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Some new disorders
Scripps Howard News Service


May 12, 2006

Modern life drives us all a little crazy, often in unexpected ways, which means perpetual job security for the psychiatrists who give new names to mental malfunctions.

For shrinks, the bible is a book called the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV," or "DSM-IV," which details the assorted ways people can go loony. The latest edition is - no joke - 943 pages long.

As you can tell from that "IV," the "DSM" is updated every few years to include more of our delusions and dementias. In between updates, people in the mental-health field write long papers about illnesses they've discovered and argue over which should be included in the next edition.

You don't have to be a psychiatrist to play that game. Any observer of the big ice-cream sundae that is American life can readily identify the nuts.

(Yes, mental illness is a serious matter, often with tragic consequences. The fact that I'm making fun of it only shows what a sick puppy I am. I'll just lie down here on the couch and tell you all about it ...)

Here are some suggestions for the next "DSM":

Parentanoia: The fear, often justified, that your teenagers are conspiring against you.

IPodosis: The need to shut out the real world with earphones.

Desktopathy: The delusion that someone keeps rearranging the junk on your desk and that's why you can never find your stapler.

Baublehead: One who's obsessed with jewelry.

Sighchosis: The notion that you can alter the behavior of others with loud, weary exhalations.

Orangefingerphobia: The fear of eating Cheetos.

Decompression depression: The lingering sadness that follows a vacation.

Neatfreakitis: Unreasonable irritation at messiness. Scientific name: "Disorder disorder."

Iraqophobia: The fear of expensive entanglements.

Commitmentophobia: The fear of expensive entanglements. See "Baublehead."

Telemarketopathy: The compulsion to call strangers at dinnertime.

Starbuckomania: An obsession with fancy coffees. For related conditions, see "Chocoholism" and "Cola Nut."

Bratophobia: The fear of other people's children.

Stetsonpsychosis: The strong desire to dress like a cowboy. See also: "Lunatic Fringe."

Remotomania: The unconscious drive to constantly see whether something better is on a different TV channel.

Subpoenas Envy: An overpowering desire to become an attorney so you can sue anyone, anytime.

Rainbrain: An obsession with the weather.

Hotenoughforumania: An obsession with talking about the weather.

Cellumania: The compulsion to talk on a cell phone at all times, even when such behavior seems rude and/or stupid. Related conditions, see: "Disturbopaths" and "Lowbattophobia."

Distracted Driver Syndrome: The inability to focus on the act of driving, no matter how dangerous the conditions. Often related to "Cellumania." See also: "Rearview Narcissism."

Relaxedfitophobia: The fear that you're being followed closely by a large backside. Sufferers often whirl around to find that no one's there. Related conditions: "Overlap disease" and "Airlineseatanoia."

Clackclackamania: The compulsion to use rolling luggage.

Cluckamania: The delusion that everything "tastes like chicken."

Rebootosis: Persistent anxiety over expected computer crashes.

Thumpamania: The unbridled need to irritate others with loud car stereo speakers. See also: "Backward Baseball Cap Disorder."

Odoreaterphobia: The fear that something horrible is growing in your kids' sneakers.

Schizorestaurantbillia: The powerful need to demand separate checks, even when dining alone.

Comedo-Diagnosis Psychosis: The delusion that one can be funny, coming up with new names for the "DSM."


Redding, Calif., author Steve Brewer's latest book is called "Bank Job."
Contact him at ABQBrewer(at)
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Scripps Howard News Service.

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