A 'One-Size-Fits-All' Approach To Mental Health Leads To Global 'Diagnostic Inflation'

In this Globalist opinion piece, Ian Dowbiggin, an author and professor of history at the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada, examines the issue of “diagnostic inflation” within the psychiatry field in the last half century and how, “[a]s Ethan Watters and others have argued, lately American psychiatry has been exporting its diagnoses and treatments to other cultures, ‘homogenizing how the world goes mad.'”

He writes, “We … need to discuss extensively the difference between bona fide mental disorders and the psychological and emotional highs and lows of everyday life. … If people are schooled to believe in the WHO’s vision [of mental health], then demand for mental health is bound to be insatiable.” He concludes that “the time has certainly come for all stakeholders in mental health care — industry, government, taxpayers, the courts, patients and their families — to acknowledge the role they play in policymaking. The WHO’s Mental Health Day is a welcome opportunity to take stock of what progress has been made — and what we have lost in our search for sanity” (10/11).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

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