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