The Huffington Post
By Ronald Ricker
July 13, 2010
The Bible (or really any religious text) can be made to say and mean anything the author wishes.
The “Bible” of psychiatry, that fabled and hoary text, the DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders written by the American Psychiatric Association), is no different. Conceived as an instrument to identify and help heal disorders of the mind, it has morphed as to both form and function. Too often, psychiatrists wield the DSM-IV-TR like a blunt instrument, desperate in their drive to assign names to supposed “mental conditions” and thus to be able to assign numbers to these “conditions.” Discover a new widely inclusive “condition,” give it a name and number and you have a winner: One more brick in the wall of sicknesses.
DSM-IV-TR is very large book. We have lots of diagnoses, the number rapidly growing. We need lots of page room. Aside from blank pages, Chapter Heading Pages, and long lists of Contributors, etc., DSM-IV-TR is chuck full of diagnoses, with detailed descriptions and code numbers for each diagnosis. This book is 952 pages long. It weighs 4.8 pounds.
There is an odd situation in DSM-IV-TR. Really odd. In its entirety, all 952 pages, there is no “No Disorder” option. Therefore, everyone is seen by DSM-IV-TR as sick, the only question being from which sickness(es) they suffer. The annual physical checkup many of us get, usually, unless there is something wrong, ends with “everything is fine.” This, apparently, doesn’t exist in mental health.
I have always felt that I was a crummy writer, starting from college and thereafter (including medical school, internship, National Institute of Mental Health, Psychiatric Residency). However, in writing this poorly written piece, while trudging through DSM-IV-TR, I found 315.2 – “Disorder of Written Expression.” It was an AH-HA moment. I may be a crummy writer, but it’s because I have a disease. Criteria, according to DSM-IV-TR, for this disease (315.2) are 3:
- a) Writing skills below those expected given the person’s chronological age, measured intelligence and age appropriate education;
- b) The disturbance in criterion A significantly interferes with academic achievement or activities of daily living that require the composition of written texts (e.g, writing grammatically correct sentences and organized paragraphs);
- c) If a sensory deficit is present, the difficulties in writing skills are in excesses of those usually associated with it.
Read entire article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ronald-ricker/life-is-not-a-mental-diso_b_644606.html
Tags: 952 pages, American Psychiatric Association, APA, diagnoses, diagnostic codes, Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Disorder of Written Expression, disorders of the mind, dsm, DSM-IV, DSM-IV-TR, mental disorders, mental health, National Institute of Mental Health, NIMH, psychiatric bible, psychiatrists, sickness
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