If you ever question whether or not you are "normal," you're not alone! Psychiatrists deal with helping patients answer these questions day in and day out.
The question of "normalcy" is what pushed a local psychiatrist to release a book entitled, "Better Than Normal," and it is now a New York Times Bestseller.
From KPLC interviews to national television appearances talking about Casey Anthony, Michael Jackson, even Charlie Sheen and Natalie Holloway, Lake Charles psychiatrist Dr. Dale Archer has become a popular voice on mental health issues.
Now, it is his new book, "Better Than Normal," putting him in the spotlight again and shaking up the perception of mental health. "Psychiatric diagnoses don't come with an on/off switch," said Dr. Archer, "they occur along a continuum and no one is talking about that."
But now Dr. Archer is talking about that, loud and clear - saying the current pill-popping, fix me now culture has made people think exhibiting any of these traits, like ADHD or OCD meant they needed medication. "A little anxiety is normal, a little depression after a loss is normal, an occasional mood swing is normal, they don't need to be treated," said Dr. Archer, "but we were treating all of them."
Dr. Archer says this over-diagnosing and over-medicating for "normalcy" has made people lose some of their defining characteristics that shape their personalities. "You want to build your life around your traits. You don't want to try to make yourself something you're not," said Dr. Archer.
While debuting on the New York Times Bestseller List is a pretty big deal for a local guy, Dr. Archer says he will call his book a success if it causes people to redefine mental health and be proud of the traits that make us distinctive and different. "If you strive to be normal and conform to be like everyone else, you will lose your uniqueness, which is your foundation for your greatness," said Dr. Archer.
Dr. Archer still treats local psychiatric patients in his role as Medical Director for Psychiatric Services at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital and The Institute for Neuropsychiatry.
"Better Than Normal" is actually Dr. Archer's second book to write, but his first on a national scale.