This article argues that three factors are primarily responsible for this current state of affairs: (1) the proliferation of mental disorders in the nosology of psychiatry; (2) the departure from traditional notions of illness in psychiatry towards a vague definition of "mental disorders"; (3) the inclusion of "personality disorders" and other phenomenon as diagnosable mental disorders that, at first blush, appear arbitrarily construed and sit in place of what is (or once was) considered poor moral character. When psychiatry turned away from the term "mental illness" to the expansive "mental disorder," it opened a Pandora's Box whereby almost any behavior can be deemed an affliction of the mind - and used by law to meet its own political ends. If law is a vehicle in which political ideas are executed (and I think it is), psychiatry has unwittingly given law the means to achieve politically efficient ends for dealing with many socially and politically difficult problems. Whether through the de facto indefinite incapacitation of pedophiles or as an aggravating factor in criminal sentencing of "antisocial" people, the law openly rebukes the shortcomings of psychiatric diagnoses while readily utilizing its dubious classification schemes to achieve its own ends.
Erickson, Steven K.
"The Myth of Mental Disorder: Transsubstantive Behavior and Taxometric Psychiatry,"
Akron Law Review: Vol. 41:
1, Article 8.
Available at: https://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/akronlawreview/vol41/iss1/8