Allen Frances; John Grohol on DSM-V revision process

Allen Frances, MD; John Grohol, PsyD, on DSM-V revision process

Post #6 Shortlink:

There’s been no response, so far, on the DSM-V pages of Psychiatric Times to the news that the APA has extended its timeline by 12 months.

On 3 December, Dr Allen Frances, MD, who chaired the DSM-IV Task Force, had published that according to his sources, the APA’s original plan to schedule field trials before the proposed changes could be vetted by the field and with an “impossible publication deadline” of May 2012 was being shelved and that field trials would now follow the posting of options; the publication of DSM-5 was expected to be postponed until May 2013.

Psychiatric Times 

Alert to the Research Community—Be Prepared to Weigh in on DSM-V
by Allen Frances, MD
03 December 2009

Dr Frances was the chair of the DSM-IV Task Force and of the department of psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC. He is currently professor emeritus at Duke.

This commentary will suggest how the research community can be instrumental in improving DSM-V and helping it avoid unintended consequences. According to several converging, anonymous (but I think quite reliable) sources to which I have had access, the draft options for DSM-V will finally be posted between mid-January and mid-February 2010. There will then be just one additional month until mid-March for collecting comments.* The good news is that the products of a previously closed process will finally be available for wide review and correction. The bad news is that there will be only a very brief period allotted for this absolutely crucial input from the field…

…The research community has a central role and a great responsibility in taking advantage of this precious opportunity to carefully review and identify the problems in the DSM-V drafts and to suggest solutions…

Read full commentary here

The APA board has declined to comment on Dr Frances’ comments.

Catch up with the often acerbic exchanges between Drs Spitzer and Frances, APA board members and others with past and current involvement with DSM revisions on Psychiatric Times DSM-V Resource pages.

*APA has since rescheduled date of publication of draft options to 10 February 2010 

Commentary here on DSM revision controversies from Dr John M Grohol PsyD:

Psych Central
DSM-V: Suggestions for Change
by John M Grohol, PsyD

Dr. John Grohol is the CEO and founder of Psych Central.

Dr Grohol offers 8 suggestions for “Fixing the DSM Revision Process”

An earlier piece by Grohol around DSM-5:

Psych Central
Transparency, Kupfer and the DSM-V
by John M Grohol, PsyD


Christopher Lane on DSM revision and New Scientist article

Christopher Lane commentary on DSM revision and New Scientist article

Post #5 Shortlink:

Update @ 9 January 10

On the Media | The Art of Diagnosis | 26 December 2008

Does very severe PMS constitute a mental disorder? That’s one of many questions facing psychiatrists as they work to revise the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM, the definitive compendium of our psychic maladies. Because the DSM influences not just doctors and patients but medical research, insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry, advertising and the culture at large, controversy surrounding its new edition abounds. Brooke looks at this powerful book…

Audio and transcript: includes contributions from Christopher Lane, Brooke Gladstone, Dr Darrel Regier (Vice chair, DSM-5 Task Force), Dr Michael First and others.

Christopher Lane, PhD, is the Pearce Miller Research Professor at Northwestern University and author of Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness.

On 12 December, Dr Lane published a commentary around the editorial and article published a couple of days before, by New Scientist:

Psychology Today

American Psychiatry Is Facing “Civil War” over Its Diagnostic Manual
What’s the real reason DSM-V has been delayed?

Yesterday, the American Psychiatric Association announced that it is pushing back the publication of DSM-V until 2013. The APA tried to put a good face on this rather embarrassing admission – embarrassing, because several spokespeople for the organization had insisted, quite recently, that they were on-track for publication in 2012 and that nothing would deter them…

Read full article here

On Friday, 18 December, Christopher Lane gave an interview on WNCY Radio, on the Brian Lehrer Show.  You can listen to the interview here:

The Brian Lehrer Show  |  18 December 2009  |  Mental Illness by the Book

“The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, is commonly known as the “bible” of psychiatry. Christopher Lane, Northwestern University English literature professor and author of Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness, discusses the controversy around revising this manual.”

Related information:

Previous commentary from Christopher Lane on the DSM revision process:

Los Angeles Times
Wrangling over psychiatry’s bible
by Christopher Lane
16 November 2008


Bitterness, Compulsive Shopping, and Internet Addiction
The diagnostic madness of DSM-V
by Christopher Lane
24 July 2009

DSM-5: Revision controversies in New Scientist 09.12.09

DSM-5: Revision controversies in New Scientist 09.12.09

Post #4 Shortlink:

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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