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Comments on an article by Christopher Bailey (see record 2009-24345-002). Dr. Christopher Bailey portrays an American veteran, Colin, who slips into a "serious but not severe" depression upon returning from the Iraq War, After ruling out post-traumatic stress disorder, the psychiatrist comes to believe that Colin's depression is tied to his feelings of being a wimp, of not having "done his part or proven his manhood," and of losing his chance to become a hero because he had been assigned non-combat duty—feelings that the psychiatrist glosses (misleadingly?) as a "painful lack of wounds." (I speak of the "the psychiatrist," rather than Dr. Bailey, in case some details of the case are constructed). Still another issue is the extent to which moral values shape the very definition of mental disorders and mental health. As a society, we have come to define virtually all forms of suffering that disrupt morally desirable functioning as pathological. Certainly there are grounds for caution about how far we have gone in medicalizing depression, but I see wisdom in the trend, assuming we appreciate how morality and mental health are interwoven dimensions of both mental disorders and strengths.


This article was originally published in Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, volume 16, issue 3, in 2009. DOI: 10.1353/ppp.0.0254

Peer Reviewed



Johns Hopkins University Press



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