Over the last 40 years the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – the bible of the psychiatric professions – has spawned more and more diagnostic categories, “inventing” disorders along the way and radically reducing the range of what can be construed as normal or sane. Meanwhile Big Pharma, feeding its appetite for profits and ours for drugs, has gained an ever greater hold over our mental and emotional lives, medicalising normality.
With drafts of the latest edition of the world’s leading psychiatry manual emerging, critics question the growing medicalisation of life’s problems. Over the past three decades, unhappiness has been redefined as depression, shyness has been reclassified as social anxiety disorder – even trivial complaints such as fussy eating are now being viewed through a psychiatric prism. Some of this is due to a single book, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual , which critics claim is contributing to the ever-expanding empire of mental health. The next official edition of the DSM will be published in May 2013, but draft versions are currently doing the rounds.