Review article: Everyday sorrows are not mental disorders: The clash between psychiatry and western cultural habits

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Williams, Ruth F. G (2009) Review article: Everyday sorrows are not mental disorders: The clash between psychiatry and western cultural habits. Prometheus, 27 (1). pp. 47-70. ISSN 0810-9028

Abstract

This review article considers four issues, and some information gaps, in a literature broadly concerned with the definition of mental illnesses/disorders. The first issue is the relatively recent tendency towards the medicalisation of normal sorrows. The second is the widening of the diagnosis ‘net’ since a major innovation in psychiatric nosology, the DSM-III. A third issue is that the diffusion of this innovation improved psychiatric diagnosis but also spread some misconceptions associated with psychiatric illness. Finally, some issues about personal responsibility are considered and whether, in this era, ‘evil’ tends to be medicalised. Psychiatric nosology is important: its application to mental health problems is the economic scaffolding for the correspondence of mental health expenditures and mental health ‘need’.

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Additional Information

Horwitz, A. V and Wakefield, J. C, The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Sorrow into Depressive Disorder, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007, ISBN 978-0195313048

Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/4691
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/08109020802690942
Official URL http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0810902...
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Economics and Finance
Historical > FOR Classification > 1117 Public Health and Health Services
Historical > FOR Classification > 1402 Applied Economics
Historical > SEO Classification > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health)
Keywords ResPubID17345, mental health problems medicalisation of normal sorrows, DSM-III, misconceptions associated with psychiatric illness, psychiatric nosology
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