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.
The essay, Are We Really That Ill? (in which the author notes that, according to that Psychiatric diagnostic manual "DSM", half of us are mentally ill) in the NY Sun has been referenced frequently this week. And regrettably so, because the author is a Professor of English and knows little of the practice of Psychiatry. I only have the time to address one of his statements:
With over a million copies in print, the manual is known as the bible of American psychiatry; certainly it is an invoked chapter and verse in schools, prisons, courts, and by mental-health professionals around the world.
Yes, it is invoked often - but it is no bible. No well-trained Psychiatrist uses it as a tool for understanding or treatment. It was designed as a research tool, so that researchers would share definitions. It rapidly became a tool for filling out the "diagnosis code" space on insurance forms so that patients might be eligible for some medical reimbursement.
Many of the "diagnoses" listed are not illnesses in any usual sense: nictotine addiction, insomnia, alcohol abuse, post-traumatic stress, personality disorders, ADD, and "adjustment disorder" are just a few examples of the listed items which are common parts of the human condition, but which are subjects of medical research and which are things for which people often ask for help. But they aren't illnesses - they are insurance codes.