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53 MIN READ TIME

The SkepDoc

BY HARRIET HALL, M.D.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE CRAZY? WE use the word loosely. In casual conversation we might say “He’s crazy” or “That’s insane!” but that doesn’t mean we really think the person is certifiable. Sometimes all it means is “He doesn’t agree with me.” What does it take to be formally diagnosed with a mental illness?

Medical diagnoses like broken bones and diabetes are pretty straightforward. They depend on objective findings from diagnostic tests, but diagnosis of mental disorders is mostly subjective. There’s no blood test for schizophrenia. Psychiatry is arguably the least evidence-based of all the medical specialties.

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About Skeptic

CONFIDENCE SCAMS EXCERPT: The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for it Every Time; ARTICLES: America’s Stonehenge: Did Highly Developed Europeans Build a Sophisticated Astronomical and Religious Monument on the American East Coast More than 3000 Years Ago?; Is It ET?: Is Star KIC 8462852 a Sign of an Extraterrestrial Civilization?; Hurricane Strikes as Divine Retribution—An Empirical Test; Ruins of Empires: Thomas Jefferson, Constantin-Francois Volney, and the Separation of Church and State; Winning the Vaccination War in California; Prophet Without Honor: Francis Galton and the Birth of Behavioral Genetics; When Cops Kill: An Insider’s Perspective; Guns and Games: The Relationship Between Violent Video Games and Gun Crimes in America; More on Morals: On Science and Morality (1) Deontologists are Covert Consequentialists, (2) Expanding Science to Include Morals, (3) Clarifying Confusions; Alligators in the Sewers! COLUMNS: Who’s Crazy Now?: DSM-5 and the Classification of Mental Disorders; The Delicate Dilemma of Defining Rape; REVIEW: Red Team: How To Succeed by Thinking Like the Enemy by Micah Zenko reviewed by David Priess; JUNIOR SKEPTIC: Haunted Houses; Earliest Ghost Stories; Ghostly Evolution

Other Articles in this Issue


COLUMNS
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EXCERPT
WHENEVER PEOPLE ASK ME IF I’VE EVER BEEN CONNED, I
ARTICLES
Long before Columbus sailed to America, the continent had of
DESPITE OVER 50 YEARS OF EFFORT, THE Search for Extraterrestrial
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OVER THE PAST HALF CENTURY VACCINATIONS HAVE nearly eradicated a
THE INVENTION OF THE MICROCHIP HAS transformed molecular biology, yielding
I WAS INSPIRED TO WRITE THIS ARTICLE AFTER reading Michael
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REVIEWS
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JUNIOR SKEPTIC
I’m Daniel, the Editor of JUNIOR SKEPTIC. Tonight we’ll summon
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