Intended for healthcare professionals

The Quality Of Life

The obsessive pursuit of health and happiness

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 23 December 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:1576
  1. David Greaves, senior lecturer in medical humanities
  1. School of Health Science, Centre for Philosophy and Health Care, University of Wales, Swansea SA2 8PP

Manic depression is part of my life, and as I have suffered both the agony of manic episodes and the despair of depressive ones, the thought of obtaining lasting happiness has a recurring appeal. Yet deep down I know this appeal to be false.

Richard Bentall once proposed that happiness be classified as a mental disorder,1 but only as a device to parody psychiatric orthodoxy, and so did not intend it to be taken literally. He may have stumbled unwittingly, …

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