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Are we over-diagnosing mental illness?

Published: 18 Mar 2013

To ease the heartache of her first child's stillbirth, Kelli Montgomery chose rigorous exercise, yoga and meditation over the antidepressants and sleeping pills that her physicians immediately suggested. "'You need to be on this medication or that medication.' It was shocking to me that that was the first line of defense," said Montgomery, 42, director of the MISS Foundation for Grieving Families in Austin, Texas. "From the time I was in the hospital to when I was seeing my general practitioner, that's what they were insisting on." Her choice stemmed partly from a longtime aversion to taking prescription drugs. It was also the result of listening to a growing group of psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical social workers from around the world who argue that depression and other normal responses to life's toughest challenges are too often labeled as disorders -- and as such, demand medicine with sometimes dangerous side effects. … "The [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders'] DSM-5, in many ways, reflects the politics of psychiatry these days," said Dr. Joel Paris, author of "Prescriptions for the Mind: A Critical View of Contemporary Psychiatry," a psychiatry professor at McGill University and researcher at Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, Quebec.

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