DSM info by Karen Franklin—yeah, it’s not exactly science

I’m interrupting my internet break to link to a very good article written by Karen Franklin PhD:

It’s a tried-and-true formula:

Do a quick-and-dirty study or two. Find a huge, perhaps escalating, problem that has heretofore been overlooked. Create a product label (aka diagnosis). And, voila! The drug companies will take it from there. A diagnosis that was once just a twinkle in the eye of a creative researcher becomes reified as a concrete entity.

Over the past couple of decades, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association has risen from its humble origins to an object of worship, regarded as the absolute scientific truth. Privately, however, many mental health professionals refer to it as a “joke.” That’s partly because of research studies showing that many diagnoses have poor validity in the real world. It’s also because of its many undesirable influences, including internal turf wars, cultural fads, group-think, and outside lobbying. And leading the outside lobbying, of course, is the pharmaceutical industry. (read the rest here)

I am still not actively responding to email or comments or reading blogs most of the time and may cease to do so for some time.

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Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters

6 Responses

  1. Teresa

    Gianna,
    I hope you are doing well. I hope you are starting to feel better. Enjoy your break! Lord knows I could use a break from everything right now, wishful thinking I guess!

    Take care!!!!

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  2. Very interesting indeed. I vacillate between thinking that labels are completely useless, and thinking that diagnoses are useful to the extent that they allow people to track their experiences and feel less “crazy”. Of course when diagnosis is accompanied by a drug prescription, that’s a bad thing.

    FWIW, personally I think that shyness and social anxiety disorder aren’t quite the same thing, but that’s a different topic. 🙂

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  3. Phoenix

    This post is right on the money. Please keep in mind that psychiatric diagnoses are overwhelmingly subjective. (I’m a retired licensed therapist) Now that I’m away from shrinks and learning how to live life, I have very few depressive episodes — a day or two at most — and always because of outside circumstances or memories.

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