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The fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association's (APA)
diagnostic "bible" – the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental
Disorders (DSM) – is due out in May 2013.
DSM-5 contains an ever-expanding list of mental illnesses, along with
detailed criteria that psychiatrists and other mental health professionals
use for making diagnoses.
But many critics have emerged, including a group of opponents referred to
as the International DSM-5 Response Committee, who are launching a campaign
to block the manual’s release, or at least warn practitioners and patients
alike to take its definitions of mental illness with a serious grain of salt
Turning Healthy People Into Mental Illness Patients
According to some, the new version of the manual will label healthy
people with a mental condition and make them prime candidates for unnecessary
prescriptions of mind-altering antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs.
At the center of the anti-DSM-5 movement is Dr. Allen Frances, author of
"Saving Normal: An Insider's Revolt Against Out of Control Psychiatric
Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life."
Dr. Frances actually led the task force that produced the last edition of
the manual, DSM-4, which he now believes has resulted in the over-
medicalization and over-diagnosis of mental illnesses.
Frances told CNN:1
"What motivates me is the experience of having inadvertently
contributed to fads and psycho-diagnosis that have resulted in over-diagnosis
and over-treatment … Some of this happened during DSM IV, even though we were
more conservative with that document than they've been with DSM-5, with its
many changes that are unsupported and, in some cases, quite reckless."
Normal Emotions Classified as Disorders?
The soon-to-be-released DSM-5 contains a myriad of questionable new
disorders that could result in turning virtually anyone experiencing normal
human life challenges and emotions into a patient.
For instance, “somatic symptom disorder” describes a person who has spent
six months or more thinking about and being anxious about their medical
issues. This, Frances explained, would incorrectly apply to about one in four
people with chronic pain or irritable bowel syndrome, he told CNN.
Then there is "Internet use disorder," which will be recommended as an
area that needs further study in DSM-5. Internet use disorder includes many
characteristics of any addiction, such as experiencing withdrawal symptoms
when the object of addiction is taken away, an inability to control its use,
developing a tolerance to it, deceiving family members about its use, and
losing interests in other hobbies.
In this case, of course, the object of abuse is the Internet. By making
Internet addiction a certifiable mental illness, it then becomes treatable by
drugs and billable through insurance companies?and morphs into a "disorder"
that is likely something that will stigmatize your health records for the
rest of your life.
Millions of Americans, including me, use the Internet on a daily basis,
many for hours on end, so the potential treatment market for "Internet use
disorder" is huge.
Even Grief is a Mental 'Illness'
Also according to DSM-5, you may actually have an "Adjustment Disorder"
related to bereavement if:2
"Following the death of a close family member or close friend, the
individual experiences on more days than not intense yearning or longing for
the deceased, intense sorrow and emotional pain, or preoccupation with the
deceased or the circumstances of the death for at least 12 months (or 6
months for children). The person may also display difficulty accepting the
death, intense anger over the loss, a diminished sense of self, a feeling
that life is empty, or difficulty planning for the future or engaging in
activities or relationships."
These all sound like normal reactions following the death of a loved one,
but the DSM-5 also proposes further study for Persistent Complex Bereavement
Disorder, with the purpose being to "develop the best empirically-based set
of symptoms to characterize individuals with bereavement-related disorders."
Close to 2.5 million Americans die each year, and the number of those
experiencing grief as a result is far higher. This is the market the
pharmaceutical industry stands to gain, thanks to the APA's trigger-happy
attitude when it comes to labeling normal human emotions as psychiatric
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