Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) – 5th ed. Ignores 50 Mental Health Origanizations

For those following the developments of the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) it is not news that this bible of The Psychology Industry is under construction of the 5th edition slated for publication in 2013. It is also not news that the work groups and designers of this widely-used publication have consistently ignored professional & lay person’s critics.

What is the DSM? From the American Psychiatric Association DSM website:

About DSM-5

“Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States and contains a listing of diagnostic criteria for every psychiatric disorder recognized by the U.S. healthcare system. The current edition, DSM-IV-TR, is used by professionals in a wide array of contexts, including psychiatrists and other physicians, psychologists, social workers, nurses, occupational and rehabilitation therapists, and counselors, as well as by clinicians and researchers of many different orientations (e.g., biological, psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioral, interpersonal, family/systems). “

Retrieved 07/20/12. http://www.dsm5.org/about/Pages/Default.aspx

The above description of the DSM fails to include the legal profession. Judges & lawyers routinely turn to the DSM to aid them in prosecution, defense, and sentencing of the accused which adds another level and dynamic to this important publication.

The United States & other Western countries are dangerously close to pathologizing every human emotion. To what end, consumers of mental health care & professionals critical of this document ask? Is it simply for job-security for psychology-type providers? Is it prestige & power?

Mental health consumers depend on the accuracy & scientific data behind medical opinions that lead to diagnosis & treatment. When the bible of The Psychology Industry is steeped in controversy before publication indicates a serious problem is present. Problems lalso indicate the depth of political and personal investment by some professionals who place their needs before those of of mental health care consumers whom they treat.


DSM-5 Continues To Ignore Critics

A recent letter from DSM-5 reform petition
Published on July 4, 2012 by Allen J. Frances, M.D. in DSM5 in Distress

“The petition to reform DSM-5 speaks with the powerful voice of more than fifty mental health associations. Perhaps more important to APA’s publishing ambitions and budgetary needs, it represents a significant percentage of the potential customers who eventually will have to decide whether or not DSM-5 is worth buying and using. Displaying its usual  ‘the customer is always wrong’ arrogance, APA has previously been dismissive of the completely reasonable recommendation that there be an independent scientific review of all controversial DSM-5 suggestions.

Here is an excerpt of the  petition’ most recent letter to the APA and DSM-5 leadership by the authors of the petition. Full text of the letter is available at: dsm5-reform.com

The letter: “We remain concerned about a number of the DSM-5 proposals, as well as the apparent setbacks in the development process.”


  •  relatively little empirical support and/or research literature that is relatively recent
  •  lowering of diagnostic thresholds
  •  unnecessarily complex and idiosyncratic system
  • development of novel scales (e.g., severity scales) with little psychometric testing

Regarding the development process:

  • continuing delays
  • substandard results
  • cancellation of the second set of field trials.
  • lack of formal forensic review.
  • Ad hominem responses to critics.
  • The hiring of a PR firm to influence … which is not standard scientific practice.

“As the deadline for the future manual approaches, we urge the DSM-5 Task Force and all concerned mental health professionals to examine the proposed manual with scientific and expert scrutiny. It is not only our professional standards, but also –and most importantly– patient care that is at stake.”

Related Links:

American Psychiatric Association DSM-5 webpages http://www.dsm5.org

Press release http://www.dsm5.org/Documents/12-30%20Final%20DSM%20Public%20Comment.pdf

Mad in America http://www.madinamerica.com/2012/07/adhd-in-dsm-5-lower-specificity-increased-rates/

Two Resign from DSM-5 work group  http://dxrevisionwatch.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/two-resign-from-dsm-5-personality-disorders-work-group-over-seriously-flawed-proposals/

The DSM_5 & the Do Ron Ron  The DSM-5 and the do ron ron (kenyatta2009.wordpress.com)

Leave a comment


  1. Jessica

     /  07/23/2012

    i know the petitions for things to be added or removed used to be public on the dsm 5 site. i doubt they have those public now that they closed comments though 😦


    • There remains alot about critiques of the DSM-V. I’ll put it on the top of my to do list and put together a list for interested parties.


    • Here are a few DSM links you can check:

      “http://jeanettebartha.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=8325&action=edit” rel=”nofollow”>


  2. Therapycan DoHarm

     /  07/23/2012

    I would like to find the complete list of mental health professionals who drafted and who have signed petitions regarding DSM V


    • The list of professionals can be found in many places on the Internet. On the fly, I can’t direct you to it with a link – I’ll have to search for it.

      Are you looking for something in particular? The original list will be longer than the original one signed be over 150 professionals so I don’t know if a comprehensive “list” exists. Secondly there are dozens of organizations who are also against this publication, again I too, would like to know who they are. This is a serious matter and we need to keep talking about it.



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