Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews From the Frontline

The psychiatric oligarchs who medicalise normality

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 02 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3135
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}

Mental health should be a priority for all societies and its stigma always challenged. However, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that a staggering 25% of people in the United States have a “mental illness.”1 This is so large a figure that there can be only one conclusion: psychiatry is medicalising normality. The definition of a “mental illness” is one of opinion. These opinions are drawn from a small group of psychiatric oligarchs who author the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Their opinions are polluted, however: …

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