… is the name UD‘s blogpal Allen Frances gives the tendency of the people at the American Psychiatric Association to toss every human behavior they can think of into the soon-to-be released update of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The new DSM will guarantee every American man, woman, and child forty acres, a mule, and a diagnosis.
Everybody gets to be something: depressed, pre-psychotic… Everybody gets the same diagnostic-labeling start in life. The children of the very rich will no longer get diagnosed before those of the middle class; everyone starts out with ADD or executive functioning disorder or what have you, and parity is maintained throughout the subsequent years, with adolescent, young adult, middle-aged, and elderly diagnoses following each American all the days of her life. As Frances writes, this “radical expansion of the boundaries of psychiatry … will increase by tens of millions the number of people presumed to be suffering from mental disorders.”
The key is indeed diagnostic exuberance, or what others have called psychosprawl. The combination of a regularly updated official manual massively increasing our diagnosable behaviors, under-informed pill-happy primary physicians, and unremitting advertising, means a psychotropic harvest the likes of which this country has never seen. To picture it, replace the turkey in this woman’s hands with a steaming tureen of tricyclics.