Psychiatry and psychotherapy obsess on what’s wrong with people and give short shrift to what’s right. The manual of these professions is a 943-page textbook called the DSM-IV. It identifies scores of pathological states but no healthy ones.
Some time back, I began to complain about this fact, and asked readers to help me compile material for a proposed antidote, the Anti-DSM — a compendium of healthy, exalted, positive states of being. As their entries came in, we at the Beauty and Truth Laboratory were inspired to dream up some of our own. Below is part one of our initial attempt at creating an Anti-DSM-IV, or as we also like to call it, The Outlaw Catalog of Cagey Optimism. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
On Dr. David Healy’s website from yesterday there is an article about the very problematic Somatic Symptom Disorder category in the DSM 5. I’ve written about this before because it’s of particular interest to many folks who’ve suffered iatrogenic damage from psychiatric drugs. Psychiatric drug withdrawal syndromes are sometimes devastating physically crippling illnesses that can last months and years. We have all faced being told our issues are psychiatric. We have routinely suffered from little or no care from our health care providers. We have had to take care of each other completely out of the system. Remaining in the care of doctors has often been dangerous. Somatic Symptom Disorder category further institutionalizes this dangerous trend. … [click on title to read the rest]
Why did the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual become so controversial? Is it possible to alleviate human suffering without classifying it as a mental disorder? Gary Greenberg, psychotherapist, author of Manufacturing Depression and The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry, and journalist for Harper’s, the New Yorker, and Rolling Stone, discusses the politics behind psychiatry’s new Bible. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
When I interviewed Gary Greenberg, author of “The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry” for Madness Radio last month, I knew it would be great to invite him to an event at Powell’s bookstore in Portland. Powell’s and Portland Hearing Voices have co-sponsored Robert Whitaker and Ethan Watters in the past, and when Gary got into town we once again filled the store’s upstairs lecture room for an awesome and thoughtful evening. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
A collection of articles on the DSM in the news today and recently. We’re watching a house come down!! It looks like the publication of DSMV is — not at all by design — turning into a watershed event. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
Western psychiatry is in crisis. The direction taken by the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5), due to be published later this week, has received ample criticism. Moreover, in disagreement with the American Psychiatric Association, the United States National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the world’s largest research institute, has announced they will no longer fund projects based exclusively on DSM categories. Unfortunately, while Mental Health Europe considers the NIMH decision to be the right one, by focusing almost entirely on neuroscience and on so-called disorders of the brain, the NIMH is missing out on the critical importance of user experiences to psychiatric research and to the practice of psychiatry. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
Another big WOW piece of news. I’ll let it stand alone. Thank you for alerting us Mind Hacks.
It’s not like Insel is generally an enlightened sort, but this remains fascinating!
UPDATE: I read the NIMH announcement. (when I first posted this I had just woken up) As I said above, Insel is hardly an enlightened sort. This probably isn’t as positive as it sounds. Although acknowledging the limitations of DSM is good, what will eventually replace it is likely to be even more reductive, i.e. the criteria for diagnosis will likely become all biological based on genetics, scans and other kinds of testing without reference to anything involved outside the patient’s body.
That’s not to diminish the value of discarding conceptual categories. It’s not that long ago that mental illness was mostly classified as hysteria. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
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.
The new additions to the DSM-V create even more opportunities to see our clients as “The Other” and less like fellow travelers on this journey of life. Noted existential psychologist Irvin Yalom states that “labels do violence to people,” and Kierkegaard said, “Once you label me, you negate me.” I, along with many others, fear the violence that will be done to those included in these new categories.
I believe the DSM-V changes can serve as a wake-up call, alerting each of us to the need for a life of celebrating our humanity … one where we learn to accept ourselves right where we are without judgment or criticism. Of course, that means we must take a stand against the dangers we are facing.
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 […]