DSM-V: Going Backwards and Losing Ground

Please forgive me first and foremost. This article, New mental health manual is dangerous say experts | Reuters, was originally posted on the blog, Secularity. I reblogged it, but then I got this pop-up window and weird messages were going across my screen that made me very nervous and uncomfortable, so I immediately deleted the post and am going this route instead. It is imperative that you know that this is reblogged though not in the traditional way.

You can click on the link listed above, or just read the article here, as I have copy and pasted into to quote box for you to read. I have not posted any news type of information on my blog to date, and if I ever do again, it will be a most rare incident. However, after reading this article, I feel it demands attention, as like it says in the title, this will be very dangerous indeed! To find out why, read the article, and you will understand the title of this post. Also, there are many related articles listed at the end for further information. This is truly a travesty!

New mental health manual is “dangerous” say experts

By Kate Kelland, Health and Science Correspondent

LONDON | Thu Feb 9, 2012 2:24pm EST

LONDON (Reuters) – Millions of healthy people – including shy or defiant children, grieving relatives and people with fetishes – may be wrongly labeled mentally ill by a new international diagnostic manual, specialists said on Thursday.

In a damning analysis of an upcoming revision of the influential Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), psychologists, psychiatrists and other experts said new categories of mental illness identified in the book were at best “silly” and at worst “worrying and dangerous.”

“Many people who are shy, bereaved, eccentric, or have unconventional romantic lives will suddenly find themselves labeled as mentally ill,” said Peter Kinderman, head of Liverpool University’s Institute of Psychology at a briefing in London about widespread concerns over the manual.

“It’s not humane, it’s not scientific, and it won’t help decide what help a person needs.”

The DSM is published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and has symptoms and other criteria for diagnosing mental disorders. It is used internationally and seen as the diagnostic “bible” for mental health medicine.

No one from the APA was immediately available for comment.

More than 11,000 health professionals have already signed a petition (at dsm5-reform.com) calling for the development of the fifth edition of the manual to be halted and re-thought.

Some diagnoses – for conditions like “oppositional defiant disorder” and “apathy syndrome” – risk devaluing the seriousness of mental illness and medical zing behaviors most people would consider normal or just mildly eccentric, the experts said.

At the other end of the spectrum, the new DSM, due out next year, could give medical diagnoses for serial rapists and sex abusers – under labels like “paraphilic coercive disorder” – and may allow offenders to escape prison by providing what could be seen as an excuse for their behavior, they added.


Simon Wessely of the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London said a look back at history should make health experts ask themselves: “Do we need all these labels?”

He said the 1840 Census of the United States included just one category for mental disorder, but by 1917 the APA was already recognizing 59. That rose to 128 in 1959, to 227 in 1980, and again to around 350 disorders in the fastest revisions of DSM in 1994 and 2000.

Allen Frances of Duke University and chair of the committee that oversaw the previous DSM revision, said DSM-5 would “radically and recklessly expand the boundaries of psychiatry” and result in the “lexicalization of normality, individual difference, and criminality.”

David Pilgrim of Britain’s University of Central Lancashire said it was “hard to avoid the conclusion that DSM-5 will help the interests of the drug companies.”

“Madness and misery exist but they come in many shapes and sizes,” he said. “We risk treating the experience and conduct of people as if they are botanical specimens waiting to be identified and categorized in rigid boxes.

“That would itself be a form of collective madness for all those complicit in the continuing pseudo-scientific exercise.”

Nick Craddock of Cardiff University’s department of psychological medicine and neurology, who also spoke at the London briefing, cited depression as a key example of where DSM’s broad categories were going wrong.

Whereas in previous editions, a person who had recently lost a loved one and was suffering low moods would be seen as experiencing a normal human reaction to bereavement, the new DSM criteria would ignore the death, look only at the symptoms, and class the person as having a depressive illness.

Other examples of diagnoses cited by experts as problematic included “gambling disorder,” “internet addiction disorder” and “oppositional defiant disorder” – a condition in which a child “actively refuses to comply with majority’s requests” and “performs deliberate actions to annoy others.”

“That basically means children who say ‘no’ to their parents more than a certain number of times,” Kinderman said. “On that criteria, many of us would have to say our children are mentally ill.”

(Editing by Andrew Heavens)


11 responses to “DSM-V: Going Backwards and Losing Ground

  1. Hi Cindy firstly thank you for following my blog, and having read a few of your posts in the past hour I’m certain I’ll be enjoying yours for a long time to come.

    Now on to the focus of this piece. As a slightly odd transsexualish woman, and despite living in Ireland, not America where the DSM is compiled I’ve spent the past decade trapped by it. I don’t see my gender as a mental illness. It’s my gender. It may not be conventional, but it’s clear cut to me, makes sense to me, and I find joy in it.

    However because I am required to have a psychologists and psychiatrists diagnosis to have any help at all I’ve found myself trapped. If I tell the unvarnished truth about how I perceive my natural gender I will be refused treatment, the DSM requires a hardcore adherence to binary genders. If I lie about it I could potentially end up in just very deep shite if it comes out later.

    All of that is bad enough. But if they start adding in fetishism (I’m a dominatrix and slavegirl in my personal life) and the like as mental illnesses…well to say it makes me angry would be an immense understatement. That this shower of uncaring, intellectual plebians, who wouldn’t know a cogent thought if it came up and bit them on the ass, have so much power over my life, and the lives of so many people, in OTHER countries, it’s…it’s frankly Orwellian.

    Well anyway just adding my outrage here, and saying this. Being human isn’t a mental illness. Being unique isn’t either. And to sort of quote the divine Joan Jett it doesn’t make me mentally ill that I see (for me at least ) that Love is Pain.

    Hopefully one day someone will turn around and declare all the compilers of the DSM mentally ill, on the grounds of delusions of competence.

    So yeah. *coughs* Hi! *waves*

    • Hi Amanda,

      Please, will you do me a really big favor and contact me at clr5423@pasu.edu
      From there I will give you my non-public email address. Btw, that you for following my blog as well and thank you for commenting. Gender identity is NOT a disorder and it is important to get the facts out there! I appreciate your honesty! Hope to talk to you soon!

  2. Thank you for your post. It is so ridiculas that people are diagnosed wrongly with mental health illness just because they either don’t fit into the norm or are some what different different in their lifestyle choices or personality. What happened to being free to be who you are. And what’s annoying is that those that do suffer from serious mental health illness seem to get fobbed off that they are faking , just lazy or attention seeking. Thanks again for posting this.


    • Hi Kellie,

      I agree. I would really like to see the research and emperical findings that back these new “diagnoses” up. I bet there isn’t any! That is what makes this so diabolical! I am certain that this “authoritative” book will eventually become something I am required to study or do research on. If this goes to print, I am going to have a hey day with it. At least I know my studies are going in a direction that will not be in vain! Thank you for your constant support, Kellie!


    • Hi!

      By labeling symptoms that are a normal course of life, it takes away from the seriousness of those who truly suffer on a daily and constant basis. It is a way for all the drug companies to sky rocket their profits at the cost of lives! It’s sickening! Why not put the energy instead into researching the causes of Real mental illnesses that keeps so many wonderful, talented, and intelligent people trapped and locked away form the world. Can you tell that I am becoming more angry about this than scared? Ugh! Thank you for reading.


  3. Thanks for posting this….I got goosebumps when you mentioned the weird messages for some reason. (lol) Maybe I’m mentally ill? 🙂 The article was disturbing to me and I agree that we don’t need any more scapegoat labels. This is misplacing the individuals responsibility for their actions, or saying the natural emotional and mental processes of life make us insane….indeed at times it may feel like we are losing it, but hey, from what I have seen, that is normal, eh? it is something called LIFE! 🙂
    Thanks again for posting….it was really interesting.

    • Hi Celeste,

      Thank you for reading. The following statement from the article is what is the most disturbing and frightening to me: “…the new DSM, due out next year, could give medical diagnoses for serial rapists and sex abusers – under labels like “paraphilic coercive disorder” – and may allow offenders to escape prison by providing what could be seen as an excuse for their behavior, they added.” Don’t get me wrong, these offenders are most definitely mentally disturbed, however, to be able to use it as a defense and potentially excuse them for their behavior…I am seriously at a loss for words. I pray they can stop this and amend it before it goes into print. If not, we are in serious trouble!


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