In a recent article in the Irish Times, Jason Walsh discusses the issues surrounding diagnosis, mental health, and the upcoming revision to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
Some argue that mental health providers have gradually moved toward over-diagnosis and over-medicalization. Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is often one of the first disorders to come under fire. The comment is usually, "When did ordinary shyness become a disease"?
On the other hand, many realize that the DSM allows providers to identify disorders based on clusters of symptoms and offer treatment that works; be it medication, therapy, or a combination of the two. In the end, isn't that what the profession should be about?
Perhaps what is needed is a change in the way mental health diagnoses are viewed. If there were less stigma attached to a diagnosis, more people might get the help they need.
When we can talk openly about mental health issues the way we do about our physical health, maybe then we can start discussing over-medicalization. Until then, I think a lot of people are just blowing smoke.
What do you think? Is social anxiety normal behavior or worthy of a diagnostic label?
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