Not only did the DSM become the bible of psychiatry, but like the real Bible, it depended a lot on something akin to revelation. There are no citations of scientific studies to support its decisions. That is an astonishing omission, because in all medical publications, whether journal articles or textbooks, statements of fact are supposed to be supported by citations of published scientific studies. (There are four separate “sourcebooks” for the current edition of the DSM that present the rationale for some decisions, along with references, but that is not the same thing as specific references.) It may be of much interest for a group of experts to get together and offer their opinions, but unless these opinions can be buttressed by evidence, they do not warrant the extraordinary deference shown to the DSM. The DSM-III was supplanted by the DSM-III-R in 1987, the DSM-IV in 1994, and the current version, the DSM-IV-TR (text revised) in 2000, which contains 365 diagnoses. “With each subsequent edition,” writes Daniel Carlat in his absorbing book, “the number of diagnostic categories multiplied, and the books became larger and more expensive. Each became a best seller for the APA, and DSM is now one of the major sources of income for the organization.” The DSM-IV sold over a million copies.
(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.
Some of the most acrimonious arguments stem from worries about the pharmaceutical industry’s influence over psychiatry. This has led to the spotlight being turned on the financial ties of those in charge of revising the manual, and has made any diagnostic changes that could expand the use of drugs especially controversial.