Problems with the DSM-5

Most psychiatrists today look to their “Bible” when diagnosing people they think are “mentally ill.” That Bible is the DSM-5, short for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th Edition. The DSM-5 lists nearly 300 “disorders.” These include internet addiction, gender “incongruence” disorder (formerly called gender identity disorder in the DSM-4), childhood mood swing disorder, and hypersexual disorder, all of which are arguably just part of being a human. Children are diagnosed with ADHD because they have trouble sitting still and paying attention. Is this really abnormal? Mainstream science is finally starting to question this. See this article: Allsopp, K., Read, J., Corcoran, R., & Kinderman, P. (2019). Heterogeneity in psychiatric diagnostic classification. Psychiatry Research, 279, 15-22. ↩”This paper comes to the arguably alarming conclusion that the DSM is not only conceptually problematic but ‘scientifically meaningless.’ The very fact that there is considerable overlap between disorders and that two people can (so the DSM says) have the same disorder but share none of the same symptoms, it is argued, contradicts the very purpose and relevance of a system that was based on discerning ‘discrete disorders.’ And it must be noted that Allsopp et al’s paper is not a theoretical paper in a psychotherapy journal, but a study in a psychiatry journal.” See The 297 disorders include, for example, “oppositional disorder.” That means a teenager rebelling against his parents. Um, isn’t that what teenagers do? Or misophonia–a reaction to sounds like snapping gum or dripping water. I guess I have that one–I dislike the sound of snapping gum. My late husband, a plumber, could not stand the sound of dripping or running water. I wanted to set up a Buddhist-like fountain in the backyard, and he said, “I can’t live with that. When I hear running water, I hear a problem I have to deal with.” Are these disorders? I would say no. Of major concern to me, as one who has lost my husband, son, and father, is the elimination of the “bereavement exclusion” which existed in the DSM-4. Now, apparently, we have a specifically allowed time to grieve the death of our loved ones. If we don’t “snap out of it,” we need to take antidepressants. This is an example of how over the top we have come in our need to label normal human reactions as “disorders.” PTSD is another one. I would call it PTS, without the D. Because it’s a normal human response to trauma. We need to completely re-think our approach to this non-scientific, non-evidence-based approach that too often forces unwanted and unnecessary “care” on people exhibiting normal behavior.

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