The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (DSM) a publication of the American Psychiatric Association, released the 5th Edition today. Commonly referred to as the “Bible” of psychiatry, the DSM-5 was released today while thousands of psychiatrists descended on San Francisco, California for its 166th annual conference.
A brief description of this huge, scholarly publication is at the end of this post.
Why do consumers of mental health care need to care about a publication that doctors of psychiatry, psychologists, social workers, and Your therapist use? Therapists need a reference manual, right? Why should I care, my therapist bills my insurance company? Doesn’t matter to me, I can’t afford a therapist.
Mental health care consumers should care because living under a cloud of one or more psychiatric diagnosis, or not receiving care, can follow and haunt you the rest of your life. If a diagnosis is correct – it may lead to treatment that will improve the quality of your day. If the diagnosis is absent or wrong – due to its controversial nature as is the case with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) formerly Multiple Personality Disorder, life as you know it will likely change forever and you may find yourself a patient of traumatic psychotherapy for decades.
Unfortunately, both practitioners and patients believe that the listing of DID in this manual gives it legitimacy but that is far from accurate. This particular mental malady is also steeped in controversy like the bible from whence it came.
The psychiatric malady of Dissociative Identity Disorder, or DID, which is the focus of this blog, is a highly controversial condition that lost momentum since its titanic splash that washed over America in the mid-1980s scooping thousands of unwitting patients into its wake. DID/MPD enjoyed nearly a decade in the spotlight before fading, although never leaving the psychiatric landscape. Interestingly, DID is once again gaining momentum and its inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders will continue to breathe puffs of life into it.
Many prominent psychiatrists and psychologists petitioned the American Psychiatric Association’s workgroup responsible for this edition voicing a unanimous opinion that multiple personalities don’t really exist, rather, they are a social construct born between the relationship between therapist and patient.
The DSM is a necessary evil as it gives mental health professionals a common language in which to diagnose patients and bill insurance companies, but it has gained too much power and has no checks and balances on practitioners who wield the DSM in treatment centers, hospitals, and courtrooms around the world.
Many believe this volume of the DSM should not have been published given the controversies. The American Psychiatric Association, over the last few decades, created a nation of mental patients who are assigned a diagnostic number for common human emotions – and often prescribed pharmaceutical drugs to alleviate symptoms which begs the question: is Psychiatry sleeping with Big Pharma?
From the American Psychiatric Association’s website:
The DSM “is the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States. It is intended to be applicable in a wide array of contexts and used by clinicians and researchers of many different orientations (e.g., biological, psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioral, interpersonal, family/systems).”