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I’ve always been highly wary of the ridiculous trend for giving official medical names to behaviours that would, not that long ago, have been viewed as harmless, eccentric, difficult, moody or quirky (etc). But now things are taking a turn for the worse, with US psychiatry experts who are updating the mental health bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, suggesting a whole new rash of medical terms for disorders that, until now, haven’t existed.

For instance, a while back I wrote about the move to label picky eating as an official eating disorder – all those poor old picky eaters could end up being labelled ‘selective eaters’ if the American Psychological Association has anything to do with it. Now, with these latest developments, further new mental health disorders could include mixed anxiety depression, binge eating and temper dysregulation disorder with dysphoria (the latter being a label for troubled children who have temper tantrums – critics quite rightly fear it could end up medicalising a many children who are just, well, being children).

Another new term being suggested is psychosis risk syndrome – which could apply to anyone thought to be at risk of developing a psychotic illness (that is, they don’t actually have the illness, but they might develop it in the future). And apparently some existing disorders may be redefined so that more people can be diagnosed as having them – things like depression, for instance.

So thank goodness for a voice of reason in the shape of Professor Til Wykes from King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry. Professor Wykes is quoted by The Press Association as saying the move “shrinks the pool of normality to a puddle, and there are going to be fewer people who won’t end up having a diagnosis of mental illness”.

The Journal of Mental Health, which Professor Wykes edits, includes a warning about the proposals in its latest issue.

Perhaps someone should come up with a medical term for psychiatrists/psychologists who are hell-bent on diagnosing anyone they can get their hands on with a mental health problem. That’s one development I’d definitely welcome.