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Is nonconformity and freethinking a mental illness?

Posted by Anonymous
  • 8 Replies

Nonconformity and Freethinking Now Considered Mental Illnesses

Is nonconformity and freethinking a mental illness? According to the newest addition of the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), it certainly is. The manual identifies a new mental illness called “oppositional defiant disorder” or ODD. Defined as an “ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behavior,” symptoms include questioning authority, negativity, defiance, argumentativeness, and being easily annoyed.

The DSM-IV is the manual used by psychiatrists to diagnose mental illnesses and, with each new edition, there are scores of new mental illnesses. Are we becoming sicker? Is it getting harder to be mentally healthy? Authors of the DSM-IV say that it’s because they’re better able to identify these illnesses today. Critics charge that it’s because they have too much time on their hands.

New mental illnesses identified by the DSM-IV include arrogance, narcissism, above-average creativity, cynicism, and antisocial behavior. In the past, these were called “personality traits,” but now they’re diseases. And there are treatments available.

All of this is a symptom of our over-diagnosing and overmedicating culture. In the last 50 years, the DSM-IV has gone from 130 to 357 mental illnesses. A majority of these illnesses afflict children. Although the manual is an important diagnostic tool for the psychiatric industry, it has also been responsible for social changes. The rise in ADD, bipolar disorder, and depression in children has been largely because of the manual’s identifying certain behaviors as symptoms. A Washington Post article observed that, if Mozart were born today, he would be diagnosed with ADD and “medicated into barren normality.”

According to the DSM-IV, the diagnosis guidelines for identifying oppositional defiant disorder are for children, but adults can just as easily suffer from the disease. This should give any freethinking American reason for worry. The Soviet Union used new “mental illnesses” for political repression.  People who didn’t accept the beliefs of the Communist Party developed a new type of schizophrenia. They suffered from the delusion of believing communism was wrong.  They were isolated, forcefully medicated, and put through repressive “therapy” to bring them back to sanity.

When the last edition of the DSM-IV was published, identifying the symptoms of various mental illnesses in children, there was a jump in the diagnosis and medication of children. Some states have laws that allow protective agencies to forcibly medicate, and even make it a punishable crime to withhold medication.  This paints a chilling picture for those of us who are nonconformists. Although the authors of the manual claim no ulterior motives but simply better diagnostic practices, the labeling of freethinking and nonconformity as mental illnesses has a lot of potential for abuse. It can easily become a weapon in the arsenal of a repressive state.

Source: “Is Free Thinking A Mental Illness?,” from

Posted by Anonymous on Mar. 30, 2014 at 6:12 PM
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Replies (1-8):
by Anonymous 2 on Mar. 30, 2014 at 6:16 PM
The DSM IV is old. It won't be in use after Oct. 2014
by on Mar. 30, 2014 at 6:20 PM

there is a big difference between free thinking and odd. 

the article is stupid but then looking at the name of the website....

by Ruby Member on Mar. 30, 2014 at 6:21 PM

This isn't the stupidest article I ever read, but it is in the running for the blinding white light of stupidity award.

by Ruby Member on Mar. 30, 2014 at 6:24 PM

As a teacher, I was very familiar with children who have ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder).  They don't put this label on kids who are just rebellious or nonconformist, but kids who have very real emotional response problems.  One child would get so angry that his nose would bleed.  These are kids that have serious anger management problems that their quality of life and ability to lead a normal life are effected, not to mention the health and safety of those around them. Yes, this is a mental/emotional disorder.  And the way that we "treat" them is not just throwing a label on them and calling it wrong.  They are given management tools that help them control their anger.  As a lay person (not a psychologist or counselor) I was taught how to deescalate a situation.  If a kid with ODD got angry and punched the wall, I wouldn't just jump down his throat and start punishing or yelling at him, which could escalate their emotional response. 

Again, these aren't just kids that question authority or are disobedient, but who are unable to function in society without intervention. 

by on Mar. 30, 2014 at 6:26 PM

DH took one look at the article over my shoulder, then said 'this is the first step to 'Equilibrium' (the film)'. Where everyone is the same because the drugs they're required to take makes them so.

by Member on Mar. 30, 2014 at 6:31 PM
Scary and while I do believe in many of the illnesses of which I have several it does push a careful is all I can say
by Ruby Member on Mar. 31, 2014 at 6:41 AM

Careful of what?   Idiot journalists?

Having taken care of a couple kids diagnosed with ODD and seen how frikkin miserable they are, I would say I have changed my mind, this IS the stupidest article I've ever read.

by Queen Annie on Mar. 31, 2014 at 6:48 AM

I believe that in a lot cases, parents use diagnoses of ADD, ADHD, and ODD as excuses for their bad parenting and subsequently bratty kids. I don't know if I even believe in ODD. 

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