Happiness is a Psychiatric Disorder

David Wells with the state of Iowa gives us this tongue in cheek description of happiness attributed to an article by Richard P. Bentall in the June 1992 issue of Journal of Medical Ethics.

“Happiness is a Psychiatric Disorder”

Happiness meets all reasonable criteria for a psychiatric disorder. It is statistically abnormal, consists of a discrete cluster of symptoms, there is at least some evidence that is reflects the abnormal functioning of the central nervous system, and it is associated with various cognitive abnormalities; in particular a lack of contact with reality. Acceptance of these arguments leads to the obvious conclusion that happiness should be included in future taxonomies of mental illness, probably as a form of affective (mood) disorder. This would place it on Axis I of the American Psychiatric Association’s “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual”. With this prospect in mind, I humbly suggest the following:

  • Major affective disorder, pleasant type
    Once the debilitating consequences of happiness become widely recognized, it is likely that psychiatrists, social workers, ando ther mental heath professionals will begin to devise treatments for the condition. We can expect the emergence of happiness clinics, and anti-happiness medications in the not too distant future.