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Obsessive Rationality Disorder: Adbusters-Diagnosis

Pic: Vanity Fair (PD)

Pic: Vanity Fair (PD)

From the brilliant annals of the technocratic analgesic, Adbusters in Nov-Dec ’13….fictional, but so resonant I think DSM-V should revise to include it!!

-Obsessive Rationality Disorder-

History and Identity:

Formerly known as cognitive compartmentalization syndrome, ORD is a condition wherein emotion and feeling become detached from cognitive processes and social interactions.  Sufferers are driven by progressively irresistible impulses toward exactitude, order and logic.  Daily tasks and household chores are inspected and refined.  Efficiency in all aspects of life becomes an obsession.  Originally thought to be a condition unique to the West, mass social manifestations can now be located throughout the world.

Characteristics of the Disorder:

In early stages, ORD manifests itself in the desire to suppress existential uncertainty with scientific and mathematical exactitude.  Fascination, mystery and the unknown are repressed-first consciously- then unconsciously.  Over the course of the affliction, the coping dimension of the disease transforms from extreme discomfort to mild pleasure, making withdrawal painful and neurologically degenerative.  Those with advanced symptoms often seek out positions of power and influence.  Empathetic and altruistic pleasure centers of the brain shutdown.  In economic and political circles, unhealthy and destructive fixations with profit margins, scientific certainty and mathematical proofs substitute intuitive, ethical and moral considerations,  At this stage, detachment from the natural and experiential wold is complete and successful treatment outcomes are rare.  If not for the pervasiveness of acute-stage ORD, mass institutionalization would be recommended treatment.  Rapture is the only known cure.

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Medicine’s Big New Battleground: Does Mental Illness Really Exist?

mentalFirst NIMH, now DCP…  Looks like a world war between psychologists and psychiatrists may be brewing.  Jamie Doward writes in the Guardian:

It has the distinctly uncatchy, abbreviated title DSM-5, and is known to no one outside the world of mental health.

But, even before its publication a week on Wednesday, the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, psychiatry’s dictionary of disorders, has triggered a bitter row that stretches across the Atlantic and has fuelled a profound debate about how modern society should treat mental disturbance.

Critics claim that the American Psychiatric Association’s increasingly voluminous manual will see millions of people unnecessarily categorised as having psychiatric disorders. For example, shyness in children, temper tantrums and depression following the death of a loved one could become medical problems, treatable with drugs. So could internet addiction.

Inevitably such claims have given ammunition to psychiatry’s critics, who believe that many of the conditions are simply inventions dreamed up for the benefit of pharmaceutical giants.

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Cultural Illness and the Curse of Shifting Sands, DSM V

Cultural Relativity

In evaluating dysfunction or illness, we have long followed the seemingly straightforward model of diagnose, treat, evaluate, iterate.

However, diagnosis has long been the secret — or not so secret — Achilles heel of the psychiatric establishment. Many philosophic issues arise, issues of cultural relativism, ethical issues of financial interests in pharmaceuticals, to name a few. These are issues that ‘by the book’ psychiatrists frequently dismiss as ‘merely philosophical.’ Indeed, it’s been a relatively long time since Freud or Jung were taken entirely seriously by the establishment doling out the meds. “By the book.” What is “the book”?

Since DSM-III (American Psychiatric Association 1980), disorders have been defined in terms of syndromes—that is, clusters of symptoms that covary together (see the section following, titled “Need to Explore the Possibility of Fundamental Changes . . .”). …

The major focus of field trials for DSM-III was establishing the reliability with which multiple clinicians could come to the same diagnostic conclusions when presented with a patient’s expressed signs and symptoms.

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