Introduction | Case
Psychiatrists study, categorize, and treat all
manners of mental illness. Although there is a fringe perspective that
all mental illness is “myth,” almost no one within psychiatry doubts
the distress and dysfunction that accompany such mental illnesses
as schizophrenia, psychotic depression, and bipolar mania. There
is more debate, however, about symptom clusters that blend subtly
into variations on normal. When is shyness an anxiety disorder?
When does quirkiness become high-functioning autism spectrum disorder?
At what point do disagreeable behaviors become a personality disorder?
When do “senior moments” become minor neurocognitive disorder? These
debates are inevitable and are akin to similar debates about such
nonpsychiatric medical diagnoses as diabetes and hypertension.