The mindful brain, revision and reform of the DSM, and food coloring really is bad for you: Thursday news and blogs

  • Rick Heller – The Mindful BrainDaniel Siegel is a psychiatrist and author. His 2007 book, The Mindful Brain, is a scientific take on the practice of mindfulness, which is often defined as “non-judgmental attention to the present moment.” Siegel’s newest book is The Mindful Therapist, a text aimed at clinicians. Siegel is himself a clinician and an educator as well as co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA and co-investigator at the Center for Culture, Brain and Development. The following is an edited version of our conversation.
  • The More Things Change . . . The Uphill Struggle to Revise and Reform the DSM | Psychology Today — Christopher Lane PhD — Three days ago, Dr. Nassir Ghaemi posted a thought-provoking piece on the power of psychiatric terminology, including the problems that stem from widespread misuse of the term “disorder” (“The Disorder of Disorder”). Though his post has already received several replies, I didn’t want the conversation to end or the issue to disappear. — I disagree with many of Nassir Ghaemi’s underlying assumptions about psychiatric diagnosis, as well as his conclusion that the “best way” forward is to “jettison . . . the term ‘disorder’ and replace it with ‘disease’ when biological disease is present,” but I have to applaud his willingness to speak openly about the many blind spots that still trouble psychiatric thinking, including over the meaning and centrality of the term “disorder. — Dr. Ghaemi argues that the term was adopted for the third edition of the DSM because it was “suitably vague and eclectic enough to serve” several purposes. That sounds right to me, and it corroborates my research on the DSM-III papers at the APA in Arlington, VA. In sounding biological, the task force shunted aside competing diagnostic systems, including psychoanalytic, existential, and environmental ones. It tried but failed to solve the mind-brain duality that has haunted American psychiatry since at least the nineteenth century. It also gave American psychiatry a patina of credibility by sounding scientific and evidence-based, even when both the science and the evidence were sorely lacking. As Ted Millon, a consultant to the DSM-III task force, openly admitted to the New Yorker magazine in January 2005, “There was very little systematic research [in what we did], and much of the research that existed was really a hodgepodge—scattered, inconsistent, and ambiguous. I think the majority of us recognized that the amount of good, solid science upon which we were making our decisions was pretty modest.” read article

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