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Is Psychiatry’s Bible Flawed?

Posted Mar 18 2010 6:05am
Open Bible

Is there something inherently wrong with the DSM ? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is the therapist’s guide for diagnosing mental ailments – it’s a useful, but bloated mental problems directory.

Some people think that mental disorders don’t exist, and that some people are just misunderstood. Well, I don’t buy that line of thought.

The reality is that some people do have mental problems, and they are different, but not because they’re a little kookie or  eccentric. They have serious underlying genetic, or other issues, that keep them the way they are.

The DSM’s job is to help therapists classify the various kinds of mental problems, so practicioners know how to treat different problems.

That sounds great, but has the DSM gone overboard? I’d say just a tad. Have you ever heard of Temper Dysregulation Disorder ? Yeah, me either.

And come to think of it, what of all the various anxiety disorders? There is social anxiety disorder , panic disorder , OCD , agoraphobia , and general anxiety disorder . But what happened to good ole  Neurotic ?

Granted, some people do display different symptoms, or at least lean more toward a certain set of symptoms, than others in the same group. However, I think people are being over diagnosed and being labeled with too many tags.

One argument is that this is done to sell more drugs. This is because if a new disorder is identified, then it’s thought that drug companies can market old drugs for “new” conditions.

And there is also the fact that many of the drugs used to treat the plethora of anxiety disorders and other mental ailments are helped or corrected by the same drugs – like antidepressants for example. What does that say?

And let’s not forget that by creating more conditions “they” are also putting more people into the pool. More sick people could mean more sales.

But, again, something like the DSM is necessary. After-all, a codified diagnostics manual is a must in any self-respecting, scientifically based profession of healing.

Maybe psychiatry is trying too hard to create new diagnoses and not hard enough trying to find solutions for the old ones.

In the next incarnation of the DSM – the DSM-V – they have proposed new diagnoses like Negativistic (passive aggressive) personality disorder, Relational disorder, and you’ll love this one, Sluggish Cognitive Tempo.

If you can make up a diagnosis like passive aggressive disorder then we have a problem. Seriously, some people are just jerks and not necessarily disordered.

I admit that with anxiety disorders many of the sub-disorders are unique and real, even if they are all treated the same. But this whole business of going off and creating new disorders from thin air is somewhat disturbing.

What do you think?


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