Monday, September 02, 2002

Expanding Diseases

From a story in the Globe and Mail:

A group of U.S. psychiatrists wants to create a new category of disorders that would let them diagnose couples who squabble constantly, parents and children who don't get along — even siblings who clash — as mentally ill.

Those who might be treated under the proposed "relational disorders" category could be otherwise perfectly healthy and stable: hold steady jobs, have lots of friends and be generally good citizens, pillars of the community and models of balance.

The shrinks changed the definition of mental illness so much that almost half of all people now have problems that fall into the category of mental illness. Having deliberaly expanded the definitions to include more people, the "doctors" go to Washington to lobby for more money because the problem of mental illness, they claim, is so much worse.

I'm pleased to note that few people are fooled by this ploy. Most of the time public officials are not fooled by it either, which is why support from the govenment and the insurance industry for treatment of mental illness is so "poor". The government and insurance companies have learned that psychiatrists and psychologists have a knack for drawing the maximum out of any form of insurance that covers mental illness.

Most diagnoses of mental illness are based on purely subjective findings, which means that the diagnoses can expand to eat up whatever money is available.

Only a small percentage of the people who are called mentally ill would benefit from any kind of therapy, drug or otherwise. And so any money spent on treatment for the rest of the people, who don't want treatment anyway, is wasted.