Given that natural selection is so powerful at optimizing complex adaptations, why does it seem unable to eliminate genes (susceptibility alleles) that predispose to common, harmful, heritable mentaldisorders, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder? We assess three leading explanations for this apparent paradox from evolutionary genetic theory: (1) ancestral neutrality (susceptibility alleles were not harmful among ancestors), (2) balancing selection (susceptibility alleles sometimes increased fitness), and (3) polygenic mutation-selection balance (mentaldisorders reflect the inevitable mutational (...) load on the thousands of genes underlying human behavior). The first two explanations are commonly assumed in psychiatric genetics and Darwinian psychiatry, while mutation-selection has often been discounted. All three models can explain persistent genetic variance in some traits under some conditions, but the first two have serious problems in explaining human mentaldisorders. Ancestral neutrality fails to explain low mental disorder frequencies and requires implausibly small selection coefficients against mentaldisorders given the data on the reproductive costs and impairment of mentaldisorders. Balancing selection (including spatio-temporal variation in selection, heterozygote advantage, antagonistic pleiotropy, and frequency-dependent selection) tends to favor environmentally contingent adaptations (which would show no heritability) or high-frequency alleles (which psychiatric genetics would have already found). Only polygenic mutation-selection balance seems consistent with the data on mental disorder prevalence rates, fitness costs, the likely rarity of susceptibility alleles, and the increased risks of mentaldisorders with brain trauma, inbreeding, and paternal age. This evolutionary genetic framework for mentaldisorders has wide-ranging implications for psychology, psychiatry, behavior genetics, molecular genetics, and evolutionary approaches to studying human behavior. (Published Online November 9 2006) Key Words: adaptation; behavior genetics; Darwinian psychiatry; evolution; evolutionary genetics; evolutionary psychology; mentaldisorders; mutation-selection balance; psychiatric genetics; quantitative trait loci (QTL). (shrink)
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association, currently in its fourth edition and considered the reference for the characterization and diagnosis of mentaldisorders, has undergone various developments since its inception in the mid-twentieth century. With the fifth edition of the DSM presently in field trials for release in 2013, there is renewed discussion and debate over the extent of its relative successes - and shortcomings - at iteratively incorporating scientific evidence on the often (...) ambiguous nature and etiology of mental illness. Given the power that the DSM has exerted both within psychiatry and society at large, this essay seeks to analyze variations in content and context of various editions of the DSM, address contributory influences and repercussion of such variations on the evolving landscape of psychiatry as discipline and practice over the past sixty years. Specifically, we document major modifications in the definition, characterization, and classification of mentaldisorders throughout successive editions of the DSM, in light of shifting trends in the conceptualization of psychopathology within evolving schools of thought in psychiatry, and in the context of progress in behavioral and psychopharmacological therapeutics over time. We touch upon the social, political, and financial environments in which these changes took places, address the significance of these changes with respect to the legitimacy (and legitimization) of what constitutes mental illness and health, and examine the impact and implications of these changes on psychiatric practice, research, and teaching. We argue that problematic issues in psychiatry, arguably reflecting the large-scale adoption of the DSM, may be linked to difficulties in formulating a standardized nosology of psychopathology. In this light, we highlight 1) issues relating to attempts to align the DSM with the medical model, with regard to increasing specificity in the characterization of discrete mental disease entities and the incorporation of neurogenetic, neurochemical and neuroimaging data in its nosological framework; 2) controversies surrounding the medicalization of cognition, emotion, and behavior, and the interpretation of subjective variables as 'normal' or 'abnormal' in the context of society and culture; and 3) what constitutes treatment, enablement, or enhancement - and what metrics, guidelines, and policies may need to be established to clarify such criteria. (shrink)
This dissertation examines psychiatry from a philosophy of science perspective, focusing on issues of realism and classification. Questions addressed in the dissertation include: What evidence is there for the reality of mentaldisorders? Are any mentaldisorders natural kinds? When are disease explanations of abnormality warranted? How should mentaldisorders be classified? -/- In addressing issues concerning the reality of mentaldisorders, I draw on the accounts of realism defended by Ian Hacking (...) and William Wimsatt, arguing that biological research on mentaldisorders supports the inference that some mentaldisorders (e.g., schizophrenia, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders) are real theoretical entities, and that the evidence supporting this inference is causal and abductive. In explicating the nature of such entities, I argue that real mentaldisorders are natural kinds insofar as they are natural classes of abnormal behavior whose members share the same causal structure. I present this position in terms of Richard Boyd’s homeostatic cluster property theory of natural kinds, and argue that this perspective reveals limitations of Hacking’s account on the looping effects of human kinds, which suggests that the objects classified by psychiatrists are unstable entities. I subsequently argue that a subset of mentaldisorders (e.g., schizophrenia and Down syndrome) are mental illnesses insofar as they are disorders caused by a dysfunctional biological process that leads to harmful consequences for individuals. I present this analysis against Thomas Szasz’s argument that mental illness is a myth. -/- In addressing issues of psychiatric classification, my analysis focuses on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of MentalDisorders (DSM), which has been published regularly by the American Psychiatric Association since 1952, and is currently in its fourth edition. After examining the history of DSM in the twentieth century, and in particular, DSM’s shift to an atheoretical and purely descriptive system in the 1980s, I consider the relative merits of descriptive versus causal systems of classification. Drawing on Carl Hempel’s analysis of taxonomic systems in psychiatry, I argue that a causal classification system would provide a superior approach to psychiatric classification than the descriptive system currently favored by DSM. (shrink)
This paper explores how the diagnosis of mental disorder may affect the diagnosed subject’s self-concept by supplying an account that emphasizes the influence of autobiographical and social narratives on self-understanding. It focuses primarily on the diagnoses made according to the criteria provided by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of MentalDisorders (DSM), and suggests that the DSM diagnosis may function as a source of narrative that affects the subject’s self-concept. Engaging in this analysis by appealing to autobiographies and (...) memoirs written by people diagnosed with mental disorder, the paper concludes that a DSM diagnosis is a double-edged sword for self- concept. On the one hand, it sets the subject’s experience in an established classificatory system which can facilitate self-understanding by providing insight into subject’s condition and guiding her personal growth, as well as treatment and recovery. In this sense, the DSM diagnosis may have positive repercussions on self-development. On the other hand, however, given the DSM’s symptom-based approach and its adoption of the Biomedical Disease model, a diagnosis may force the subject to make sense of her condition divorced from other elements in her life that may be affecting her mental- health. It may lead her frame her experience only as an irreversible imbalance. This form of self-understanding may set limits on the subject’s hopes of recovery and may create impediments to her flourishing. (shrink)
Philosophical ideas about the mind, brain, and behavior can seem theoretical and unimportant when placed alongside the urgent questions of mental distress and disorder. However, there is a need to give direction to attempts to answer these questions. On the one hand, a substantial research effort is going into the investigation of brain processes and the development of drug treatments for psychiatric disorders, and on the other, a wide range of psychotherapies is becoming available to adults and children (...) with mental health problems. These two strands reflect traditional distinctions between mind and body, and causal as opposed to meaningful explanations of behavior. In this book, which has been written for psychiatrists, psychologists, philosophers, and others in related fields, the authors propose a radical re-interpretation of these traditional distinctions. Throughout the discussions philosophical theories are brought to bear on the particular questions of the explanation of behaviors, the nature of mental causation, and eventually the origins of major disorders including depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and personality disorder. (shrink)
In psychiatry, pharmacological drugs play an important experimental role in attempts to identify the neurobiological causes of mentaldisorders. Besides being developed in applied contexts as potential treatments for patients with mentaldisorders, pharmacological drugs play a crucial role in research contexts as experimental instruments that facilitate the formulation and revision of neurobiological theories of psychopathology. This paper examines the various epistemic functions that pharmacological drugs serve in the discovery, refinement, testing, and elaboration of neurobiological theories (...) of mentaldisorders. I articulate this thesis with reference to the history of antipsychotic drugs and the evolution of the dopamine hypothesis of schizophrenia in the second half of the twentieth century. I argue that interventions with psychiatric patients through the medium of antipsychotic drugs provide researchers with information and evidence about the neurobiological causes of schizophrenia. This analysis highlights the importance of pharmacological drugs as research tools in the generation of psychiatric knowledge and the dynamic relationship between practical and theoretical contexts in psychiatry. (shrink)
Recent years have witnessed a ground swell of interest in the application of evolutionary theory to issues in psychopathology (Nesse & Williams 1995, Stevens & Price 1996, McGuire & Troisi 1998). Much of this work has been aimed at finding adaptationist explanations for a variety of mentaldisorders ranging from phobias to depression to schizophrenia. There has, however, been relatively little discussion of the implications that the theories proposed by evolutionary psychologists might have for the classification of (...) class='Hi'>mentaldisorders. This is the theme we propose to explore. We'll begin, in Section 2, by providing a brief overview of the account of the mind advanced by evolutionary psychologists. In Section 3 we'll explain why issues of taxonomy are important and why the dominant approach to the classification of mentaldisorders is radically and alarmingly unsatisfactory. We will also indicate why we think an alternative approach, based on theories in evolutionary psychology, is particularly promising. In Section 4 we'll try to illustrate some of the virtues of the evolutionary psychological approach to classification. The discussion in Section 4 will highlight a quite fundamental distinction between those disorders that arise from the malfunction of a component of the mind and those that can be traced to the fact that our minds must now function in environments that are very different from the environments in which they evolved. This mis-match between the current and ancestral environments can, we maintain, give rise to serious mentaldisorders despite the fact that, in one important sense, there is nothing at all wrong with the people suffering the disorder. Their minds are functioning exactly as Mother Nature intended them to. In Section 5, we'll give a brief overview of some of the ways in which the sorts of malfunctions catalogued in Section 4 might arise, and sketch two rather different strategies for incorporating this etiologically. (shrink)
This response (a) integrates non-equilibrium evolutionary genetic models, such as coevolutionary arms-races and recent selective sweeps, into a framework for understanding common, harmful, heritable mentaldisorders; (b) discusses the forms of ancestral neutrality or balancing selection that may explain some portion of mental disorder risk; and (c) emphasizes that normally functioning psychological adaptations work against a backdrop of mutational and environmental noise. (Published Online November 9 2006).
Using methods from anthropology and cognitive psychology, this study investigated the relationship between clinicians’ folk taxonomies of mental disorder and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of MentalDisorders (DSM). Expert and novice psychologists were given sixty-seven DSM-IV diagnoses, asked to discard unfamiliar diagnoses, put the remaining diagnoses into groups that had “similar treatments” using hierarchical (making more inclusive and less inclusive groups) and dimensional (placing groups in a two-dimensional space) methodologies, and give names to the groups in (...) their taxonomies. Clinicians were familiar with a substantially smaller number of diagnoses than are in the DSM. Cultural consensus analysis and follow-up residual agreement analysis revealed similarities across clinicians’ folk taxonomies. Correlations between folk taxonomies and the DSM were moderate. Cluster analysis showed that clinicians preserved DSM higher order categories (e.g., mood disorders) but not the Axis I–Axis II distinction. This study suggests important differences between the way clinicians conceptualize mentaldisorders and the organization of the DSM-IV. (shrink)
Patients suffering from mentaldisorders are often not treated on an equal basis with patients suffering from organic diseases. In Germany, for example, alcohol-dependent patients will be detoxified on a clinical ward to ensure that they survive acute alcohol withdrawal; however, medical insurances often do not cover treatment costs for a therapy for the addictive behavior that underlies the acute alcohol problem. While patients suffering from diabetes mellitus can also display personally harmful choices and, for example, consume sugar (...) although they know that this is detrimental for their health, medical insurances pay for the acute hyperglycemic shock treatment as well as for dietary and medical treatment of the .. (shrink)
Keller & Miller (K&M) briefly mention and promptly dismiss the idea that genes for harmful mentaldisorders may confer certain advantages to affected individuals. However, the authors fail to consider that the same genes (in low doses or reduced penetrance) may be adaptive for relatives, and that this may in part explain why they are retained in the gene pool. (Published Online November 9 2006).
Grouping severe mentaldisorders into a global category is likely to lead to a “theory of everything” which forcefully explains everything and nothing. Speculation even at the phenotypic level of the single disorder cannot be fruitful, unless specific and testable models are proposed. Inclusive fitness must be incorporated in such models. (Published Online November 9 2006).
Mentaldisorders are assessed globally using the World Health Organization's International Classification of Diseases Classification of Mentaland Behavioural Disorders (ICD), which is largely modeled after (though it also influences) the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) used in the United States. Situated within the scientific narrative of American psychiatry, disorders are typically viewed by practitioners who use the DSM and ICD as essential categories of human experience, with internal, purely descriptive, value-free conditions. Criteria identified (...) in the DSM and ICD describe the behaviors and psychological experiences that manifest from these internal conditions. In .. (shrink)
Child and adolescent researchers must balance increasingly complex sets of ethical, legal, and scientific standards when investigating child and adolescent mentaldisorders. Few guidelines are available. One mechanism that provides the investigator immunity from legally compelled disclosure of research records is described. However, discretion must be exercised in its use, especially with regard to abuse reporting, voluntary disclosure of abuse, and protection of research data. Examples of discretionary issues in the use of the certificate of confidentiality are provided.
Keller & Miller's (K&M's) conclusion appears to be correct; namely, that common, harmful, heritable mentaldisorders are largely maintained at present frequencies by mutation-selection balance at many different loci. However, their “paradox” is questionable. (Published Online November 9 2006).
Essentialism is one of the most pervasive problems in mental health research. Many psychiatrists still hold the view that their nosologies will enable them, sooner or later, to carve nature at its joints and to identify and chart the essence of mentaldisorders. Moreover, according to recent research in social psychology, some laypeople tend to think along similar essentialist lines. The main aim of this article is to highlight a number of processes that possibly explain the persistent (...) presence and popularity of essentialist conceptions of mentaldisorders. One such process is the general tendency of laypeople to essentialize conceptual structures, including biological, social, and psychiatric categories. Another process involves the allure of biological psychiatry. Advocating a categorical and biological approach, this strand of psychiatry probably reinforced the already existing lay essentialism about mentaldisorders. As such, the question regarding why we essentialize mentaldisorders is a salient example of how cultural trends zero in on natural tendencies, and vice versa, and how both can boost each other. (shrink)
The effects of mental disorder are apparent and pervasive, in suffering, loss of freedom and life opportunities, negative impacts on education, work satisfaction and productivity, complications in law, institutions of healthcare, and more. With a new edition of the 'bible' of psychiatric diagnosis - the DSM - under developmental, it is timely to take a step back and re-evalutate exactly how we diagnose and define mental disorder. This new book by Derek Bolton tackles the problems involved in the (...) definition and boundaries of mental disorder. It addresses two main questions regarding mental illness. Firstly, what is the basis of the standards or norms by which we judge that a person has a mental disorder - that the person's mind is not working as it should, that their mental functioning is abnormal? Controversies about these questions have been dominated by the contrast between norms that are medical, scientific or natural, on the one hand, and social norms on the other. The norms that define mental disorder seem to belong to psychiatry, to be medical and scientific, but are they really social norms, hijacked and disguised by the medical profession? Secondly, what is the validity of the distinction between mental disorder and order, between abnormal and normal mental functioning? To what extent, notwithstanding appearances, does mental disorder involve meaningful reactions and problem-solving? These responses may be to normal problems of living, or to not so normal problems - to severe psycho-social challenges. Is there after all order in mental disorder? With the closing of asylums and the appearance of care in the community, mental disorder is now in our midst. While attempts have been made to define clearly a concept of mental disorder that is truly medical as opposed to social, there is increasing evidence that such a distinction is unviable - there is no clear line between what is normal in the population and what is abnormal. 'What is Mental Disorder?' reviews these various crucial developments and their profound impact for the concept and its boundaries in a provocative and timely book. (shrink)
The only commonality between the various psychiatric disorders is that they reflect contemporary problematic behaviors. Some psychiatric disorders have a substantial genetic component, whereas others are essentially shaped by prevailing environmental factors. Because psychiatric ailments are so heterogeneous, any universal explanation of mental illness is not likely to have any clinical or theoretical utility. (Published Online November 9 2006).
Conceiving mental disorder -- Disorder of mental disorder -- On being skeptical about mental disorder -- Seeking norms for mental disorder -- An original position -- Addiction and responsibility for self -- Reality lost and found -- Minding the missing me.
Background Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) is expected to help find the elusive, causative genetic defects associated with Bipolar Disorder (BD). This article identifies the importance of NGS and further analyses the social and ethical implications of this approach when used in research projects studying BD, as well as other psychiatric ailments, with a view to ensuring the protection of research participants. Methods We performed a systematic review of studies through PubMed, followed by a manual search through the titles and abstracts (...) of original articles, including the reviews, commentaries and letters published in the last five years and dealing with the ethical and social issues raised by NGS technologies and genomics studies of mentaldisorders, especially BD. A total of 217 studies contributed to identify the themes discussed herein. Results The amount of information generated by NGS renders individuals suffering from BD particularly vulnerable, and increases the need for educational support throughout the consent process, and, subsequently, of genetic counselling, when communicating individual research results and incidental findings to them. Our results highlight the importance and difficulty of respecting participants’ autonomy while avoiding any therapeutic misconception. We also analysed the need for specific regulations on the use and communication of incidental findings, as well as the increasing influence of NGS in health care. Conclusions Shared efforts on the part of researchers and their institutions, Research Ethics Boards as well as participants’ representatives are needed to delineate a tailored consent process so as to better protect research participants. However, health care professionals involved in BD care and treatment need to first determine the scientific validity and clinical utility of NGS-generated findings, and thereafter their prevention and treatment significance. (shrink)
Although the definition of a mental disorder has remained essentially the same from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, Third Edition, Revised (DSM-III-R) through DSM-IV to DSM-IV-TR, the account of the paraphilias has changed continually. Although the definition in all the DSMs explicitly rules out deviant sexual behavior as sufficient for labeling someone as having a mental disorder, deviant sexual behavior counts as sufficient for all the paraphilias in DSM-III-R. In DSM-IV, the account of all the (...) paraphilias is made consistent with the definition. In DSM-IV-TR, mere deviant sexual behavior is not sufficient for being classified as having a paraphilia, but immoral deviant sexual behavior is. Thus, in DSM-IV-TR, only those paraphilias that involve immoral deviant sexual behavior are inconsistent with the definition, but deviant sexual behavior by itself does not count as a mental disorder. (shrink)
A link between mental disorder and freedom is clearly present in the introduction of the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of MentalDisorders (DSM-IV). It mentions “an important loss of freedom” as one of the possible defining features of mental disorder. Meanwhile, it remains unclear how “an important loss of freedom” should be understood. In order to get a clearer view on the relationship between mental disorder and (a loss of) freedom, in (...) this article, I will explore the link between mental disorder and free will. I examine two domains in which a connection between mental disorder and free will is present: the philosophy of free will and forensic psychiatry. As it turns out, philosophers of free will frequently refer to mentaldisorders as conditions that compromise free will and reduce moral responsibility. In addition, in forensic psychiatry, the rationale for the assessment of criminal responsibility is often explained by referring to the fact that mentaldisorders can compromise free will. Yet, in both domains, it remains unclear in what way free will is compromised by mentaldisorders. Based on the philosophical debate, I discuss three senses of free will and explore their relevance to mentaldisorders. I conclude that in order to further clarify the relationship between free will and mental disorder, the accounts of people who have actually experienced the impact of a mental disorder should be included in future research. (shrink)
During the last years, there has been an important discussion on the concept of mental disorder. Several accounts of such a concept have been offered by theorists, although neither of these accounts seems to have successfully answered both the question of what it means for a certain mental condition to be a disorder and the question of what it means for a certain disorder to be mental. In this paper, I propose an account of the concept of (...)mental disorder that, if I am right, provides satisfactory answers to both of these questions. Furthermore, this account (unlike other accounts presented in the literature on the subject) meets the requirements for achieving a crucial goal underlying the project of sorting out the concept of mental disorder, namely the goal of allowing the existence of a dialogue between mental health professionals of different theoretical orientations. To achieve this goal, the account herein proposed is not based in any particular theoretical framework, but in both ordinary and technical theory-neutral concepts. In the last part of the paper, I argue that it follows from most accounts of the concept of mental disorder that the disciplines concerned with explaining some mentaldisorders are not branches of medicine, and that the treatment of some mentaldisorders is not a matter of medical intervention. (shrink)
According to the predominant view within contemporary philosophy of psychiatry, mentaldisorders involve essentially personal and societal values, and thus, the concept of mental disorder cannot, even in principle, be elucidated in a thoroughly objective manner. Several arguments have been adduced in support of this impossibility thesis. My critical examination of two master arguments advanced to this effect by Derek Bolton and Jerome Wakefield, respectively, raises serious doubts about their soundness. Furthermore, I articulate an alternative, thoroughly objective, (...) though in part normative, framework for the elucidation of the concept of mental disorder. The concepts of mental dysfunction and impairment of basic psychological capacities to satisfy one’s basic needs are the building blocks of this framework. I provide an argument for the objective harmfulness of genuine mentaldisorders as patterns of mental dysfunctions with objectively negative biotic values, as well as a formally correct definition of the concept of mental disorder. Contrary to the received view, this objective framework allows for the possibility of genuine mentaldisorders due to adverse social conditions, as well as for quasi-universal mentaldisorders. I conclude that overall, the project of providing an objective account of the concept of mental disorder is far from impossible, and moreover, that it is, at least in principle, feasible. (shrink)
In this Introduction, I situate the underlying project “Autonomy and Mental Disorder” with reference to current debates on autonomy in moral and political philosophy, and the philosophy of action. I then offer an overview of the individual contributions. More specifically, I begin by identifying three points of convergence in the debates at issue, stating that autonomy is: 1) a fundamentally liberal concept; 2) an agency concept and; 3) incompatible with (severe) mental disorder. Next, I explore, in the context (...) of decisional capacity assessments, the difficulties to reconcile 1) and 2) with 3) which they at the same time seem to imply. Having clarified the centrality of a cogent notion of mental disorder for addressing these difficulties, I comment on three promising lines of inquiry about the nature and scope of autonomy that emerge from the following chapters. (shrink)
I shall begin with the "anti-psychiatry" view that the lack of a physical basis excludes many familiar mentaldisorders from the category of "illness". My response to this argument will be that anti-psychiatrists are probably right to hold that most mentaldisorders do not involve any physical disorder, but that they are wrong to conclude from this that these mentaldisorders are not illnesses.
A new diagnostic system for organic psychiatry is presented. We first define "organic psychiatry", and then give the theoretical basis for conceiving organic psychiatric disorders in terms of hypothetical psychopathogenetic processes, HPP:s. Such hypothetical disorders are not strictly identical to the clusters of symptoms in which they typically manifest themselves, since the symptoms may be concealed or modified by intervening factors in non typical circumstances and/or in the simultaneous presence of several disorders. The six basic disorders (...) in our system are Astheno Emotional Disorder (AED), Somnolence Sopor Coma Disorder (SSCD), Hallucination Coenestopathy Depersonalisation Disorder (HCDD), Confusional Disorder (CD), Emotional Motivational Blunting Disorder (EMD) and Korsakoff's Amnestic Disorder (KAD). We describe their usual etiologies, their typical symptoms and course, and some forms of interaction between them. (shrink)
How should we deal with mental disorder - as an "illness" like diabetes or bronchitis, as a "problem in living", or what? This book seeks to answer such questions by going to their roots, in philosophical questions about the nature of the human mind, the ways in which it can be understood, and about the nature and aims of scientific medicine. The controversy over the nature of mental disorder and the appropriateness of the "medical model" is not just (...) an abstract theoretical debate: it has a bearing on very practical issues of appropriate treatment, as well as on psychiatric ethics and law. A major contention of this book is that these questions are ultimately philosophical in character: they can be resolved only if we abandon some widespread philosophical assumptions about the "mind" and the "body", and about what it means for medicine to be "scientific". The "phenomenological" approach of the twentieth-century French philosopher, Maurice Merleau-Ponty is used to question these assumptions. His conception of human beings as "body-subjects" is argued to provide a more illuminating way of thinking about mental disorder and the ways in which it can be understood and treated. The conditions we conventionally call "mentaldisorders" are, it is argued, not a homogeneous group: the standard interpretation of the medical model fits some more readily than others. The core mentaldisorders, however, are best regarded as disturbed ways of being in the world, which cause unhappiness because of deviation from "human" rather than straightforwardly "biological" norms. That is, they are problems in how we experience the world and especially other people, rather than in physiological functioning - even though the nature of our experience cannot ultimately be separated from the ways in which our bodies function. This analysis is applied within the book both to issues in clinical treatment and to the special ethical and legal questions of psychiatry. Written by a well known philosopher in an accessible and clear style, this book should be of interest to a wide range of readers, from psychiatrists to social workers, lawyers, ethicists, philosophers and anyone with an interest in mental health. (shrink)
As one aspect of China's modernization, the importation of Western psychiatric ideas poses a mystery. How are such ideas integrated with traditional assumptions? The apparently wholesale adoption of Western psychiatric categories runs counter to the fact that the Chinese have been generally reluctant to define problems in highly individualized psychiatric terms. Our lack of knowledge as to how the Chinese and Western medical models interface raises questions about the cross-cultural applicability of psychiatric theory. Ironically, the very conceptual categories intended to (...) facilitate professional discourse obscure cultural, political, and epistemological differences between Chinese and Western thought.This paper focuses on certain incongruities in psychiatric theory and practice in order to underscore many unresolved issues that still exist with respect to our cross-cultural understandings of mental illness. Insofar as the trend has been towards standardizing methodology, taxonomies have been generated without a corresponding development in textured comparison. Originating from Western theoretical frameworks, comparative analyses have been otherwise devoid of culture-specific knowledge. (shrink)
In view of the publication of the DSM-V researchers were asked to discuss the theoretical implications of the definition of mentaldisorders. The reasons for the use, in the DSM-III, of the term disorder instead of disease are considered. The analysis of these reasons clarifies the distinction between the general definition of disorder and its implicit, technical meaning which arises from concrete use in DSM disorders. The characteristics and limits of this technical meaning are discussed and contrasted (...) to alternative definitions, like Wakefield’s harmful/dysfunction analysis. It is shown that Wakefield’s analysis faces internal theoretical problems in addition to practical limits for its acceptance in the DSM-V. In particular, it is shown that: a) the term dysfunction is not purely factual but intrinsically normative/evaluative; b) it is difficult to clarify what dysfunctions are in the psychiatric context (the dysfunctional mechanism involved being unknown in most cases and the use of evolutionary theory being even more problematic); c) the use of conceptual analysis and commonsense intuition to define dysfunctions leaves unsatisfied empiricists; d) it is unlikely that the authors of the DSM-V will accept Wakefield’s suggestion to revise the diagnostic criteria of any single DSM disorder in accordance with his analysis, because this is an excessively extensive change and also because this would probably reduce DSM reliability. In conclusion, it is pointed up in which sense DSM mentaldisorders have to be conceived as constructs, and that this undermines the realistic search for a clear-cut demarcation criterion between what is disorder and what is not. (shrink)
Neuroscience and psychiatry -- Psychotherapy and psychiatry -- Diagnosis in psychiatry -- The boundaries of mentaldisorders -- Mood and mental illness -- Psychiatry's problem children -- Evidence-based psychiatry -- Psychiatric drugs: miracles and limitations -- Talk therapies: the need for a unified method -- Psychiatry in practice -- Training psychiatrists -- Psychiatry and society -- The future of psychiatry.
Introduction : the existence of mental illness -- The likeness argument -- The categorical argument -- Metaphor -- Two metaphors from physical medicine -- The metaphor of mental illness -- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, social construction, and metaphor -- Metaphors and models.
The public, mental health consumers, as well as mental health practitioners wonder about what kinds of values mental health professionals hold, and what kinds of values influence psychiatric diagnosis. Are mentaldisorders socio-political, practical, or scientific concepts? Is psychiatric diagnosis value-neutral? What role does the fundamental philosophical question "How should I live?" play in mental health care? In his carefully nuanced and exhaustively referenced monograph, psychiatrist and philosopher of psychiatry John Z. Sadler describes the (...) manifold kinds of values and value judgements involved in psychiatric diagnosis and classification systems like the DSM. Professor Sadler takes the reader on a fascinating conceptual tour of the inner workings of psychiatric diagnosis, considering the role of science, culture, sexuality, politics, gender, technology, human nature, patienthood, and professions in building his vision of a more humane psychiatric diagnostic process. (shrink)
In “Mad Narratives: Self-Constitutions Through the Diagnostic Looking Glass,” by using narrative approaches to the self, I explore how the diagnosis of mental disorder shapes personal identities and influences flourishing. My particular focus is the diagnosis grounded on the criteria provided by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of MentalDisorders (DSM). I develop two connected accounts pertaining to the self and mental disorder. I use the memoirs and personal stories written by the subjects with a DSM diagnosis (...) as illustrations to bolster my claims. First, expanding on the narrative approaches to the self, I explain how narratives about a subject shape her self-constitution. I elucidate how this process is generated by drawing on research in developmental psychology, cognitive science, and social psychology. Next, using this account as a springboard, I argue that the DSM diagnosis of mental disorder serves as a source of narrative, entering into the patients’ autobiographical and social narratives. This plays an important role in the diagnosed subjects’ self-understanding, self-constitution and flourishing. In this vein, how mentaldisorders are classified is not only a theoretical question about accurately taxonomizing the various experiences related to mental distress but also an ethical question about which ways of talking about mentaldisorders will allow subjects to respond effectively to their psychological distress, to flourish and to live autonomous and fulfilling lives. Finally, I suggest that the DSM-based narratives wield a double-edged sword when it comes to the subject’s flourishing: On the one hand, there are problems with some DSM-based narratives that stem from the DSM diagnostic schema and the culture of DSM diagnoses. These problems render these DSM-based narratives unbeneficial for flourishing as they constrain the range of adoptive social, cognitive and emotional responses the subjects can give to their mentaldisorders. On the other hand, there are grounds to believe that some DSM-based narratives help subjects to flourish. For instance, they provide certainty to subjects' otherwise puzzling symptoms and help them reach out to others with similar experiences. Understanding how the DSM-based narratives can both benefit and harm will help us address problems with psychiatric diagnoses and the dissemination of knowledge about mentaldisorders in popular culture. The project aims to convince both philosophers and psychiatrists that no plausible theory of the self can be developed without attending to the topic of mental disorder and that no theory of mental disorder can be complete without devising the tools provided by the philosophical approaches to the self as well as developmental and social psychology. It also calls for methodological alterations in mental health ethics research, arguing that a careful scrutiny of mental disorder memoirs can advance the ethical underpinnings to the practice of psychiatry. (shrink)
Maladapting Minds discusses a number of reasons why philosophers of psychiatry should take an interest in evolutionary explanations of mentaldisorders and, more generally, in evolutionary thinking. First of all, there is the nascent field of evolutionary psychiatry. Unlike other psychiatrists, evolutionary psychiatrists engage with ultimate, rather than proximate, questions about mental illnesses. Being a young and youthful new discipline, evolutionary psychiatry allows for a nice case study in the philosophy of science. Secondly, philosophers of psychiatry have (...) engaged with evolutionary theory because evolutionary considerations are often said to play a role in defining the concept of mental disorder. The basic question here is: Can the concept of mental disorder be given an objective definition, or is it rather a normative concept? Thirdly and finally, evolutionary thinking in psychiatry has often been a source of inspiration for a philosophical view on human nature. Thus evolutionary psychiatrists have suggested, for example, that man's vulnerability to mentaldisorders may well be one of the defining features of our species. -/- Written by leading authors in philosophy, psychiatry, biology and psychology, this volume illustrates that many debates in contemporary philosophy of psychiatry are profoundly influenced by evolutionary approaches to mentaldisorders. Conversely, it also reveals how philosophers can help contribute to the burgeoning field of evolutionary psychiatry. It is important reading for a wide range of readers interested in mental health care and philosophy. (shrink)