Saving normal in a world gone mad

In the early 1990s, American psychiatrist Allen Frances was chair of the taskforce that created the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV (DSM-IV) (published in 1994). The DSM is the book used by psychiatrists to track and describe mental disorders and conditions. He had previously been part of the team – led by a former teacher, Bob Spitzer – that created DSM-III (published in 1980) and DSM-IIIR (published in 1987). Now he is one of the most prominent critics of DSM-5 (published in 2013).

Frances describes his book Saving Normal: An Insider’s Revolt Against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life as ‘part mea culpa, part j’accuse, part cri de coeur’.

Continue reading “Saving normal in a world gone mad”

Ignore these pedlars of panic – the kids are all right

‘Unhappy childhoods afflict one in 10 youngsters.’ So said newspaper headlines in the UK last week, following the publication of a ‘landmark survey’ by the Children’s Society of 30,000 eight- to 15-year-olds. Britain’s happiness guru, Lord Layard, co-author of a previous Children’s Society report titled A Good Childhood: Searching for Values in a Competitive Age, said: ‘Everybody involved in shaping children’s lives should sit up and take note of this report.’

Continue reading “Ignore these pedlars of panic – the kids are all right”