Tag Archives: Allen Frances

Shrinks on the couch as they ponder who is and is not crazy

SOME psychiatrists — the ones who don’t believe they are godlike creatures — are in a bit of a tizz these days. They are worried about all the damage they might have unwittingly done by misdiagnosing mental illness. Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi could help to ease their furrowed brows. Some background, before I explain that apparent non-sequitur: In a soul-searching analysis of his profession in Wired magazine recently, US psychiatrist Dr Allen Frances declares that mental disorders “can’t be defined”, and it’s “bull—-” to suggest otherwise. Frances is lead editor of the DSM-IV, the fourth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. It’s a publication that has been described as “the bible” and “the imperial doctrine” of psychiatrists.

It’s what shrinks use, in their godlike wisdom, to decide whether or not you are mentally ill — and then to prescribe powerful, dangerous drugs, and other treatments that can turn you into a shadow of your former self. In the gut-wrenching Wired article, Frances says: “We psychiatrists have made mistakes that had terrible consequences.”

Psychiatric diagnostic manual editor reveals emperor has no clothes, “There is no definition of a mental disorder. It’s bull__.”

(NaturalNews) “There is no definition of a mental disorder. It’s bull___. I mean, you just can’t define it,” states Allen Frances, MD, lead editor for the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-IV). As DSM-IV is the imperial doctrine used by psychiatrists in diagnosing mental disorders, prescribing powerful psychotropics to the masses, and commanding health care dollars, this is quite a confession. “We made mistakes that had terrible consequences,” Frances concedes.

Gary Greenberg who interviewed Frances and wrote an in-depth article for Wired Magazine, describes how Frances’ conscience has been hitting him in the gut. “Diagnoses of autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and bipolar disorder skyrocketed, and Frances thinks his manual inadvertently facilitated these epidemics — and, in the bargain, fostered an increasing tendency to chalk up life’s difficulties to mental illness and then treat them with psychiatric drugs,” writes Greenberg. DSM-IV led to a 40X increase in child bipolar diagnoses and an epidemic of dangerous antipsychotic prescriptions for children, even as young as 3.

What’s A Mental Disorder? Even Experts Can’t Agree

The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, or DSM, updated roughly every 15 years, has detailed descriptions of all the mental disorders officially recognized by psychiatry. It’s used by psychiatrists, insurance companies, drug researchers, the courts and even schools.

But it’s not without controversy: The proposed changes suggested this year have sparked a kind of civil war within psychiatry.

In a small condo on the beach in San Diego lives Allen Frances, who blames himself for what he calls the “Epidemic of Asperger’s.” Frances edited the last edition of the DSM, and he’s also the new DSM’s most prominent critic. Frances is the one who put the word Asperger’s in the DSM in the first place, thereby making it an official mental disorder

DSM: The Book of Woe—Inside the Battle to Define Mental Illness

Every so often Al Frances says something that seems to surprise even him. Just now, for instance, in the predawn darkness of his comfortable, rambling home in Carmel, California, he has broken off his exercise routine to declare that “there is no definition of a mental disorder. It’s bullshit. I mean, you just can’t define it.”

The insurgency against the DSM-5 (the APA has decided to shed the Roman numerals) has now spread far beyond just Allen Frances. Psychiatrists at the top of their specialties, clinicians at prominent hospitals, and even some contributors to the new edition have expressed deep reservations about it. Dissidents complain that the revision process is in disarray and that the preliminary results, made public for the first time in February 2010, are filled with potential clinical and public relations nightmares. Although most of the dissenters are squeamish about making their concerns public—especially because of a surprisingly restrictive nondisclosure agreement that all insiders were required to sign—they are becoming increasingly restive, and some are beginning to agree with Frances that public pressure may be the only way to derail a train that he fears will “take psychiatry off a cliff.”

Psychiatrist Asks, “Why Are People So Divided When It Comes To Children’s Mental Health?” We’ve Got the Answer…

Today’s Huffington Post features an article from psychiatrist Harold Koplewicz, frequently seen in the press leading the cheer for more psychiatric diagnosing and drugging of children. In today’s article, Koplewicz makes a plea to ‘Stop the Stigma’ which is preventing children from being diagnosed mentally ill. Pretty catchy slogan isn’t it? “Stop the Stigma.” It ought to be, it’s a brilliant marketing campaign, brought to you by Big Pharma, via the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), a group that masquerades as a “patient’s rights group for the mentally ill” but receives tens of millions in funding from Pharma.