Education And Debate

Commentary: ordinary misery should not be mistaken for pathology

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7083.816 (Published 15 March 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:816
  1. Sue White, lecturer in social worka
  1. a Department of Social Policy and Social Work University of Manchester Manchester M1 3PL

    Introduction

    I find myself in broad agreement with many of the propositions in Robert Goodman's paper. In fact, my former colleagues in a child and adolescent mental health service became wearily accustomed to my repeated, and often heated, references to “the psychiatrisation of everything.” Dr Goodman is right to point out that studies suggesting that 20% of all children are “maladjusted or distressed” can only be reflecting the trend for ordinary (and usually transient) misery to become steadily pathologised.

    However, I must take issue with Dr Goodman over some of his assertions and over his rather unrealistic action plan. Firstly, he argues that child psychiatrists should concentrate on …

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