide standard for psychiatric diagnoses, psychiatrists, insurance companies, and Big Pharma all have huge stakes in the final version. The DSM determines who’s sick and who’s well, and whether insurance will cover treatment costs.

The biggest criticism of the forthcoming edition mirrors earlier complaints: The diagnoses have little objective basis, and many seem more aimed at enforcing normalcy and creating new drug markets than at isolating and alleviating human misery. Surely I’m not the only one who finds the definition of “hypersexuality” to be baggy, given that most of us, men in particular, spend much of their lives from adolescence on thinking obsessively about sex and plotting to get more.

Speaking of the DSM, I’ve started reading Crazy Like Us, the book that inspired an article in The New York Times (linked in this space) that investigates claims that the U.S. is exporting its categories of mental illness at a dangerous rate. It’s intriguing, but I’m finding the argument less persuasive than I thought I would. I’ll certainly review it for you-all.

The comments on <a href="“>a blog article in The New York Times supports my assertion yesterday that the Internet poses much the same risk as television. I don’t own a television, and I’m beginning to think that I’d better limit Idiot Box II.

Scary thought: I wonder if cutting my Internet time would improve my depression? It’s worth looking into, certainly.

I’m going to get off and get ready for work. While there yesterday, I logged no fewer than 10 hours and 45 online minutes yesterday, which brought me to almost 14 hours on the day. Sheer madness.

Love to all.

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