Vanessa's Reviews > Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness

Shyness by Christopher Lane
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's review
Jul 08, 2008

liked it
Recommended to Vanessa by: No one - I sniffed it out myself
Recommended for: folks interested in psychiatry, shy people, anyone considering going on medication
Read in July, 2008

This is an interesting and comprehensive overview on how shyness and anxiety - two natural states of mind - were turned into "disorders" by a group of psychiatrists brainstorming ideas to stick in the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) in the 1970s, pressures from society at large to conform to the expectation that everyone be an extrovert, and especially big pharmaceutical companies trying to create a market for their products. The conclusion is that the world, and America in particular, is overmedicated. Particularly worrisome is the last chapter, describing some of the "disorders" worthy of medication that may be included in the next edition of the DSM (V), including apathy, road rage, compulsive spending and internet addiction. How about equipping people with the skills to deal with some worry, sadness, or dissatisfaction in their lives rather than dosing them up with drugs - all of which have some pretty serious side effects? As the New Yorker cartoon near the end of the book so eloquently states: "Can you up the dosage? I still have feelings."

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Vanessa There is also a great Frontline documentary on this subject called "The Medicated Child", which is viewable online at
Very disturbing stuff.

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