DSM-5: Revision controversies in New Scientist 09.12.09

DSM-5: Revision controversies in New Scientist 09.12.09

Post #4 Shortlink: http://wp.me/pKrrB-bv

Just one day before the American Psychiatric Association (APA) announced its intention to shift the publication date for DSM-5 one year on, to May 2103, New Scientist published an editorial and an article by Peter Aldhous [New Scientist’s San Francisco bureau chief] on the controversies around the revision of DSM-IV:

New Scientist

Time’s up for psychiatry’s bible
09 December 2009

“…The final wording of the new manual will have worldwide significance. DSM is considered the bible of psychiatry, and if the APA broadens the diagnostic criteria for conditions such as schizophrenia and depression, millions more people could be placed on powerful drugs, some of which have serious side effects. Similarly, newly defined mental illnesses that deem certain individuals a danger to society could be used to justify locking these people up for life…”

Read full editorial here

Psychiatry’s civil war
by Peter Aldhous
09 December 2009

“…Two eminent retired psychiatrists are warning that the revision process is fatally flawed.* They say the new manual, to be known as DSM-V, will extend definitions of mental illnesses so broadly that tens of millions of people will be given unnecessary and risky drugs. Leaders of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), which publishes the manual, have shot back, accusing the pair of being motivated by their own financial interests – a charge they deny. The row is set to come to a head next month when the proposed changes will be published online. For a profession that exists to soothe human troubles, it’s incendiary stuff.”

“…Some of the most acrimonious arguments stem from worries about the pharmaceutical industry’s influence over psychiatry. This has led to the spotlight being turned on the financial ties of those in charge of revising the manual, and has made any diagnostic changes that could expand the use of drugs especially controversial.”

Read full article here

*See: Letter to APA Board of Trustees July 7 2009 From Allen Frances and Robert Spitzer 06 July 2009

See also:

Psychiatric Times
A Warning Sign on the Road to DSM-V: Beware of Its Unintended Consequences
Allen Frances, MD
26 June 2009

Dr Frances was chair of the DSM-IV Task Force


See: Psychiatric Times DSM-V Resource page for further commentaries by Spitzer, Frances and others and responses from APA board officials


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