Book Review: Drop the Disorder! Challenging the Culture of Psychiatric Diagnosis. Editor: Jo Watson. Foreword: Paula J. Caplan. Published by: PCCS Books, Ltd, UK in September, 2019.
The message of this book: Labeling people who are suffering with overwhelming emotional issues typically does not help them. Instead, a psychiatric diagnosis usually increases suffering and stigma. “I’m a mentally ill person” is an identity that limits rather than empowers. And, as increasing numbers of people are encouraged to turn to psychiatric medications to manage their emotions, normal human emotion is more often seen as symptomatic of mental illness.
asks questions and offers reasoned answers:
- Q. Who is benefitting from the language of psychiatric diagnosis?
- A. Big Pharma and self-serving psychiatrists.
- Q. What do people who are suffering from extreme states really need to overcome their disturbance?
- A. New assessment tools: based on the kinds of trauma a person has experienced and its lasting effects. They also need more humane methods of eliciting recovery, e.g. counseling in which there is authentic, person to person, client-centered connection.
Why do we continue to label people who are suffering emotionally? There is no biological marker for mental disruption. Researchers have not found any biological causes—only the effects of mental disruption can be seen on brain imaging scans. Diagnosis is typically subjective then—depending on the perspectives of the healthcare provider. And this person depends on their cultural bias, social and academic conditioning to decide who is not normal. It’s a frail system, not built on scientific principles—a pseudoscience.
This is a breakthrough book: straight from the heart and backed up by scholarly research and references. There are twenty chapters, written mostly by people with lived experience as well as experience counseling others. Authors include licensed psychologists. Each goes into the damaging effects of psychiatric labels as well as the manipulations of Big Pharma and poses viable alternatives. The bio-medical approach in which psychiatrists offer medications and rarely have any connection on a human level is shown as obsolete. Yes, this approach anesthetizes an individual to their upset; but it is not a tool of healing.
Of note: Eleanor Longden, PhD, wrote that “’Drop the Disorder!’ is a truly innovative and valuable book that functions both as a learning resource and an ardent call to arms.” Robert Whitaker, author of “Mad in America”, wrote “Upon close inspection…readers will see that the DSM is properly seen as a manual promoting what could fairly be called a medical ‘delusion’. As such, ‘Drop the Disorder!’ provides a clarion call for change.”
Let’s get on with it!
Emma Bragdon, PhD is the Executive Director of Integrative Mental Health for You, IMHU.org
If you appreciate the message of this book review, please have a look at some of the new courses at IMHU that shine a spotlight on related issues: