Tag Archives: Allen Frances

US expert slams Patrick McGorry’s psychosis model

PATRICK McGorry’s model of early diagnosis of psychosis, favoured by the federal government and the Coalition in their mental-health policies, has come under attack from a leading US psychiatrist, who warns that predicting psychosis is unreliable and could lead to patients being wrongly medicated.

Allen Frances, who chaired the committee that produced the current diagnostic bible for psychiatry, the DSM-IV, has warned that Professor McGorry’s Early Psychosis Intervention Centres do not have a reliable early diagnosis tool.

Professor Frances, an emeritus professor at Duke University in North Carolina, fears early diagnosis could lead to people without psychosis being put on medications that have serious side-effects, including massive weight gain.

He has also attacked the Gillard government’s plans to spend $222 million expanding Professor McGorry’s EPIC program by another 16 centres as a “vast untried public-health experiment”.

Australia’s Reckless Experiment In Early Intervention

Early intervention to prevent psychosis requires first that there be an accurate tool to identify who will later become psychotic and who will not. Unfortunately, no such accurate tool exists. The false positive rate in selecting prepsychosis is at least about 60-70% in the very best of hands and may be as high as 90% in general practice. That’s right, folks, nine misidentified non patients for one accurately identified truly prepsychotic patient. Those are totally unacceptable odds.

The business of ADHD

As the DSM-V looms closer to becoming a reality, I can’t help but think of words from the man who chaired the committee for the DSM-IV. Allen Frances, M.D., wrote in the in the LA Times:

As chairman of the task force that created the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), which came out in 1994, I learned from painful experience how small changes in the definition of mental disorders can create huge, unintended consequences.

Our panel tried hard to be conservative and careful but inadvertently contributed to three false ‘epidemics’ – attention deficit disorder, autism and childhood bipolar disorder. Clearly, our net was cast too wide and captured many ‘patients’ who might have been far better off never entering the mental health system.

Grief is most definitely not a mental illness

Those of us working at Nanaimo Hospice were shocked at this headline. The proposed revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders designating grief as a mental illness leaves us wondering if we, as humans, have lost our way. And although I am not a cynical person, one has to wonder who is behind this kind of move to “medicalize” grief — who would benefit most?

Let me be clear — grief is not a mental disorder. It is a natural reaction to a life transition that we must all face many times over a lifetime.

Psychiatrists Want To Label Grief a Mental Disorder

Human grief could soon be diagnosed as a mental disorder under a proposal critics fear could lead to mood-altering pills being pushed for “mourning.”

Psychiatrists charged with revising the official “bible” of mental illness are recommending changes that would make it easier for doctors to diagnose major depression in the newly bereaved.