We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
In the LA Review of Books, Andrew Scull on All We Have to Fear: Psychiatry's Transformation of Natural Anxieties into Mental Disorders.
It's a good summary of what has been going on in my field these days. One quote:
This reliance on symptoms, and on the simplistic approach of counting symptoms to make a diagnosis, creates a bogus confidence in psychiatric science. Such categories have an element of the arbitrary about them. When Robert Spitzer and his associates created DSM III, they liked to call themselves DOPs (data-oriented persons). In fact, DSM’s categories were assembled through political horse-trading and internal votes and compromise. The document they produced paid little heed to the question of validity, or to whether the new system of categorizing mental disorders corresponded to real diseases out there.
In addition to creating "composite" illnesses, there are those in the field who also imply to the patient that having a diagnosis means there is something seriously (because it is definitively) wrong and that it can be fixed. Oftentimes the "fix" is trying a series of the newer antidepressants and/or anxiolytics while the patient might receive some psychotherapy that can be anywhere from the realistic "this is shitty stuff that happened and we'll work on coping mechanisms" to "blame games and indulging self- pity." Between poor treatment practice (for neuroses) and an overdependence on the DSM symptomologic matching, modern mental health care starts looking startlingly similar to number of alternative medicine fields.