UD‘s blogpal Allen Frances is currently down the street from her house, at the National Institutes of Health, where UD‘s father spent his whole career as an immunologist. Frances is lecturing to a group of journalists about what he calls diagnostic inflation, or the tendency of the culture, led by profit-seeking pharmaceutical companies, and abetted by the authors of the paradigmatic postmodern work of our time, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illnesses, to designate everyone, from as young an age as possible, mentally ill.
It hasn’t happened yet in this election cycle, but UD anticipates American presidential and vice-presidential debates revolving mainly around a clash of diagnostic claims. You can see how easily it could have been done in this latest round, with Biden’s inappropriate affect, Ryan’s compulsive swallowing, Obama’s first-debate narcolepsy, and (most troubling) Romney’s disclosure at the Al Smith dinner that he hasn’t had an alcoholic drink in sixty-five years. All of these people are mentally ill, and all of the people who will run for these offices in the future are mentally ill. Americans will have a choice between borderline psychotic and psychotic.
October 20th, 2012 at 2:04PM
Some wit in the Obama camp did come up with the term romnesia this week, and that meme is spreading fast, to the delight of many. LOL.
October 20th, 2012 at 3:57PM
adam: Yes, I’ve seen romnesia making the rounds. It’s a start.
October 20th, 2012 at 8:01PM
“the paradigmatic postmodern work of our time” — Nice. I’ll have to remember that.
October 20th, 2012 at 8:04PM
October 21st, 2012 at 7:18AM
[…] “Using DSM-4 criteria for mental disorders, almost half the people in the US are getting a diagnos… […]
October 21st, 2012 at 7:52AM
BTW-is there an increase in the number of Ph. D pharmacists, Ph. D. pharmacy programs, etc.? If so, is there a reason? My neighbor’s daughter works as a $9 an hour retail pharmacy tech. The pharmacists do no compounding, they’re legally barred from offering diagnoses, their advice amounts to that info sheet that comes with the ‘script, etc.
Years ago I read a persuasive essay by an Africa-born American pharmacist that argued that health care would be improved if pharmacists were allowed an independent scope of practice.
October 21st, 2012 at 5:41PM
And nearly 100% of people get diagnosed with a physical ailment in their lifetime. Why should we think the mind is healthier than the body?
October 22nd, 2012 at 11:03AM
GTWMA, you’re waffling, bro’. It’s not “[a]nd nearly 100% of people will get diagnosed . . .” All of us–100%–will get a physical ailment that whacks us into nothingness or the Great Beyond.
I’m in my late 50s; the men in my family die relatively young; so I figure I have a half-decade or so to go before I check out of the hotel.
Anyway, I think UD and blogpal Allen Frances are talking about mental distress that results in commercial transactions between a patient and a practitioner who claims to alleviate that distress.