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The Philosophy of PsychiatryA Companion$
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Jennifer Radden

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195149531

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195149531.001.0001

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Mental Illness and Its Limits

Mental Illness and Its Limits

Chapter:
(p.426) Chapter 30 MENTAL ILLNESS AND ITS LIMITS
Source:
The Philosophy of Psychiatry
Author(s):
Jennifer Radden
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195149531.003.0032

Studies indicate an ongoing “epidemic of psychopathology.” These newly popular pathologies range widely, not just in their incidence but in their presentation: social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and attention deficit hyperactivity, to name a few. A number of new conditions have also emerged alongside these commonly accepted disorders—such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and repetitive stress injury—whose very status as mental disorders is hotly disputed. This chapter examines this recent upsurge in mental disorder. It identifies four factors at work: the ascendancy of biomedicine as the dominant way of understanding and explaining psychological distress; the success of biomedicine in treating mental illness; the growth of support and advocacy groups; and the commercial availability of medications.

Keywords:   epidemic of psychopathology, mental illness, mental disorders, social anxiety, panic, PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anorexia nervosa, bulimia

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