McGorry and Mendoza are adept at capturing media attention, using emotive statistics and feel-good messages as powerful soundbites. However, few people seem to have critically examined their claims, which have been widely accepted at face value. We have examined several claims, and found them seriously problematic. Not only is there a high degree of spin in the rhetoric but also there is misrepresentation of evidence.
The “Psychosis Risk” proposal has stimulated widespread opposition (even I am told from within the Workgroup itself). The arguments against it are simply overwhelming. The false positive rate in predicting psychosis would be between 70-90%, meaning that between two and nine youngsters would be misidentified for every one accurately identified. The treatment most likely to be used would be antipsychotic medications. These have no proven efficacy in preventing psychosis, but most definitely have terrible side effects- especially enormous weight gain and its life threatening complications. These medications are overprescribed to those least able to resist- the young and those who are most financially disadvantaged.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, whose updated fifth edition will include a range of new diagnoses, is a mythology, not a scientific text. It is created by American psychiatrists who meet in groups to consider whether or not a certain diagnosis should be included in the DSM. These groups meet a number of times so that they can say that their agreement about a certain diagnosis is reliable. Thus they could reliably agree that there is a mental disorder called Guardian Readers’ Personality Disorder with the symptoms of a need to read this paper regularly, an overvaluation of the Guardian, and so on. Who knows, it might already be in the most recent version of the DSM.
Is anyone normal anymore? An updated edition of the medical reference doctors use to diagnose mental illnesses could include a range of brand-new disorders, including some that describe thought patterns and behaviors that have long been considered mere quirks or examples of eccentric behavior.
Diagnosing psychiatric illness has always been controversial, mental health experts say. Now some are worried that a new draft of the diagnostic ‘bible’ for mental health medicine could result in almost everyone being diagnosed with a mental condition. The diagnostic ‘bible’ in question is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association.