Diagnostics: How We Get Labeled

The first thing doctors do is open a curious book called the DSM. Here's what it says

Pardon the personal question, but have you ever had a sexual fantasy involving the use of a nonliving object--Anna Kournikova's tennis outfit, say, or Tom Cruise's Risky Business skivvies? Actually, don't answer that--we really don't want to know--and you should probably think twice before telling your therapist. She might diagnose you with fetishism, which is listed along with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in a curious but extremely influential book called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM for short.

The DSM lists the criteria used by mental-health professionals to make their various diagnoses, from "mild mental retardation" (the...

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