In chapter 10, Ronson goes to a Scientology banquet and sparks an interest in discovering how mental disorders came to be and what the implications are for the future. At the scientology banquet, the speaker, Lady Margaret, was mocking the list of ridiculous "mental disorders" that people think belong in the DSM. Ronson wanted to find out who created the DSM so he met up with Robert Spitzer, the author of the DSM-III. Spitzer conducted an experiment where he sent people to five different mental hospitals across the country and told them to pretend like they were hearing voices and see what happened. They were all locked up for about 20 days in a mental hospital and Spitzer ultimately ended up exploiting psychiatry. He wanted to remove human judgement from psychiatry by making a list of characteristics of mental disorders in the DSM. He admits to Ronson the unruly way the mental disorders were established for the book and said that there are probably a lot of mistakes. Ronson starts to wonder what would happen if people over-diagnose mental disorders and meets with a woman who had her children diagnosed with bipolar disorder and put on medication when they were under the age of 7. Ronson believes that this is ridiculous because it is not uncommon for children to act in irrational ways because they are children. Finally, at the end, Ronson mentions the case of Rebecca Riley, a four year old girl who was given cold medicine and bipolar medication by her parents and died of an overdose. Her parents were convicted of murder.
I was really confused in the end when Ronson brought up the "being and nothingness" book again. I still have absolutely no idea how it is relevant or why it was created. I also thought it was really interesting when Ronson explored the problems that could arise from people over diagnosing people with mental disorders and I wonder what kinds of things people are doing now to prevent the over diagnosing of drugs. It is unbelievable that any psychiatrist would think it's okay to diagnose a 4 year old with bipolar. I agree that most of psychology/psychiatry is guesswork because the characteristics that are given in the DSM for mental disorders are so vague that anyone could find an example from their lives that suits one of the characteristics. There is no scale established for, for example, to what extent "inflated self-esteem and grandiosity" actually accounts for a symptom of a manic episode. How does a psychiatrist know if their patient has an inflated self-esteem or grandiosity? Couldn't an inflated self-esteem be due to something else happening in their lives? I could say that Kim Kardashian shows one of the symptoms of having a manic episode just because she's super rich and famous and thinks she's the shit-- aka she has an "inflated self-esteem and grandiosity", in MY opinion. But then again she probably acts the way she does because she's super rich and famous and has every guy in america drooling over her, not because she's suffering from a manic episode. What i'm trying to say is that the items on checklists for mental disorders are completely subject to people's opinions and can be easily twisted.