DSM does more harm than good

Paula Caplan has an opinion piece in the Washington Post today on the DSM. It’s worth a read. The argument is that a diagnosis from the DSM can derail people’s lives. I unfortunately also know this to be true for myself and far too many people I know. Below is an excerpt:

Psychiatry’s bible, the DSM, is doing more harm than good

Frances has even said that “there is no definition of a mental disorder. . . . These concepts are virtually impossible to define precisely.”

Mental health professionals should use, and patients should insist on, what does work: not snap-judgment diagnoses, but instead listening to patients respectfully to understand their suffering — and help them find more natural ways of healing. Exercise, good nutrition, meditation and human connection are often more effective — and less risky — than drugs or electroshock.

Patients should not be limited in their choices of treatment, but they should be better informed. If someone knows about the many ways that suffering can be addressed, including a drug or a treatment with potential benefits and harms, and they still want to try it, they should be able to.

While patients who think they have been harmed by a diagnosis can file a lawsuit or a complaint with a state licensing body, that almost never happens. However, this weekend marks a big change, as some people are speaking up: About 10 people who received diagnoses from the current DSM edition are filing complaints against the manual’s editors. (I have worked with the patients to prepare their complaints, and I’m filing my own as a concerned clinician.) read the rest

More coverage on the DSM from Beyond Meds can be found here.

I once Undiagnosed myself here on the blog. Bipolar disorder truly never worked for me and now that I’ve been medication free for a couple of years it’s even more clearly not applicable to my experience. The only thing the diagnosis did for me in the long run was, via psychotropic drugs and their neurotoxicity, was make me gravely physically ill. Iagtrogenic illness (medically induced).

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Posts on Beyond Meds by Paula Caplan:

●  Dr. Paula Caplan on how psychiatrists decide who’s normal

●  Stop the DSM5: two actions to take now

●  Emotional Healing Without Pathologizing or Drugging: a veterans day post

●  Full Disclosure Needed About Psychiatric Drugs That Shorten Life

●  What’s Wrong With This Picture? Psychiatrists’ Focus on Drugs and Emotional Distance: by Paula Caplan

●  Military Families and Psychiatry

●  When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home: how all of us can help veterans

●  Fattened by pills

Books by Paula Caplan:

●  They Say You’re Crazy: How The World’s Most Powerful Psychiatrists Decide Who’s Normal

●  Bias In Psychiatric Diagnosis

●  The Myth of Women’s Masochism: with a new preface by the author

●  When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home: How All of Us Can Help Veterans

●  Thinking Critically about Research on Sex and Gender


About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters