According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control, a staggering 6.4 million American children between the ages of 4 and 17 have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), whose key symptoms are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity—characteristics that most would consider typically childish behavior. High school boys, an age group particularly prone to childish antics and drifting attention spans, are particularly prone to being labeled as ADHD, with one out of every five high school boys diagnosed with the disorder.
When the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders hits the stores on May 22nd, it will signal the end of a fraught thirteen-year campaign. Every revision of the D.S.M. causes controversy; that’s what happens when experts argue in public about the nature of human suffering. But never has the process provoked warfare so brutal, with attacks coming from within the profession as well from psychiatry’s usual opponents. Indeed, it’s possible that no book has ever been subject to such scrutiny in the course of being written. It is as if J. K. Rowling had produced her Harry Potter sequels in a glass studio with fans looking on and banging the windows whenever she typed something they didn’t like.
All of the panel members that produced the American Psychiatric Association (APA)’s Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Major Depressive Disorder had numerous financial ties to drug companies that manufacture antidepressants, raising questions about the trustworthiness of the guideline, a UMass Boston researcher says.
Paid speaking “is perfectly legal, and if people want to work for drug companies, this is America,” said Scully, whose specialty has often been criticized for its over-reliance on medications. “But everybody needs to be clear — this is marketing.”
In 1952, the first hydrogen bomb was detonated and the American Psychiatric Association, APA, published its first book of mental illnesses: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM.
No one, then, could have imagined that this seemingly innocuous manual would be more destructive, and result in producing more victims, than a nuclear weapon.
Since then the DSM has mushroomed and with each revised DSM untold millions carry the scars from its devastating effects.