New Scientist recently published an article describing the conflict that has emerged in American psychiatry over the upcoming revised version of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), frequently referred to as psychiatry’s bible.
From my point of view, disagreement over the diagnostic approach employed by the DSM is decades overdue. I initially encountered the DSM in the ’80s when I was working on my master’s degree. My master’s thesis examined how (and how much) the media influence an individual’s perceptions and eventual behavior, so I took a mix of graduate-level classes in communications, psychiatry, sociology and several other areas. Even at that time, the DSM already was used almost universally as the resource for diagnosing psychiatric disorders.
What struck (and bothered) me from my first encounter with the DSM was the process through which it diagnosed disorders — it diagnosed an individual’s illness solely on the basis of the symptoms observed. In other words, the root cause of any psychiatric ailment was irrelevant when making a diagnosis. And since diagnosis drives treatment, that meant that treatments were being prescribed on the basis of symptoms, not underlying causes. …
Is psychiatry’s bible still in the dark ages?Read More »