Psychiatrists use lists to define mental health. Lists that attempt to trace mental disorders to parts of the brain. Science historian Jamie Cohen-Cole says the change had unintended consequences. Psychiatrists have been looking for more than a ce...
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Questioning Anxiety and Depression Diagnoses Male1: On the web and in your hands this is MDI TV. Male2: What is in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet thus Juliet spoke as she lamented the feud between Capulets and Montagues that kept her apart from Romeo. Now we are not here for a Shakespeare lesson but to look at the power of names and shaping how we view and treat mental health disorders. Half a century ago, depression was rare while multitudes sought to calm their anxieties. Then beginning in the 1970s depression diagnosis surged while anxiety waned. In the Milbank Quarterly Journal sociologist Allan Horwitz argues that what changed were not the afflictions of patients but how professionals define them. Allan: Back then they were seen as relieving anxiety, relieving tension and stress and not depression whereas now they called anti depressant medications even though they are basically used for the same sorts of conditions. Male2: Horwitz says the most popular prescription drug in the 1950s was Milltown and anxiety treatment, it was dethroned by Librium and then Vallium also anxiety drugs. Then these medications got a bad wrap after research surfaced suggesting serious side effects. In the 1980s researchers paid increasing attention to depression and the new anti depressant drugs hit the market eventually surging to sales highs. Meanwhile a variety of factors pushed mental health research and treatment away from the lives and feelings of patients and toward a sharp focus on brain biology and drug treatment edged out other approaches to dealing with the nervousness, sadness in more ways that was once called anxiety but are now associated more often with depression. In part psychiatrists wanted to be more like their medical colleagues. Science-historian Jamie Cohen-Cole says they shed Freudian concepts of neurosis in favor of treating the brain like any other organ. Jamie: Psychiatrists have been—looking to find a way over since more than a century to pin down these specific diagnostic criteria for the illnesses they wish—to treat. Part of the problem that psychiatry has had all along is that it is a less scientific or biological science and one of the things that the psycho pharmaceuticals offer is a specific treatment for a specific illness. Male2: The shift from anxiety to depression accompanied the evolution of the definitions of mental illnesses compiled in the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, the basic dictionary of psychiatry. The DSM as it is known is now under going its fifth revision, observers expect that the new definitions; the names that it gives things that bothers us will have a powerful influence on how people are treated. And that influence brings attention to the ties between many of the experts who are advising the DSM and the pharmaceutical companies that produce the drugs matched to DSM diagnosis. More than half of the DSM 5 taskforce members have ties to the pharmaceutical industry. In light of recent research reviews they’ve question how much relief people with common mild depression get from the most popular anti depressant drugs? Allan Horwitz predicts the new DSM will usher in a new phase of psychiatric treatment including new marketing campaigns. A draft of the upcoming DSM includes a new diagnosis of mixed anxiety depression. In his review of the history of the ebb and flow of those labels Horwitz quotes another researcher who cited the pharmaceutical market analysis indicating many people with anxiety disorders are not currently being treated. The analysis says as a result drug manufacturers are failing to maximize revenues from the anxiety disorders market, investment in awareness campaigns is essential so be aware.

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