Why Doesn’t DSM 5 Defend Itself? Perhaps because no defense is possible

Allen Frances M.D. (psychiatrist and chair of the DSM-IV Task Force and currently professor emeritus at Duke) has become one of the most vocal critics of the DSM-5. He asks some great questions on his blog yesterday.

From his blog on Psychology Today:

The DSM 5 petition is now 12 days old and has already been signed by 3,300 people. It can be accessed at ipetitions.com.

The arguments against DSM 5 are really quite simple and straightforward—and to me seem absolutely compelling. DSM 5 has failed to allow an open, independent and rigorous scientific review of the evidence supporting its suggestions. It is the result of a secretive and closed process that has lost touch with clinical reality. Its suggestions for new diagnoses and for reducing thresholds on old ones will promote a radical explosion in the rates of psychiatric diagnosis that will worsen our country’s already excessive use of medication. Finally, the DSM 5 preoccupation with diagnosing people who are not really ill will result in a misallocation of resources that disadvantages those most clearly in need them.

Most remarkably (but perhaps not surprising given its closed process), no one has made any effort to rebut the petition. DSM 5 has little support outside its own tight little group and even within this group there are no champions ready to defend it. (read the rest here)

If you’ve not yet signed the petition do so here. It’s also a very carefully and well written argument about the flaws of the DSM. I recommend your reading it.

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