The ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’ is a manual that lists all of the perceived mental health disorders known to man. A number of new additions have been made to the draft of the newest edition (edition five), which include:
- Dysthmythia – feeling low or sad for most of the day over a period of two years.
- Hypersexual Disorder – unconventional sexual practices or desires that occur over a period of six months.
- Gambling Disorder – addiction to the level of excitement experienced when risking the loss or gain of money.
The decision to label certain human behaviours as ‘disorders’ calls into question what the term ‘mentally ill’ really means, and emphasises the influence such a label might have on society.
What are the effects of labeling every human emotion and action as a psychiatric disorder?
Peter Kinderman, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Liverpool, said: “Many people who are shy, bereaved, eccentric, or have unconventional romantic lives will suddenly find themselves labelled as ‘mentally ill'”.
Experts are predominantly concerned by the proposal to label certain crimes as pathological diseases. What we today call rape, could soon be referred to as ‘paraphilic coercive disorder’, a condition whereby men engage in sexual relationships that involve the use of force.
The medical label could normalise such behaviour and turn a criminal into a victim. This could potentially undermine the justice system and change the way offenders are punished.
Over 11,000 medical health experts and researchers have opposed the new draft over concerns that it could encourage GPs to diagnose more drugs instead of encouraging social or educational changes.
Counselling can help people with any number of concerns – whether they be classed as ‘mental disorders’, or if a person is simply troubled by something they cannot easily handle alone.
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