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Snake Phobias, Moodiness and a Battle in Psychiatry
NY Times ^ | June 14, 2005 | BENEDICT CAREY

Posted on 06/13/2005 7:11:09 PM PDT by neverdem

A college student becomes so compulsive about cleaning his dorm room that his grades begin to slip. An executive living in New York has a mortal fear of snakes but lives in Manhattan and rarely goes outside the city where he might encounter one. A computer technician, deeply anxious around strangers, avoids social and company gatherings and is passed over for promotion.

Are these people mentally ill?

In a report released last week, researchers estimated that more than half of Americans would develop mental disorders in their lives, raising questions about where mental health ends and illness begins.

In fact, psychiatrists have no good answer, and the boundary between mental illness and normal mental struggle has become a battle line dividing the profession into two viscerally opposed camps.

On one side are doctors who say that the definition of mental illness should be broad enough to include mild conditions, which can make people miserable and often lead to more severe problems later.

On the other are experts who say that the current definitions should be tightened to ensure that limited resources go to those who need them the most and to preserve the profession's credibility with a public that often scoffs at claims that large numbers of Americans have mental disorders.

The question is not just philosophical: where psychiatrists draw the line may determine not only the willingness of insurers to pay for services, but the future of research on moderate and mild mental disorders. Directly and indirectly, it will also shape the decisions of millions of people who agonize over whether they or their loved ones are in need of help, merely eccentric or dealing with ordinary life struggles.

"This argument is heating up right now," said Dr. Darrel Regier, director of research at the American Psychiatric Association, "because..."

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: depression; disorders; mentaldisorders; mentalhealth; psychiatrists; psychiatry
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To: Wilhelm Tell
Ah Hah ! The evil Xorq...

I have been trying to track you through the interstellar galaxies for the past millenia. I have gone forward and back in time for ages and now you are here !

You gave me the slip near Titan back in the Year 1814 BLRH (Before L.Ron Hubbard to you silly earthlings out there...), but I knew I'd track you down some millenia. Who would have thought I would have found you on the world famous Free Republic in it's first years of it's centuries-long lifespan ?

Ah well. LRH works in mysterious ways doesn't he ?

P.S. I picked up one of these vintage Ipods things these earthlings listen to and downlaoded that Midnight Oil Track..."L.Ron Hubbard's going to save your life. Superboy takes a plutonium wife." Not bad lyrics for a bald earthling songwriter.

21 posted on 06/14/2005 5:37:02 AM PDT by Red Sea Swimmer (Tisha5765Bav)
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To: Bernard Marx
Read "Toxic Psychiatry" by Peter Breggin. Very interesting and informative.
22 posted on 06/14/2005 5:39:06 AM PDT by Red Sea Swimmer (Tisha5765Bav)
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To: Red Sea Swimmer
Thanks for the suggestion. I'll add it to my very long list of essential reading. The title alone tells me the author's on the right track.

I also want to read Christina Hoff Sommers's new book (with Sally Satel): "One Nation Under Therapy: How the Helping Culture is Eroding Self-Reliance."

23 posted on 06/14/2005 7:40:55 AM PDT by Bernard Marx (Don't make the mistake of interpreting my Civility as Servility)
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To: neverdem
raising questions about where mental health ends and illness begins.

Does the fact that I try to "ping" and "zot" people in real life mean that I've crossed that line?

24 posted on 06/14/2005 7:43:03 AM PDT by hispanarepublicana (I was Lucy Ramirez when being Lucy Ramirez wasn't cool.)
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