The diagnosis fiction : the psychoses war

(Sylvain Rousselot) #1

After a laborious compilation of data, I was able to draw the chart of some psychoses and neuroses’ diagnoses from 1922 to 1965 in the United States.

/!\ Disclaimer /!\ : the data has been compiled with care and rigorously checked once. Therefore, they may contain errors, but probably no significant errors. ? gid=2017779160&single=true

On this chart you can follow the trend of the year. From 1922 to 1932, manic-depressive psychosis was almost as popular as schizophrenia. Then this is the slow descent into the underworld : in 1965, almost nobody became bipolar. Paranoia has never been popular, probably melted in the “paranoid schizophrenia”. Neuroses made a pretty breakthrough from the war end, with the purely social diagnoses (not on the chart) as “psychopaths”, “Personality pattern disturbance”, “personality trait disturbance”, “antisocial reaction”, “dysocial reaction” and “sexual deviation”, that also form a wide group in the fifties. Melancholia & “involutional” psychoses (not on the chart) grown with neuroses, then stagnates and decreases from 1957.

But the queen of non-organic psychoses are truly schizophrenia. Even if the psychiatrists do him some infidelities from 1953, and even if the curve of new admissions became inexplicably erratic.

What is remarkable in this chart is, if there is a continuity from one year to the next, mental diseases appear and disappear almost completely in a few decades. The diagnoses for new admissions seem completely arbitrary, and follow fashion in the air.

The data:

Original source:

(Thalia) #2

I’ve never seen this type of data in a graph before. It does make it very clear, thanks.
Are you going to do anything with this information?
“Cracked” by James Davies is very good on the unscientific basis of psychiatric diagnoses. (He’s also edited a new book “The Sedated Society”.)

(Sylvain Rousselot) #3

Raw statistical data must be available.

With statistics, I was able to show 1) until ~1970, admissions in state and county mental hospitals were always superior to discharges, 2) from 1945-1955 to 1958-1968 decades, mortality rate is increasing by 12.5%. From ~1955 to ~1970, the emptying of hospitals is therefore explained by the raise of mortality. (See Deinstitutionalization 1955-1970: patients go out feet first)

I still have to check this data from the original sources, but also understand why mortality has increased. So I still have to compile many statistics, and I put them on the internet for other researchers.