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dfishervan's picture

The DSM and Society

Throughout class, we mentioned the idea that certain things detailed in the DSM are constructs of society. I do see the validity of this argument. It is unlikely that one will find video game addiction in a developing third world country’s version of the DSM where these technologies are not as prevalent and accessible. However, in the United States, there are people who suffer from a video game addiction which has harmful and debilitating consequences. Like any other addiction listed in the DSM, a person suffering from this technology-related addiction deserves medical treatment. While I agree with the validity of this argument, I think that it might actually contribute to the stigmatization of mental illness. By arguing that certain illnesses in the DSM are social constructs, we are detracting from the fact that certain mental illnesses are organic. We paint a person with a mental illness as a victim of society rather than certain uncontrollable biological causes. I fear that emphasizing society’s influence on the DSM may reinforce this misconception that people with mental illnesses suffer from a made up disease and are thus weaker than the rest of society.



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