I love stories like this, scientists reminding us all to calm down, take a breath and a step back,
keep some perspective, ease up on the judging & classifying,
relax your mind/let your conscience be free (oh wait, sorry).
Love me, love my aberrant behavior.
Life: a medical condition
By Alasdair Cross Producer, Medicalisation of Normality
Monday, 30 March 2009
Is the human condition becoming a medical condition?
Ten per cent of British children are regarded as having a clinically recognisable mental disorder, 34 million prescriptions for anti-depressants were written in the UK in 2007, while it is estimated that 10% of US children take Ritalin to combat behaviour problems.
Dr Tim Kendall, Joint Director of the National Collaboration Centre for Mental Health and a key government adviser is deeply concerned at what he sees as a medicalisation of a vast swathe of society.
He said: "I think there is an inherent danger from increasingly classifying people.
"If you look at the American Psychiatric Association 'bible', you'll see almost every piece of human behaviour can be classified as being in some way aberrant."
Dr Kendall sees dangers in a "tendency for new categories to be invented, often at the behest of drug companies looking for a new drug".
Medical historian, Dr Louise Foxcroft agrees, pointing to ill-defined conditions such as female sexual dysfunction and to the erectile hardness scale promoted by the producers of Viagra which she claims "is a creation of fear and anxiety".
It is certainly not a new phenomenon.
Dr Foxcroft, author of 'Hot Flushes, Cold Science', has shelves of old medical textbooks stuffed with long-forgotten ailments.
Among them is hysteria, the symptoms of which could range from excessive masturbation to excessive novel reading and a tendency to wander.
Common treatments for hysterical women, and they were invariably women, included opium, the removal of the clitoris and incarceration.
Later, neurasthenia became the fashionable mental affliction, suffered by the likes of novelist, George Eliot and philosopher Immanuel Kant.
These over-worked intellectuals were offered the more convivial option of Priory-style rehab retreats to help ease their troubled minds.
Such ailments and the chance of treatment were once confined to the upper classes but that has changed in the past 20 years.