Are psychiatric diagnoses valid? I'm beginning to wonder. At best, they are sometimes misapplied to the point of becoming meaningless. At worst, they are causing great harm both psychologically and physically.
A recent article at Sciam.com discusses the possible overdiagnosis of Major Depression. I agree with the authors that this diagnosis seems to be applied to normal reactions to typical life stressors; the loss of health, the loss of a job, the loss of a relationship.
A recent story in U.S. News and World Report states, "The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, as it is known, is hugely influential because it determines what is and is not a mental disorder. In turn, it is responsible for much of the sales growth in prescription drugs." In a recent article in Psychiatric Times Dr. Allen Frances discusses his concerns about the way the next version of the DSM is being formulated and the possibility that formerly normal human behaviors will be become "medicalized".
Christopher Lane, in his new book, "Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness" discusses how a normal human behavior became a mental illness requiring medical treatment and the process by which this happened.