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Being Normal

Jon Ronson On, Series 7 Episode 3 of 5

As a new edition of the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is published this year, writer and documentary maker Jon Ronson travels around the UK meeting people whose behaviour might be considered normal, but may soon fall under the criteria of some brand new disorders.

He goes to a competitive eating competition in Bristol to speak to a man who has been obsessed with his weight. And he visits Adam Buxton, who may be a candidate for "intermittent explosive disorder" as he is prone to losing his temper in an explosive way.

Psychiatrist Dr Joanna Moncrieff says she believes the DSM is amplifying a tendency to label more and more people as having health problems. While Dr Jeffrey Lieberman, president elect of the American Psychiatric Association, which publishes the DSM, defends the manual saying it does not attempt to pathologise normal behaviour such as anger but look at repeated behaviour.

Jon also hears from David Aaronovitch who was sent to a psychiatrist by his parents for being a shouty teenager and he wonders if, these days, he would be misdiagnosed? Finally Jon speaks to Alex Trenchard who tells his story for the first time of how his obsession with his music festival resulted in a prison sentence.

Producer: Lucy Greenwell
A Unique production for BBC Radio 4.

Release date:

28 minutes

Last on

Thu 3 Dec 2015 23:00