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Article
November 22, 1995

They Say You're Crazy: How the World's Most Powerful Psychiatrists Decide Who's Normal

Author Affiliations

Community Mental Health Council University of Illinois College of Medicine Chicago, Ill

 

by Paula J. Caplan, 355 pp, $22, ISBN 0-201-40758-2, New York, NY, Addison-Wesley, 1995.

JAMA. 1995;274(20):1639. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530200077048

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Abstract

The main point of this book is to contest the use of self-defeating personality disorder (SDPD) and late luteal phase dysphoric disorder (LLPDD) as diagnoses for women. Dr Caplan, a psychologist, feels that women who are labeled with these diagnoses are going to be damaged by the intervention. Accordingly, she wants to expose the decisionmaking process about who is "normal," as she feels that being knowledgeable about this background can help persons overcome the damage done to them when they are called "abnormal." It is the author's opinion that the constructing of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) was a "disingenuous and dishonest process."

Dr Caplan underscores most people's concern with being classified as "normal," and she appropriately notes that being labeled mentally "abnormal" causes countless people to have a poor self-image. She feels mental health professionals tend to overdiagnose rather than

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