New Diagnoses In DSM-5 Challenge Normal/Whacked Dichotomy

October 19, 2011 Alistair McHarg

"Sometimes it seems like the inmates are running the asylum. Then again, would a sane person want that job?" ~ Taz Mopula

Most of us who wrestle with mental health issues must also deal with feelings of low self-esteem. Knowing we are not quite “normal” sometimes leads to feeling “less than”. We work hard to address our maladies and gradually gain mastery over them. In time, we find ourselves moving among “regular folks” with new found comfort and confidence.

Then an amazing thing happens. We rapidly discover that the people we once found intimidating aren’t really as together as we thought. The “irony alarm” goes off repeatedly as we compare some of these square shooters to ourselves and quickly conclude that we are, in fact, a lot healthier and balanced than they are!

The American Psychiatric Association was well aware of this when they sat down to update the legendary Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. DSM-5 will debut diagnoses that demonstrate a new willingness to view commonly accepted behavior through a pathological lens. Below are just a few new entries that show, “Normal is the new whacked”.bloated-toad

Bloated Toad Syndrome: Generally considered a reflection of unhealthy societal values like wretched excess and conspicuous consumption, Bloated Toad Syndrome is among the most controversial new diagnoses in DSM-5. Symptoms include: McMansions, outsized SUVs like the Bentley Behemoth, and flat screen TVs that double as load-bearing walls.

Truth Decay: APA officials estimate that one in four Americans suffers from this debilitating moral degeneration. At first restricted to a handful of “at risk” groups, (lawyers, politicians, used-car salesmen, advertising executives, and FBI agents), Truth Decay is ubiquitous and has even had a corrupting effect on television news!

Debtor’s Prism: Once as exotic as Munchausen by Proxy, Debtor’s Prism has moved to center stage in American culture. The term “prism” is used synonymously with “rose colored glasses” and refers to a type of magical thinking that causes the afflicted to purchase material possessions far beyond their means. Massively in debt, the wildly deluded sufferers buy with random abandon, completely lacking any sense of responsibility or even reality. By looking through their “debtor’s prism” they see the world they want to see, not the world that is.

Faux Real? Disorder: It has long been understood – both by the APA and the general public – that life on social networking sites consists largely of manufacturing highly inaccurate, inflated portrayals of one’s self in order to impress loved ones and strangers alike. APA psychiatrists realized that many social network devotees were actually deceived by their own fabrications. Self-deception, always a bedrock contributor to mental illness, had morphed to an entirely new level, with millions of Americans adoringly hanging on every new lie they told about themselves.

There are more. Just remember for now, not every monkey is in the zoo – some of them own the zoo.

APA Reference
McHarg, A. (2011, October 19). New Diagnoses In DSM-5 Challenge Normal/Whacked Dichotomy, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Alistair McHarg

Hannah Coale
May, 30 2013 at 2:13 pm

Another excellent insightful explanation of some of the mysteries they call the real world.
Have they gotten coo-coo in there yet?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
May, 30 2013 at 4:14 pm

"some of the mysteries they call the real world" - so nicely expressed!

October, 20 2011 at 5:45 am

I can relate to often feeling "less-than" because of my disorder. It'd be awesome if some of these were added to the DSM-V so that even the most "normal" people have some form of a disorder. Maybe there'd be less stigma if everybody was "crazy."

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
October, 20 2011 at 10:01 am

Hi Ash: Thanks for visiting - and for the comment. (Don't ever let them make you feel "less than" - being different is not the same as being less.) I often think that all that separates us from them is that their insanity is socially acceptable and ours is not. All the best, A

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