Peddling Mental Disorder

The Crisis in Modern Psychiatry

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About the Book

Psychiatry is a mess. Patients who urgently need help go untreated, while perfectly healthy people are over-diagnosed with serious mental disorders and receive unnecessary medical treatment. The roots of the problem are the vast pharmaceutical industry profits and a diagnostic system—the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)—vulnerable to exploitation.
Drug companies have fostered the development of this system, pushing psychiatry to over-extend its domain so that more people can be diagnosed with mental disorders and treated with drugs.
This book describes the steady expansion of the DSM—both the manual itself and its application—and the resulting over-medication of society. The author discusses revisions and additions to the DSM (now in its fifth edition) that have only deepened the epidemics of major depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, social anxiety disorder, attention deficit disorder and bipolar disorder.

About the Author(s)

Lawrie Reznek is an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto and has written a number of books on the philosophical foundations of psychiatry.

Bibliographic Details

Lawrie Reznek
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 272
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6306-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2272-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: The Fundamental Question 1

One • Snake Oil Psychiatry 5

Are Psychiatrists Quacks?  5

Peddling Mental Disorder  8

Disease Mongering  13

The Creation of Spurious Epidemics  16

Two • The Influence of Big Pharma 20

The Selling of Psychiatry  20

The Corruption of Data and the Suicide Scandal  42

Turning Psychiatrists into Quacks  50

Three • The Nature of Mental Disorder 58

Diseases Are Explanations  58

When Is a Mental Disorder Not a Disorder?  60

Four • The Creation of ­DSM-III 71

Unreliable Diagnoses  71

Abuse of Psychiatric Diagnosis  77

The ­Antipsychiatry Movement  79

Psychoanalysis Is Unscientific  81

The ­DSM-III Solution  84

Five • The Dangers of ­DSM-III 86

Medicalization and the Expandability of DSM  86

The Myth of Political Neutrality  90

The Sacrifice of Understanding  95

The Death of Clinical Judgment  98

Playing into the Hands of the Pharmaceutical Industry  103

Six • Ordinary Sadness versus Major Depression 108

A Short History of Melancholic Depression  108

The ­DSM-III Definition  109

Overdiagnosing Depression  112

The End of Sadness  116

Creating a Drug Dependent Society  119

The Creation of Subclinical Depressive Disorder  127

DSM-5 and the End of Grief  129

Seven • Shyness versus Social Anxiety Disorder 132

The Demise of Anxiety Neurosis  132

Branding a Condition  133

The Invention of Social Phobia  135

The Epidemic of Social Anxiety Disorder  139

DSM-5 Fans the Epidemic  141

The Marketing of Paxil  143

Eight • Boisterous Boys versus Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder 146

A Terrible Synergy  146

From MBD to ADHD  148

The Manufacture of an Epidemic  150

DSM-5 Fuels the Epidemic  154

Pushing Drugs Onto Children  155

Adults Join the Market  160

An Alternative Picture  164

Nine • Female Woes versus Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder 172

New Bottles for Old Wine  172

The Invention of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder  173

Direct to Consumer Advertising  180

PMDD Comes of Age in DSM-5  182

Ten • Mood Swings versus Bipolar Disorder 185

A Very Brief History of ­Manic-Depression  185

DSM-III and the Bipolar Epidemic  186

Borderline Personality Disorder as Bipolar Disorder  190

Bipolar Disorder in Children  193

Big Pharma in the Ivory Tower  199

The DSM-5 Compromise  203

Forgetting the Context  205

Conclusion: The Future of Psychiatry 207

In a Nutshell  207

Recommendations  209

How to Climb Off the Tiger  216

Chapter Notes 219

Bibliography 240

Index 255