J Med Ethics 18:94-98 doi:10.1136/jme.18.2.94
  • Research Article

A proposal to classify happiness as a psychiatric disorder.

  1. R P Bentall
  1. Department of Clinical Psychology, Liverpool University.


      It is proposed that happiness be classified as a psychiatric disorder and be included in future editions of the major diagnostic manuals under the new name: major affective disorder, pleasant type. In a review of the relevant literature it is shown that happiness is statistically abnormal, consists of a discrete cluster of symptoms, is associated with a range of cognitive abnormalities, and probably reflects the abnormal functioning of the central nervous system. One possible objection to this proposal remains--that happiness is not negatively valued. However, this objection is dismissed as scientifically irrelevant.