Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) Continues to Draw International Criticism


This is a terrific article that outlines the inherent flaws in the manual that us used by most providers of mental health to diagnose illness and to find the code that enables them to bill insurance companies for reimbursement.

Most importantly, it illustrates that mental health organizations worldwide have written protests against many proposals in the new edition slated for release next year – but the work group overseeing the new edition continue to ignore critics.


Mental health dossier has more than a dose of madness

Mail & Guardian: Africa’s Best Friend
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is one of the most important documents in all of medicine, psychology and psychiatry.

The American Psychiatric Association will publish the fifth [edition] that determine[s] what, if anything, is “wrong” with a particular person. …Each manual is intended to be a summary of the best research available ..

To date, more than 50 international organisations have formally endorsed the letter and have added their own criticisms to the mix. They include the British Psychological Association, the Danish Psycho­logical Society, the Society of Indian Psychologists, the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy, Psychology Italy and the Association of Black Psychologists.

Manufacturing disorders
This theme of pathologising normal behaviour takes a turn for the strange when one examines a new diagnosis: disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. een outbursts is “irritable or angry”.

The manual does not specify treatments for its disorders.

The most disturbing part lies in the diagnostic criteria: “The cognitive deficits are insufficient to interfere with independence … but greater effort may be required.” In other words, it is not really a problem, but somehow it is still a problem.


There is a common thread that ties the four new diagnoses mentioned above together: they are all typically treated with medication.

Conflict of interest

Why then the added focus on the physical?

An answer may be found in the highly disturbing closeness between many members of the task force and the pharmaceutical industry, whose drugs will be used to treat these disorders.

Peer review

…it is no surprise that the authors of the open letter asked the task force to submit the manual for some sort of external and independent peer review before it was finalised.The task force refused.Last year, 34-million prescriptions were written for Prozac alone.Andrew Verrijdt is an educational psychologist

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