Let’s Fight Big Pharma’s Crusade to Turn Eccentricity Into Illness

Allen Frances:

Editor’s Note: The controversial fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-5 (a.k.a. the manual formerly known as “DSM-V”) is being released tomorrow – after a 14-year revision process to update its criteria for defining mental disorders. This opinion is from the former taskforce chairman and leader of previous DSM editions.
Nature takes the long view, mankind the short. Nature picks diversity; we pick standardization. We are homogenizing our crops and homogenizing our people. And Big Pharma seems intent on pursuing a parallel attempt to create its own brand of human monoculture.
With an assist from an overly ambitious psychiatry, all human difference is being transmuted into chemical imbalance meant to be treated with a handy pill. Turning difference into illness was among the great strokes of marketing genius accomplished in our time.
All the great characters in myths, novels, and plays have endured the test of time precisely because they drift so colorfully away from the mean. Do we really want to put Oedipus on the couch, give Hamlet a quick course of behavior therapy, start Lear on antipsychotics?