People tend to label and diagnose themselves and the people around them. It is easy for us to tell a certain person that she is ‘crazy’ or ‘disturbed’ without considering the difficulties that such a word can entail.
In recent years, there has been a very heated debate between the two branches of the psychology of mental disorders. On one side there are experts who advocate that there are a large number of mental disorders and that they are real, while on the other there are experts in the field of mental health who state that a mental disorder is a myth, that a mental disorder does not actually exist. The main proponent of mental disorders as a myth is Thomas Sas (Thomas S. Szasz, 2008).
Let’s start from the beginning, DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) publishes current mental disorders and with each new version there is an increasing trend. There are currently about 400 mental disorders and this trend is trying to grow.
Thus, mental disorders are determined by a group of people who believe that a certain behavior has become unacceptable at some point. The question arises – by what criteria is the behavior disrupted and what credibility do people have that determine what is disrupted and what is not?
With example, we will explain how a mental disorder occurs.
Social anxiety is defined as an intense fear of social situations and feelings of shame when we are surrounded by other people. Generally, it is about fear of negative evaluation. This ‘disorder’ includes fear of public speaking, eating in public, talking to strangers.
The question is how shyness has been diagnosed as disturbed because we all, to a greater or lesser extent, feel shyness only at different intensities.
Then we come to the key point, which is the pharmacological industry.
Paxil wanted to be sold to the public, and as the perfect ground, they chose to explain to people that they had a disorder and then serve them a remedy to help them solve a non-existent problem.
“In order to sell a cure, you must first sell the disorder” (Lane, 2007).
Of the rare disorder, they had to sell to the public the story that everyone had social anxiety and that everyone needed this medicine. The commercials were “Easy to blush, sweat, tremble – above all lose your breath, it seems to be about social anxiety”.
And since they were able to convince absolutely normal functioning people to have a ‘disorder’, Paxil became one of the best selling drugs of all time. (Conrad & Slodden, 2013).
You do not have social anxiety, you are shy or to some extent as scared as any other people. There are differences in intensity and there is no definite boundary between normal and ‘disturbed’.