Are we over-diagnosing mental illness?

by Katti Gray, Special to CNN

  • Experts say normal responses to life’s challenges are too often labeled disorders.
  • Diagnoses have needlessly skyrocketed, say critics of a diagnostic manual.
  • The American Psychiatric Association says critics are overly alarmed.

For this enlightening and provocative article go here.

3 responses to “Are we over-diagnosing mental illness?

  1. Mentally healthy behaviors of course represent a very wide spectrum. We all have a right to be comfortable in the chair we find ourselves drawn to sit in. If we are uncomfortable, then we should be able to make the needed adjustments. When we are not free to make those adjustments, then our mental health is compromised, sometimes to the point of the inability to care for oneself or to be in danger of actually harming self or others.

    The article notes that there are those who suggest that the new DSM is perpetrating the over-pathologization of normal reactions to the calamities of life. However, sometimes there is nothing normal about the enormity of these difficulties and depression, anxiety, mood swings, personality failings, or depersonalization risk our own being, our very identity. The westernization of our soul selves is at risk of reducing us to a symptom set, while at the same time management of a constellation of mental difficulties should be done via the least restrictive means possible.

    So what’ll it be? Do we lose our souls to be safe? Do we risk our lives recapturing our lost selves? Each of us should be free to choose our way home. The DSM is a great work dedicated to capturing a multitude of current clinical thinking on how to address the psychological ailments of the suffering with the hope of capturing best practice methods for managing this suffering. But it is not the only book. It is not the only way of seeing. Suffering may serve a purpose. The deepening of Soul inherent in finding one’s way home may be the true destiny that has been calling from the beginning. It may be possible that the Wildness of self is seeking to reclaim that split off part of one’s true nature.

    But to do this work without losing oneself; this is the Epic pursuit. The loss of self is the ultimate risk. Do not face real terror without preparation or guidance. And ever keep in mind that laying down one’s sword, though perhaps temporarily, might be the best way to slay one’s demons in the short and ultimately long term–to fight another day honoring whatever myth calls you.

  2. Articles like this just fuel the whole “if your depressed you’re either faking, or weak” mentality. EVERY illness is probably over diagnosed in America. OUr society already looks down it’s nose at people with mental illness, and ignore people who struggle with depression and thoughts of suicide. An article like this just belittles their disease. People think “they’re just over reacting to life’s challenges” that the rest of us are strong enough to cope with. That’s bunk. Mental illness is read, and people who suffer from it should be treated with as much respect and care as someone with Diabetes or Cancer.

  3. This is quite the timely post… I feel like I was mis-diagnosed as bipolar II a couple years ago when in actuality I was merely responding to a sexual trauma. And now my PCP is fixated on that diagnosis, effectively pulling the wool over her own eyes while I am struggling with insomnia. If I had not been over-diagnosed then we wouldn’t be having this issue. Not everything needs a label. Thank you for posting this article, I really appreciated it. g.

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