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New syndromes for our time 

If you think you're nuts, or at least suffering from some kind of phobia or syndrome, you're in luck. Well, kind of, I guess.

Last week, the American Psychiatric Association made public its proposed changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, sometimes referred to as the "shrinks' bible." The new, fifth edition of the DSM, to be published in 2013, will be the first major revision since 1994.

Since the last version was published, it seems like three zillion new phobias and syndromes have been identified, and attitudes toward some unconventional behaviors have loosened. So lots of people are interested in the proposed DSM revisions -- if only to figure out where they, or someone they know, falls on the Normal to Batshit-Crazy spectrum.

In America, we've gotten so used to things being labeled "syndromes," many people find it easier to blame a syndrome than take responsibility for things. For instance, some goofy neighbors once told me that their mean-as-hell, compulsive-liar daughter had Inappropriate Response Syndrome or some such hogwash. When I heard that, I felt a case of Beat the Spoiled Brat Syndrome coming on, so I went home. But I digress.

In the new, improved DSM, Asperger's Syndrome will be gone, folded into the broader category of autism spectrum disorder. And sex addiction is slated to be changed to "hypersexuality," although I wonder if Tiger Woods fans will demand that the new name honor their hero -- maybe Tigerosis, or Roving Woody Syndrome.

While researching the newly proposed DSM, I found several surprising changes that could only have come to pass during the past decade, and some that even seem specific to the Charlotte area. I'm happy to be able to share them with you.

• CityWaterRipoff Syndrome: The belief that people you are supposedly serving can be gouged with impunity, as long as you keep ignoring their complaints.

• Muffin Queue Crave Syndrome: The belief that by the time you get through the line at Starbucks, all the pastries will be gone.

• TwitterMeNot Syndrome: The belief that social media is a conspiracy to destroy privacy.

• APClassEquityphobia: The fear of black students getting the same quality education as white children.

• Cosmonixophobia: Fear that drink specials at the bar will be history by the time you find a parking space.

• Don't Bust My Knuckles, Bro Syndrome: The condition that makes police officers use Tasers when they could just as well subdue a suspect another way.

• Scholar Squeezaphobia: Fear of your child being crushed to death because his or her school is so crowded.

• BushMyrick Syndrome: The belief that Islamic terrorists are behind every lamppost, waiting to kill us all.

• FoxxMouth Syndrome: The belief that your part-time job requires you to have an official spokesperson.

• CrashedAgainphobia: Fear of Microsoft products.

• KayeMcGarry Dysfunction: The belief that there are people out there who want to force everyone to be gay.

• Sports Brew Slobaphobia: Fear that someone will spill beer on your designer team logo shirt at a Bobcats game.

• Arrogant Bureaucrat Syndrome: The belief that government officials should not have to reveal public records.

• Prop 8 Dysfunction: The belief that social progress can be permanently stopped by passing new laws.

• Jug-earedNaziphobia: Fear of Sue Myrick.

• Disappearing Provence Syndrome: The delusion that the current economic climate will still allow you to retire to the south of France.

• South Park Nightmare Syndrome: An irrational fear that someone will show up at a party wearing the same dress from Nordstrom's.

• Piercelockaphobia: Fear of getting your nose ring stuck in your girlfriend's lip ring while you're making out.

• GodamightyI'mdrunkaphobia: Fear afflicting mostly Southern Baptists that a neighbor or someone from church will see you at the liquor store.

• Nobudsphobia: Fear that there will be another big pot bust in town just as your stash runs out.

• How Do You Get A Canadian Work Visa? Syndrome: The fear that Sarah Palin will one day be elected president.

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