Glad Is Mad? One Shrink’s Campaign To Make Happiness A Mental Illness

And you wonder why Shirley Manson sings “I’m only happy when it raaaaaaaains…”

From the “What Will They Think Of Next?” file, we present to you R. P. Bentall, a Senior Lecturer at Liverpool University’s Department of Clinical Psychology.  Bentall is the author of a slew of published articles on mental health (and/or lack thereof), but one of his pieces is a doozy:

A proposal to classify happiness as a psychiatric disorder.

We kid you not.  If you’re in a good mood, fetch the straight jacket and book the padded room at Arkham Asylum.  From the article’s 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.

(You can read the full article a page at a time via the above link, or download the entire piece as a PDF.)

One caveat: this is not a new article.  It was, in fact, originally published back in 1992 — which, come to think of it, was pretty much the first time anyone heard the words “grunge” or “alt-rock” being uttered.  Most of which was so glum and gloomy to begin with…hmm, maybe Bentall was on to something…

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