Mental health diagnoses mask the real problems

From The Guardian, by Dorothy Rowe, well worth reading commentary:

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, whose updated fifth edition will include a range of new diagnoses, is a mythology, not a scientific text. It is created by American psychiatrists who meet in groups to consider whether or not a certain diagnosis should be included in the DSM. These groups meet a number of times so that they can say that their agreement about a certain diagnosis is reliable. Thus they could reliably agree that there is a mental disorder called Guardian Readers’ Personality Disorder with the symptoms of a need to read this paper regularly, an overvaluation of the Guardian, and so on. Who knows, it might already be in the most recent version of the DSM.

In their book, Making Us Crazy: DSM – The Psychiatric Bible and the Creation of Mental Disorders – which won the Mind Book of the Year Award in 1999 – Herb Kutchins and Stuart A Kirk wrote: “DSM is a book of tentatively assembled agreements. Agreements don’t always make sense, nor do they always reflect reality. You can have agreements among experts without validity. Even if you could find four people who agreed that the earth is flat, that the moon is made of green cheese, that smoking cigarettes poses no health risks, or that politicians are never corrupt, such agreements do not establish truth.”

*big snip*

The people who come to the attention of psychiatrists and psychologists are feeling intense, often severe mental distress. Each of us has our own way of expressing anxiety and distress, but when under intense mental distress our typical ways become exaggerated. We become self-absorbed and behave in ways that the people around us find disturbing. Believing that when we’re anxious it’s best to keep busy can mean that our intense mental distress drives us into manic activity. A tendency to blame yourself and feel guilty can transmute into depression. A desire to keep things under control can become obsessions and compulsions. We need someone to help us to make sense of the terror that can come over us and assure us that we can survive what we are experiencing. When we keep making a mess of our life we need someone to help us face the truths about which we’ve been lying to ourselves. But when we are given a diagnosis we disappear behind that diagnosis, and the diagnosis is all the unthinking people see.

All of us are already are in the fourth edition of the DSM. According to my copy, on page 673, it states, “301.9 Personality Disorder Not Otherwise Specified”. That’s you. read the rest here

Just yesterday I made the same observation…that we are all in the DSM.

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