Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happiness As A Mental Illness

I checked the date to make sure that this wasn't an April Fools' edition of a journal.  The abstract:
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. [J Med Ethics 1992 Jun;18(2):94-8] [emphasis added]
The author of the article was with "Department of Clinical Psychology, Liverpool University."  I'm hoping that this was just a sign of the situation at Liverpool University.  I must confess that in my vacation to Britain in 1999, my wife and I both concluded, from the expressions on the faces of Londoners, that it was time to start adding Prozac to the water supply.

UPDATE: A reader with the right subscriptions shared the text of the full article--it does appear to be a parody of psychiatric self-importance.

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