Saturday, May 03, 2008

Disorder: Increasingly, anything you do that annoys me ...

In “Psychology: The Hard Truth About a Soft Science”, Selwyn Duke observes,
I recently read about psychiatrists who are labeling the desire to engage in excessive text messaging a mental disorder. Then there is "Muscle Dysmorphia," or the obsessive belief that one isn't muscular enough; "celebriphilia," the strong desire for amorous relations with a celebrity; "Intermittent Explosive Disorder," or road rage; "Sibling Rivalry Disorder"; "Mathematics Disorder"; "Caffeine Related Disorder"; and "Expressive Writing disorder," to cite just a handful of the hundreds of made-up conditions in the DSM. And every time a new variety is conjured up, psychology's market and earning potential increases. I have to wonder, though, what do they call the obsession with labeling behaviors mental disorders? Some might call it greed.
Actually, it’s mostly a way of gaining social power, isn’t it? If I’m giving a talk and you are text messaging people who interest you more, I can get my revenge by getting your behaviour classified as a “disorder.” Of course, you could do the same to me. But we both need to qualify as psychiatrists first.