The Somatic Symptom Disorder category is also of particular concern to those who are suffering from drug iatrogenesis and particularly psychiatric drug withdrawal syndromes. One of the common manifestations of debilitation when struck with withdrawal syndromes are numerous, often bizarre, acute, painful and disabling physical sensations. They include varieties of neuropathies and parasthesias. They are NOT in the patients head. And since the drug use caused these disabling symptoms more drugs to cure them is exactly the wrong way to go. This, of course, already happens. Many people are wrongly diagnosed when they start manifesting adverse reactions or acute withdrawal to drugs. They are often already disbelieved when they start reporting such adverse events. See: Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up
From DX Revision Watch:
While media and professional attention has been focused on the implications for introducing new disorders into the DSM and lowering diagnostic thresholds for existing categories, the Somatic Symptom Disorders (SSD) Work Group has been quietly redefining DSM‘s Somatoform Disorders with radical proposals that could bring millions more patients under a mental health diagnosis.
The SSD Work Group is proposing to rename the Somatoform Disorders section of DSM-IV to “Somatic Symptom Disorders,”eliminate four existing DSM-IV categories: somatization disorder, hypochondriasis, pain disorder, and undifferentiated somatoform disorder and replace them with a single new category – “Somatic Symptom Disorder.”
If approved, these proposals will license the application of a mental health diagnosis for all illnesses – whether “established general medical conditions or disorders” like diabetes, heart disease and cancer or conditions presenting with “somatic symptoms of unclear etiology” – if the clinician considers that the patient’s life has become “subsumed” with health concerns and preoccupations, or their response to distressing somatic symptoms is “excessive” or “disproportionate” or their coping strategies“maladaptive.” (continue reading)
The above article was written in May of this year. More recently the author called attention to this additional serious concern with the DSM and Allen Francis, who was was chair of the DSM-IV Task Force and is currently professor emeritus at Duke, responded in agreement:
Many readers of my previous blog listing the ten worst suggestions in DSM 5 were shocked that I failed to mention an eleventh dangerous mistake- that DSM 5 will harm people who are medically ill by mislabeling their medical problems as mental disorder. They are absolutely right. I apologize for my previous failure to attend to this danger and hope it is not now too late to influence the process. (continue reading)
He goes on to include many of her concerns in that post — it’s worth reading.
What is not mentioned, again, is the ongoing failure to recognize the iatrogenic illness (medically induced physical illness) that these drugs actually cause very often, especially when people withdraw from them but often simply as a result of going on and off them as is routinely done in the treatment of those who are so-called “treatment resistant.” The med “merry-go-rounds” that so many people experience in psychiatric care are quite often the cause of what gets called treatment resistance. The body/mind doesn’t like having its nervous system repeatedly jacked around.
Because there is a long history of the health and well-being of those labeled with psychiatric illness being neglected already, these happenings are very serious indeed.
The so-called mentally ill already have a very hard time getting their health care needs met and are routinely disbelieved even when reporting serious health issues. People have died as a result of not being taken seriously when they have serious medical problems. I have sadly witnessed such ill-treatment when I was working in the field. I saw more than one client die as a result. See: Health care professionals discriminate
The Somatic Symptom Disorder institutionalizes this dangerous habit so that even more harm might come from this systemic discrimination.
Update: just saw 1BoringOldMan’s post on this topic too. I’ll share the link: Danger! Danger!
If you have found my work helpful and can afford to do so, please consider making a contribution and becoming a supporting subscriber of Beyond Meds.