A proposal to classify happiness as a psychiatric disorder [Journal of medical ethics]

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posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 02:19 AM
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It is proposed that happiness be classified as a psychiatric disorder and be included in future editions of the major diagnostic manuals under the new name: major affective disorder, pleasant type. In a review of the relevant literature it is shown that happiness is statistically abnormal, consists of a discrete cluster of symptoms, is associated with a range of cognitive abnormalities, and probably reflects the abnormal functioning of the central nervous system. One possible objection to this proposal remains--that happiness is not negatively valued. However, this objection is dismissed as scientifically irrelevant.

A proposal to classify happiness as a psychiatric disorder


I just stumbled across this amazing document from 1992, did an ATS search but there were absolutely no results at all. The author of this proposal, Richard P Bentall, possibly the saddest person on Earth, argues that happiness should be considered a psychiatric disorder because happy people are a statistical anomaly. I find it a little bit disturbing that anyone could try and define happiness in terms of cognitive impairment, and at one point he even postulates it could be a disease. Honestly, reading through that paper is like reading the words of a man who has no soul, a man who has lived the majority of his life in a lab and no longer even understands the basic principles of being human.

The author has a disorder imo, and his disorder is his obsession with trying to rationalize consciousness and emotion with such a bland and sterile approach, lacking any creativity or intuition, where everything is quantized and broken down into discrete rigid theories... black and white principles which fail to really account for the vast complexities of human consciousness and complex emotional states such as happiness. Only some one with a psychiatric disorder could reduce the human emotion of happiness into such a ridiculous state of scientific disconnection. Honestly I wonder if the man who wrote that paper is even human.

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edit on 25/7/2012 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 02:23 AM
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psychiatry and psychology have always seemed a little too opinioned based to even be classified as a science or medicine...

and its history is probably the worst of any field of medicine...

Neuroscience is promising, hopefully with a better understanding of that we can bypass the guess work and Disorder of the week of psychology.

Dont get me wrong, there are some things they get right, and people find help, but like I said, seems way to opinion based.



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 02:29 AM
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reply to post by benrl
 


Yes I agree, it's all a very flimsy framework of assumptions if you ask me. And If you read the article you'll see that the guy isn't even talking about those people who are excessively happy, he's just talking about people who are more happy than "usual". So anyone who doesn't "fit in with the average crowd" in terms of happiness should be labelled as a person with a psychiatric disorder, according to him. In other words he is saying that we should all be the same, and that when we break from the "trend", there must be something wrong with our brain, and we need to fix it so that we become "normal" (aka a sad mofo who cries about everything in life). I mean really... that sums up the whole industry of psychiatry: if you aren't the same as the average then your brain/mind is "abnormal".
edit on 25/7/2012 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 02:32 AM
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The mental health field is nothing more than the right arm of the pharm monster these days. You only have to see how many kids they have on crap ADD and antidepressant "medicines" to realize that.



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 02:34 AM
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Oh Thank God this is finally being mentioned again.

Happy people seriously disturb me. I feel like a Russian citizen most of the time, expecting tragedy at any time, and not expecting anything benevolent from my government.

"Expectations" are a serious impairment upon our species.
We should have free reign to do as we will. Leave us be. We will evolve naturally.



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 02:41 AM
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Yeah, I'm glad this guy's proposal got buried in the archives. Psychiatry /psychology already has enough trouble as it is... throughout the past, as a new "science," it has been riddled with completely false and made-up theories. It's always threatening when someone tries to do something like make happiness a disorder, because really, what are they basing their disorders on? Thin air, mostly. And yet psychiatrists control how so many people think by telling them right and wrong ways to be.

Hopefully, there is a movement away from this towards a brand of psychology where healthy thinking means being who you want to be, and unhealthy thinking is what gets in the way of that. I would also like to see more physics involved... I think this is going to be what it is like in the future.

Even today, there are some aspects of psychology, especially dealing with the soul and free will, that are operating in the stone age. I also think they will be updated in the next century or so.
edit on 25-7-2012 by darkbake because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 02:43 AM
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reply to post by ChaoticOrder
 

Its not that far fetched though, I mean people with bipolar disorder experience mania which is intense happiness and euphoria before they swing back down into depression. People are diagnosed with just depression, so why cant someone be diagnosed with just mania? The happiness of course would have to be random and not attached to an event, someone, or something.
edit on 25-7-2012 by acmpnsfal because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 02:44 AM
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So now that my antidepressants have worked, I am now likely to be diagnosed with 'happiness.'

I guess they'll have to put me on depressants to correct that condition.

But then I'll need antidepressants again...



If ever there were a time to invest in pharmaceuticals, it's now
edit on 25-7-2012 by Hawking because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 02:50 AM
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Fortunately the outbreak of happiness of the 1980s seems to have been brought under control.
We have returned to the normal human state.



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 03:01 AM
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Originally posted by Phage
Fortunately the outbreak of happiness of the 1980s seems to have been brought under control.
We have returned to the normal human state.

Haha. That is your best post ever Phage.



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 03:07 AM
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reply to post by acmpnsfal
 


Yes I agree, but the paper isn't talking about random unprovoked outbreaks of happiness, or even excessive happiness, it's just talking about people who are happier than "normal". He is postulating there must be something wrong with them because they aren't like everyone else, they are a statistical anomaly.

Actually I would say the opposite of that is closer to the truth. Humans aren't supposed to be living in this state of constant depression and sadness, accustom to rat race banality and an unhealthy fear and distrust of everyone around them. The system has conditioned us to be like that, but it can't degrade the mental state of everyone.

Those people who resist the mental degradation and psychological attacks of the system to remain positive are much healthier people in terms of mental health, and all the depressed people are actually the ones who are suffering abnormal mental conditions. We aren't supposed to be in this sad pathetic state.
edit on 25/7/2012 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 03:15 AM
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I actually agree with it. Happiness is not a normal state of being. Someone who is always happy, is not the norm. We're wired to be always on the lookout for danger. It's what keeps us alive. Constant happiness is the result of a false sense of security. We 'can' be happy, as long as we are 'allowed' to be unhappy, as they both go hand in hand.

People who are not happy are told there is something wrong with them, to cheer up, to snap out of it. And by trying to become falsely happy they only make themselves feel worse. They start to believe that there is something wrong with them and that they should be happy. They're stuck trying to be happy and failing, which only re-enforces what people tell them..

So why aren't they happy?

Because happiness is not the normal state of being.

If people could accept that being happy all of the time is not normal, and that it's OK to be sad or feel like crap, they wouldn't seek happiness in things that are artificial. And by doing that, would actually realise when they do feel truly happy. Instead of always being told there's something wrong with them, to keep them in a constant state of suffering.

What do I know thought, I'm a miserable sod.. lol
edit on 25-7-2012 by mainidh because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 03:24 AM
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reply to post by mainidh
 



If people could accept that being happy all of the time is not normal, and that it's OK to be sad or feel like crap, they wouldn't seek happiness in things that are artificial.

As you may have noted if you read the thread properly, the paper does not highlight people who are constantly happy or excessively happy... I would agree there is a line in the sand when the degree of apparent happiness becomes strange and concerning, possibly indicating a mental impairment. However this guy is trying to label anyone who displays an above average degree of happiness as a person who has something wrong with their brain, as if they shouldn't be any more happy than the majority of other people. He is mistakenly using the majority average as an indicator of what the typical or normal degree of happiness "should" be, and anyone outside of that is a statistical anomaly, indicating they have an "abnormal" brain. But he fails to take into consideration other factors which may have caused the majority average measurement to become vastly skewed from where it may "naturally" be, such as the sociological factors associated with modern day life.
edit on 25/7/2012 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 03:29 AM
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reply to post by mainidh
 


Someone who is always happy, is not the norm.

The paper doesn't seem to specify "always". Apparently one could still be classified as temporarily mentally ill if they had a "good day" (Whatever that is, I'm normal. I never had one of those.).

Actually , the paper seems to be a joke. Taking a dig at the profession. I wonder if it was published in the April issue.
edit on 7/25/2012 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 03:42 AM
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reply to post by Phage
 

Ok, not an April Fools article but it was, apparently, meant to be satirical.

Richard Bentall once proposed that happiness be classified as a mental disorder, but only as a device to parody psychiatric orthodoxy, and so did not intend it to be taken literally. He may have stumbled unwittingly, however, on a modern truth—that the obsessive pursuit of happiness is a sort of madness to which our society is particularly prone.

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
edit on 7/25/2012 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 03:42 AM
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Thanks for posting this topic. The guy who wrote this paper is an extreme example of how the psychiatric profession actually operates. It is a pseudo science based on observation and subjective opinion - does not concern itself with any trauma the individual before them may have been through which may have caused them to become depressed/manic/psychotic in the first place.

But worse - much worse - it prescribes drugs on the basis of trial and error to supposedly correct the brain's chemical imbalance - without first checking the brain's actual chemical balance (how do you do that anyway? - 'who cares' says psychiatry 'we have our theories and we're sticking with them'.) Those same drugs can be lethal while being prescribed for non-fatal conditions. (e.g. Number one killer of the schizophrenic is heart failure) And now we have the CTO (compulsory treatment orders) which forces the sufferer to consume these meds under threat of loss of liberty for indeterminate periods of time.

People do have issues. psychosis, depression, mania are all very real (and sometimes frightening) conditions. People suffering need care and support to bring them through it - but not the punitive treatment currently on offer by psychiatry.

Then of course there is the medicalisation of criminal behaviour that psychiatry is so fond of doing. The psychopath is NOT mentally ill - they have a personality disorder which is untreatable and yet, here in the UK at least, killers and child abusers can be on the same ward as people with post natal depression and child abuse victims.




posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 03:48 AM
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reply to post by Phage
 


Good find. Seems like it does the job in proving the point though eh?



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 03:57 AM
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Originally posted by Phage
reply to post by Phage
 

Ok, not and April Fools article but it was, apparently, meant to be satirical.

Richard Bentall once proposed that happiness be classified as a mental disorder, but only as a device to parody psychiatric orthodoxy, and so did not intend it to be taken literally. He may have stumbled unwittingly, however, on a modern truth—that the obsessive pursuit of happiness is a sort of madness to which our society is particularly prone.

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

Thank goodness, I suspected that paper was too insane to be real. He does make a good point too... it's so easy to label anyone as "mentally abnormal" simply because they don't fit in with the majority trend. That's how psychiatry works more often than not, and it leads to a range of absurd conclusions. One might actually believe happiness is a psychiatric disorder based on the purely scientific analysis and basic psychiatric assumptions, but clearly that is an absurd conclusion. Are people who have more energy than "average" people some how in need of treatment? Are people who exhibit a heightened degree of paranoia and question the status-quo more than average in need of treatment? Are people who don't socialize and interact with other people as much as average people in need of treatment? According to orthodox psychiatry the answer to many of those questions would be yes, especially if one were to exhibit a mix of such "symptoms".

EDIT: And they way they try to counter his analysis is laughable. Of course many people exhibit an "obsessive pursuit of happiness", because the majority of people are living dull depressing lives constrained to the chains of rat race banality. Their brains are also constantly flooded with negative information about the terrible state of reality and it slowly eats away at them. It's only natural for people to seek a more positive state of existence, there is nothing nice about being depressed, it is "depressing" after all. Their statement is a deceptive validation of what he is trying to express in that paper, they are saying the desire to be happier people is an unhealthy obsession, thus indicating the pursuit of happiness is actually some type of illness, thus showing how stupid they actually are and how true his criticism is. A typical response from an industry which can't handle that type of criticism.
edit on 25/7/2012 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 04:21 AM
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reply to post by ChaoticOrder
 


Their statement is a deceptive validation of what he is trying to express in that paper, they are saying the desire to be happier people is an unhealthy obsession
No, you have it backwards. He says that an obsessive pursuit of happiness is unhealthy.

that the obsessive pursuit of happiness is a sort of madness to which our society is particularly prone.


He isn't talking about just being "happier" he's talking about the pursuit of a "perfect" happiness. He says there's a danger there. We cannot be happy all the time, and the attempt to do so can be detrimental...very much so when it fails.
edit on 7/25/2012 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 25 2012 @ 04:23 AM
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Abnormality is psychology is defined on several dimensions; essentially those are=>
-Statistical Infrequency
-Violation of Norms
-Disability/Dysfunction
-Unexpectedness
-Personal Distress(the most important criteria in this case)

Now, none of these are capable of, in and of themselves, revealing mental disease, but they are all very important.

Happiness, as the author identified, is statistically infrequent(individual deviated significantly from the average of a particular trait or behavioural pattern). However, this obviously wouldn't cause personal distress, is not necessarily unexpected(if it were it might indicate a disorder like Bipolar I, or psychosis), may lead the person to actually be more functional, and does not violate social norms.

Evidently happiness cannot qualify as psychopathological. The good thing about the scientific process and peer review is that non-valid concepts and hypotheses like this get rooted out, which is why the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-5 is on the way, and I assure you, "happiness" will not be included.






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