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You Have A Symptom?: We Have Prescriptions

1163 words - 5 pages

By the 1950s, psychiatric medicine’s capability to resolve mental imbalances captivated the public and intrigued intellectuals as “Miracle drugs” extended the human control over the mind. Today, medications are still being used to treat mental issues in patients all over the world and the use of these medications is dramatically increasing. This could be an effect of a more refined field of study, that being psychiatry, in which one can more efficiently determine mental illness in a patient. On the other hand, it could be an effect of the over treatment and over-diagnosis of patients who simply have problems adapting to the environment around them.
The diagnosing of mental disorders in America is moderated through the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) which was developed by the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1952. Over the years, the DSM has been revised several times to reinstate its continuity and precision as to what a mental diagnosis should pertain. The newest revision of the DSM, the DSM-V, has been criticized in the field due to its sprawl of non-scientific mental diagnosis. In a response to the DSM-V, the British Psychological Society stated that they feared that the general public will be “negatively affected by the continued and continuous medicalization of their natural and normal responses to their experiences…Diagnostic systems such as these … fall short of the criteria for legitimate medical diagnoses.” Clearly, with these statements coming from such a reputable organization, there is something wrong with the way we diagnose patients in America.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder illustrates how the symptoms to a disorder could very well have nothing to do with a chemical imbalance in one’s brain. For instance, an easily distracted child who is forgetful, unorganized, who talks excessively, cannot play quietly and likes to climb on thing may be diagnosed with ADHD. There is, although, an array of environmental factors that can lead to the same symptoms: abusive or violent parents or trauma caused by a wide range of personal and circumstantial situations. Never the less, the DSM-V insists that such cases are the result of mental disorder. The DSM-V promotes mental diagnosis to resolve a patient’s dilemma using expensive medications as opposed to expanding a patient’s personal and unique issues to resolve the dilemma without the use of medication. So what has caused the priorities of the APA to shift to profit over the patient’s wellbeing?
Psychological therapy and psychological drugs took their initial run with the public during the first half of the 1900s. At first, the field thrived and had gained almost immediate respect from the general public. Consumers were easily dazzled by new and exciting advancements in science and the medications seemed to be resolving mental issues in patients. By the late 1950s however, words of uncertainty toward psychiatric therapy and medication were emerging. A large...

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