'Affluenza' Author Disagrees With Defense in DUI Trial

Author Jessie O'Neill, who popularized the term 'affluenza' tells INSIDE EDITION it should never have been used as a defense in Ethan Couch's DUI trial.

There's growing outrage today over the spoiled rich kid who avoided jail time for mowing down four people because he suffers from something called "affluenza."

The American Psychiatric Association says affluenza is not a real mental illness. A spokesman told INSIDE EDITION: "Affluenza is not in the manual of mental disorders."

HLN host Jane Velez-Mitchell told INSIDE EDITION, "It's a crock and a travesty. There is no such thing as affluenza. It's a totally made-up condition."

Even the woman who popularized "affluenza" in her book says it should not have been used as a defense in a trial.

INSIDE EDITION's Diane McInerney asked Jessie O'Neill, "What is affluenza?"

"It's a preoccupation with the accumulation of wealth. It's a preoccupation with what it looks like on the outside, vs. who we are on the inside. It's the never enough mentality," said O'Neill.

Watch More of O'Neill's Interview

O'Neill wrote about affluenza in The Golden Ghetto about the negative effects of wealth.

"The American Psychiatric Association even says that they do not recognize affluenza as a diagnosis," noted McInerney.

"Well, if they don't, they should," replied O'Neill.

Sixteen-year-old Ethan Couch's lawyer successfully argued that Ethan wasn't to blame because his wealthy parents didn't teach him right from wrong.   

The psychiatrist who testified on behalf of Ethan told Anderson Cooper he's sorry he ever used the word, affluenza.

Psychiatrist Dick Miller told Cooper, "Anderson, I do believe we used to call them spoiled brats. I wish I had never used that term. Everyone seems to have hooked onto it." 

But he says he agrees with Texas judge Jean Boyd's decision to send Ethan to a rehab-for-rich-kids facility in Southern California is still the right one

Miller told Anderson Cooper, "I'm not interested in how much punishment he gets. I'm interested in taking away things that are important to him and replacing them with things that are in his best interest."

Ethan was drunk when he plowed his wealthy dad's pick-up into a group of people changing a tire on the side of the road, killing four of them.

"This is a spoiled little rich kid who's getting away with killing four people and seriously injuring at least two others. This is outrageous!" said Velez-Mitchell.