A Proposal to Classify Happiness as a Psychiatric Disorder

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Originally posted on Folie à Plusieurs (The Madness of Many):

Bentall RP.

  • Department of Clinical Psychology, Liverpool University.

Abstract

It is proposed that happiness be classified as a psychiatric disorder and be included in future editions of the major diagnostic manuals under the new name: major affective disorder, pleasant type. In a review of the relevant literature it is shown that happiness is statistically abnormal, consists of a discrete cluster of symptoms, is associated with a range of cognitive abnormalities, and probably reflects the abnormal functioning of the central nervous system. One possible objection to this proposal remains–that happiness is not negatively valued. However, this objection is dismissed as scientifically irrelevant.

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