Is the Human Experience a Mental Disorder?

“Prolonged Grief Disorder” is now in the DSM, but it seems pretty normal to me.

Adeline Dimond
5 min readNov 6, 2021

Last month, the Washington Post reported that a new disorder will be making its debut in the latest version of the DSM, the DSM-5-TR. For the uninitiated, “the DSM” is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the go-to guide used by health professionals to diagnose — you guessed it — mental health disorders. I’ve never bought a copy, but it’s fun to google some of the disorders (which come with handy lists of symptoms) if you want to diagnose ex-boyfriends and figure out why they’re ghosting you. (I’ve diagnosed mine most often with narcissistic personality disorder and borderline personality disorder).

Other than using the DSM to determine that the end of my relationships are not my fault, I’ve had no use for it. I am not a mental health professional or a scientist. But I’ve been curious about the DSM over the years, because sometimes it seems to be more of a cultural handbook than a scientific one.

It’s not without controversy for this very reason: homosexuality was listed as a disorder in its early versions, until it was removed in 1973. Some mental health professionals sounded the alarm in 2013 when the DSM-5 introduced “Unspecified Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorder”…