There is no doubt that mysterious forces in recent decades have paved the way for psychologists and psychiatrists to have lengthened the list of psychological disorders. In addition, it takes a lot less effort for them to diagnose these disorders than it did before. One book sheds light on this phenomenon and forces its readers to wonder if these increased and easily-labeled disorders are a produce of drug company actions.

The book, Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness (Yale University Press, 2007), is written by Christopher Lane. In it, the author tells us that all of these psychiatric labels are driven primarily by drug companies and, to a degree, even a personal intolerance toward people with different personalities. He notes that while it is common for the American establishment to preach about the benefits of cultural diversity, it also requires citizens to follow a basic and collective social norm if they are to fit in with everyone else. According to Lane, possessing a nonconforming personality trait that used to be seen as “eccentric” now qualifies as a personality disorder.

Lane’s assessment doesn’t seem out of reach considering the record numbers of people taking prescription medications these days. One study that was conducted 2 years ago shows that 10 percent of the American population was taking antidepressants like Paxil and Effexor. In fact, Lane’s book takes a great deal of time talking about Paxil. When you consider the side effects associated with medications like Paxil and Effexor, the book does raise an interesting point.

With doctors more willing than ever to associate every personality quirk with some sort of disorder that requires medication, are the only people who benefit the owners of the drug companies that make them? Lawsuits are popping up by the millions because of the harmful effects that these drugs are having on patients, and yet more and more disorders continue to be pushed on the public that require drugs to treat. The fact is that people are dying from all of these medications and drug companies keep pushing more drugs onto the marketplace. Manufacturers are willing to spend millions in lawsuits because in the end, they are profiting billions in sales. If nothing else, Lane’s book may be a wake-up call for the public.