Even though mental illness diagnosis has always been a contentious topic, some psychiatrists claim things have gone too far. To be more precise, some mental health experts believe that the new DSM edition will incorporate several new illnesses and minor modifications to the descriptions of the known ones, a fact that could result in almost everyone being diagnosed with a mental condition.
In fact, the psychiatrists with more radical points of view even suggest that this science has been recurrently utilized to stigmatize people and keep them under control. Let’s summarize the top 10 controversial mental disorders from the past and present.
1. Gender identity disorder
According to DSM IV, an individual with gender identity disorder experiences anxiety and frustration due to his current physical gender and identifies better with the opposite sex. The main issue here is that the vast majority of mental health experts admit they are currently unable to predict the effects of the treatment. Essentially, while numerous psychiatrists are concerned about certain gaps that permit “treating” a child despite the fact that he does not need professional help, others militate for practices that encourage children to identify themselves with their current physical gender.
Despite the fact that homosexuality was drawn out of the DSM, the debate on whether it is a psychiatric disorder persists to this day. One of the explanations is the introduction of the ego-dystonic homosexuality, a disorder that was removed rather soon because many psychiatrist felt it did not make any sense. However, although most experts agree that homosexuals can be free of any mental conditions, certain obscure voices still insist that the decision of removing the disorder from DSM is the result of sexual scandals in which the politicians were involved during the 1970s decade.
3. Asperger’s disorder
Recent studies have lead many specialists to conclude that there is no significant difference between autism and Asperger’s. In fact, some psychiatrists are beginning to view Asperger’s as a form of high-functioning autism. Consequentially, rumor has it that the disorder is not going to be included in the DSM V. However, not everyone agrees with the modification, particularly because the symptoms of autism do not apply consistently to Asperger’s patients.
4. Adult ADHD
ADHD is a mental disorder that has been contested ever since it was introduced in the DSM. To put it simply, this type of attention deficit in children was perceived as a conspiracy between the pharmaceutical market and psychiatrists, especially since research revealed the plethora of side effects associated with the ADHD medication. This hypothesis has gained a lot of supporters nowadays when psychiatrists have started to diagnose the condition in adults.
5. Narcissistic personality disorder
The controversy around the narcissistic personality comprises of the fact that more than half of the patients diagnosed also experience other personality disorders. Some studies even reveal that the diagnosis for the aforementioned category is arbitrary. However, the psychiatric community has some good news for us: a portion of the mental illnesses classified as personality disorders will be described as a system of dysfunctional traits and types in the DSM V.
6. Dissociative personality disorder
A few decades ago, this condition was known as multiple personality disorder and was quite popular, thanks to the book and later on, TV series like Sybil. Regardless of what it is called today, many mental health professionals believe that the idea of multiple personalities or of a dissociative personality actually is based on a simple misunderstanding. Simply put, this pseudo-condition mirrors the good intentions of some psychiatrists who try to convince patients that their problems are due to multiple personalities (created by various emotional states).
7. Sex addiction
f you were to ask mental health experts about this syndrome, they will all give the following informal response: sex addiction is most likely an efficient Hollywood practice that is meant to draw the media’s attention towards washed up stars. The sex addiction as defined so far represents an obsession that takes full control of a person, who will inevitable think of and pursue the sexual activity in spite of the negative consequences involved. An interesting aspect of sex addiction consists of the fact that the patients typically claim that the only result of their behaviors is shame rather than satisfaction.
8. Dysaethesia Aethiopica
The “abnormal Ethiopian perception”, as this condition is translated sometimes, has its roots in a shameful period of human history when slavery was considered normal. The truth about this so called mental disorder did not make any sense then and it surely does not make any sense now. To summarize, the condition was specific to the free black people of the time and its symptoms consisted of laziness and friskiness. Apparently, the only way to treat the condition included a whipping session, for which the patient would have been very grateful.
Drapetomania is another pseudo-disorder that can be traced back to the time of legal slavery, when the popular belief was that the Bible dictates all (black) slaves should obey their (white) masters. According to the man who “discovered” it, this disorder describes an inexplicable mental condition, which sits at the very rationale of why the slaves choose to flee captivity. The explanation for how the mental condition developed implies that some masters were so friendly and familiar that the slaves started believing they have equal rights. Similar to Dysaethesia Aethiopica, curing the condition necessitated several whipping sessions.
10. Bipolar disorder in children
If you were to account for the difficulty of diagnosing the bipolar disorder in adults, then it is easy to comprehend why the idea of the same condition in children is doubtful and contested. Granted, numerous psychiatrists report an alarming increase in the number of children they diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the past couple of years. On the other hand, the American Psychiatry Association suggests that this trend can be linked to the methods of diagnoses, rather than a new childhood mental issue. In addition, APA also promised to apply the necessary modification in the next DSM edition, so that kids will not be diagnosed based on a symptomatology that has nothing to do with their demographics.