Spend just a few minutes watching prime time television with its endless pageant of commercials for antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds and you start to wonder if USA really means the United States of Affliction. Such “direct to consumer” drug advertising ties into one of the most far-reaching criticisms in revising the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders…
Fads in psychiatric diagnosis come and go and have been with us as long as there has been a psychiatry. The fads meet a deeply felt need to explain, or at least to label, what would otherwise be unexplainable human suffering and deviance. In recent years the pace has picked up and false “epidemics” have come in bunches involving an ever increasing proportion of the population. We are now in the midst of at least three such epidemics- of autism, attention deficit, and childhood bipolar disorder. And unless it comes to its senses, DSM5 threatens to provoke several more (hypersexuality, binge eating, mixed anxiety depression, minor neurocognitive, and others).
The term “ADHD” is simply a label used to categorise a list of psychosocial traits that Psychiatry considers to be improper or abnormal in society. Psychiatry defines these traits as a “mental illness”, and promotes it as a “disease” that requires “treatment”.
“The proposed DSM5 would be a giant step backwards for psychiatry. American psychiatrists should petition the APA to drop this ill-conceived and badly executed project.”
The new fourth revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association may define several new psychiatric disorders. Some of these do not sound like varieties of mental illness at all, but rather opinions and attitudes. What would “oppositional defiant disorder,” for example, represent?