What earlier generations called emotions are now ailments
Human lives are governed by emotions.We grieve,we rejoice,we feel fear and anger,we experience doubt and certainty.But if a new psychiatric guidebook is to be believed all these are symptoms of mental ailments.
This diagnostic inflation rears its head in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5 ),a guidebook published by the American Psychiatric Association and the go-to reference point for doctors,clinicians and professionals from the healthcare industry.
Allen Frances,Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Duke University,writes: If people make the mistake of following DSM-5 … pretty soon all of us may be labelled mad. Frances says that the definitions of mental disorders are written too loosely and applied carelessly by clinicians mainly general practitioners who do most of the prescribing of psychiatric drugs.
The grief I felt when my wife died would now be called major depressive disorder;forgetfulness in older age mild neurocognitive disorder;my gluttony now binge eating disorder;and my hyperactivity attention deficit disorder.As for my twin grandsons temper tantrums,this could be misunderstood as disruptive mood dysregulation disorder.And if you have cancer and your doctor thinks you are too worried about it,theres somatic symptom disorder, he writes.
The American National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has also announced that it would be re-orienting its research away from DSM categories.Its director said that the DSM lacks validity and that patients with mental disorders deserve better.
This provoked a reaction from David Kupfer from the DSM task force: Weve been telling patients for several decades that we are waiting for biomarkers.Were still waiting.In the absence of such major discoveries,it is clinical experience and evidence,as well as growing empirical research,that have advanced our understanding of disorders such as autism spectrum disorder,bipolar disorder,and schizophrenia.
Gary Greenberg,a psychotherapist and author,fired back: Youre still waiting How about all the people whom you have diagnosed with what you insist are real illnesses (even if you acknowledge that they arent ) caused by biochemical imblances (which you know dont exist) and treated by drugs (whose mechanisms you dont understand).Theyre still waiting for your knowledge to catch up with your claims,and the idea that your clinical experience and empirical research somehow add up to more than a stopgap measure that is increasingly problematic,that has spawned a drugging of the population that is going to look to future historians like the lead contamination of the Roman water supply does to us this idea is really beginning to wear thin.
- Corporates cashing in on mental-health diagnosis (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- DSM-5 And The Law (sbmblog.typepad.com)
- Controversial update to psychiatry manual, DSM-5, arrives (cbsnews.com)