A remarkable and extremely important ongoing positive revolution in how we think about psychological problems is rapidly reaching a tipping point. This book provides a manifesto for this revolution. An increasing number of psychologists and psychiatrists are proposing that we either radically change the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the Mental Disorders and the International Classification of Diseases or leave them behind entirely. The author argues for a view of psychological problems that is far less stigmatizing and better supported by the data but which will require large changes in thinking. First, there is no clear distinction between "normal" and "abnormal" psychological functioning. Psychological problems do not reflect rare and terrifying "illnesses" of the mind, but are problematic ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving that lie on
continuous dimensions from minor to severe. Crucially, psychological problems are ordinary aspects of the human experience. They are ordinary in the sense of being commonplace-the great majority of us will experience distressing and disruptive psychological problems at some time during our lives—and are ordinary in arising through the same natural interplay of genetic and environmental influences as any other aspect of behavior. The dimensions of psychological problems are highly correlated and these correlations provide vital clues as that allow us to see a hierarchy of causes of psychological problems for the first time. These range from factors that influence the likelihood of exhibiting some kind of psychological problem, but not which kind, to highly specific causes.
About the Author:
Benjamin B. Lahey is Irving B. Harris Professor of Epidemiology, Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Chicago.