I saw this article
linked by Ann Althouse (guestblogging at Instapundit
) on the new DSM-V
which, apparently has a number of new diagnoses added to it. For those of you not familiar with the DSM, it is the mental health bible used to make diagnoses of mental disorders. The new diagnoses being considered for inclusion in the DSM-V range from sex addiction to internet addiction.
There are a number of critics of the way that mental health professionals diagnose these disorders:
Even though the APA asked the psychiatrists working on the manual’s revision to sign a nondisclosure agreement, leaked proposed additions to the new version have already stirred debate. “Psychiatrists manufacture mental diagnoses the way the Vatican manufactures saints,” says Dr. Thomas Szasz, an outspoken critic of modern psychiatry and author of Psychiatry: The Science of Lies. This view may be extreme, but some of the new “mental illnesses” under consideration for the new edition nonetheless sound a little…crazy. Here are eight you may already be suffering from, whether you knew it or not.
While I think that many of the diagnoses in the DSM are useful at helping mental health professionals agree on what a cluster of behavioral symptoms mean and what they should be called, I also agree that much of "normal behavior" is pathologized. But my main concern is the secrecy of the DSM-V
--only a group of psychiatrists and one psychologist are allowed to oversee the revision and they have been asked to sign confidentiality agreements. Psychologists are up in arms about being excluded from the process but a more pressing concern is that a small group of psychiatrists is making decisions about what is normal vs. abnormal behavior.
Shouldn't there be more oversight than this? Why the need to be so secret about what is being put in this manual? Why not have a more diverse group of mental health experts and others involved? I remember when we talked with APA past president
Nicholas Cummings about how diagnoses were chosen for the DSM--apparently some
are just reached by consensus. Huh, no research, just a decision based on a group of potentially PC or biased individuals without the research to back it up? What kind of science is that? I am started to think Szasz has a point.
Labels: mental health, psychology