What Is Mental Illness? A Mini-Carnival

i-80e488b77c635fe955fead34e5a0014e-mentalillness.jpgWelcome to the mental illness mini-carnival! Mental illness, or psychopathology, is a field riddled with controversy and it can be sometimes confusing to wade through all the uncertainty and conflicting data and opinions. In an effort to help make sense of some of it, your faithful psychology and neuroscience bloggers are here to help.

"Illness is like the street you've driven down your whole life. So familiar you've never bothered to look around. We've all experienced illness, either first-hand or via someone we know, but rarely do we stop to wonder what it really is." Christian Jarrett of BPS Research Digest starts us out with an explanation of what qualifies as a mental disorder.

At the Neurocritic blog, you are invited to ponder the question of what "abnormal, maladaptive behavior" really means and the relationship of neurobiology to such behavior.

Rift of the Psycasm blog takes an evolutionary approach, and treats us to his musings on the potential relationship between adaptation and psychopathology.

Scicurious deconstructs the term "psychopathology" and offers perhaps another way to consider mental illness at her blog Neurotic Physiology.

And here at The Thoughtful Animal, consider several of the complicated aspects of determining what qualifies as psychopathology using ADHD as a case study.

I will add more links as I get them.

Image source.

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This is a very interesting topic. I think youâre right in your assessment of mental illness. The analogy you provided of a âstreet youâve driven on your whole lifeâ was spot on.

The paper by Stein et al in Psychological Medicine earlier this year, their attempt to define mental disorder, was pure pseudoscience. They breached any number of the most basic rules of science and of philosophy in their bizarre attempt to define mental disorder as a biological disease of the brain. I have taken each point in turn and shown it to be spurious in Chapter 6 of my book "Humanizing Psychiatrists: Toward a humane psychiatry," published last month. I sent a copy of the chapter to Prof Stein so he could check it for faults but wasn't honoured with a response.
The new part of DSM-V, "psychotic risk syndrome," is being pushed from here in Australia and is simply dangerous. It is a case of psychiatry unleashed, which is all the worse because orthodox psychiatry doesn't have a model of mental disorder. Does not now, never has, and certainly doesn't have one on the horizon, as the Stein debacle shows. Yet they are determined to put ever larger and ever younger proportions of the population on heavy doses of toxic drugs for life. Every thinking person needs to look very closely at what is being done under wraps by the DSM-V committees (Stein's group was actually unofficial, a clever way to raise the question in public and deny it if it went wrong).
Jock McLaren, Psychiatrist, Darwin, Australia