Tag Archives: dsm

Is the American Psychiatric Association in Bed with Big Pharma? Answer: Yes

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is published by the American Psychiatric Association. The DSM provides a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders, which is used in the United States and to some extent internationally, by clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and policy makers. The DSM is produced by a panel of psychiatrists, many of whom have financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. It is considered the “bible” of American psychiatry. The latest edition — DSM-IV — was published in 1994.

In 1952, the DSM was a small, spiral-bound handbook (DSM-I), but the latest edition (DSM-IV), is a 943-page magnum opus. Over time, psychiatric diagnoses have increased in the American population and in turn, drugs that affect mental states are then used to treat them. The theory that psychiatric conditions are caused by a biochemical imbalance is often used as a justification for their widespread use, even though the theory in unproven. Since there are no objective tests for mental illness and what is normal and abnormal is often unclear, psychiatry is a particularly fertile field for creating new diagnoses or broadening old ones.


Within the last two decades the field of psychiatry has mushroomed from a fringe body of Sigmund Freud admirers to a mainstream player in the field of medical pharmacology, largely because of an unseemly union between that profession and the drug industry, leading to the creation of many never before known disease states and profitable ways to exploit those alleged diseases with psychiatric services and drugs.

Psychiatry’s Diagnosis Manual Under Fire – will feed culture of overdrugging/overdiagnosing

The “bible” of American psychiatry – a manual of mental health used around the world by doctors, consumers and insurance providers – has come under fire from a growing group of psychologists who worry that proposed revisions will feed into a culture of overdiagnosing, and overtreating, otherwise healthy people.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or the DSM, is undergoing its fifth major revision in the more than 60 years since it was first published by the American Psychiatric Association. The last update was in 1994, and the new manual is expected to be released in spring 2013.

How PTSD took over America

The suffering is very real. We’re not saying that people don’t have difficult emotional experiences and aren’t suffering. What we’re saying is this is not necessarily a disorder that people are experiencing, and if people think like that, it can be very disempowering to them. When we think of ourselves as suffering from a disorder in a medical sense, well we go to the doctor and we expect the doctor to prescribe whatever the medical treatment is. We’re not in the driver’s seat. We go along – we tell them [our] symptoms, they listen to us, they diagnose what the problem is, and then they work out what the appropriate treatment is. That’s the mind-set when we’re working within a medical framework and we think of ourselves as suffering from a disorder. We sit down in front of the therapist and we expect the therapist to be like a doctor – to be looking out for what the symptoms are so that they can make the correct diagnosis and prescribe us the right treatment. The language of PTSD invokes those ideas, and I think it’s those ideas that can be quite unhelpful at times. For what we’re talking about here, if it’s a normal, natural process, what’s really important is for the person to be in the driver’s seat for themselves – to make their own choices, their own decisions, because we’re dealing not with a disorder, but a battle within the person to find new meanings and new ways of understanding the world. That’s what they have to do. Nobody else can do that for them.