The New DSM-5

The New DSM-5

When the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) hits the stores on May 22nd, it will extend the reach of psychiatry further into daily life, making many more of us eligible for psychiatric diagnoses and thus for even more psychotropic drugs than we are already taking as a nation. More than ten per cent of American adults already take antidepressants, for example.

Gary Greenberg says on The New Yorker blog April 9, “Psychiatry has already reached far into our daily lives, and it’s not by virtue of the particulars of any given D.S.M. It’s because the A.P.A., a private guild, one with extensive ties to the drug industry, owns the naming rights to our pain. That so significant a public trust is in private hands, and on such questionable grounds, is what we ought to worry about.”

Greenberg’s account of the history behind the DSM and the deeply flawed process by which the DSM-5 has been revised is told in his new book, The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry.

120 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with mental disorders and placed on psychiatric drugs as “treatment.” And while people are led to believe a diagnosis of mental illness or having a mental disorder is based on medical evidence or tests that these disorders are legitimate medical conditions, the fact is they are simply based on checklists of behaviors. People are also convinced that the only solution for treating problems of emotion, mood or behavior for themselves or their child, is drug treatment.

The truth is, there are no medical or scientific tests that can prove mental disorders are medical conditions. Psychiatric diagnosis is based solely on opinion. Unlike medical disease, where tests can verify the existence of a medical condition (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.) psychiatric diagnoses are based solely on checklists of behaviors, not on any medical tests.

People can and do experience depression, anxiety and sadness, children do act out or misbehave, and some people can indeed become irrational or psychotic. This doesn’t make them “diseased.” There are non-psychiatric, non-drug solutions for people experiencing mental difficulty, there are non-harmful medical alternatives.

Safe and effective medical treatments for mental difficulties are often kept buried. The fact is, there are many medical conditions that when undetected and untreated can appear as psychiatric “symptoms.” The psychiatric pharmaceutical industry is making a killing — $84 billion per year — based on people being labeled with mental disorders that are not founded on science or medicine, but on marketing campaigns designed to sell drugs.

The larger problem is that the biological drug model (based on bogus mental disorders) is a disease marketing campaign which prevents governments from funding real medical solutions for people experiencing difficulty. There is a great deal of evidence that medical conditions can manifest as psychiatric symptoms, and that there are non-harmful medical treatments that do not receive government funding because the psychiatric/pharmaceutical industry spends billions of dollars on advertising and lobbying efforts to counter any medical modality that does not support their biological drug model of mental disorders as a disease.

Because the general public has been so misled by the psychiatric and pharmaceutical industries about the actual dangers of psychotropic drugs, CCHR has created the psychiatric drug side effects search engine. Visit it to Get the Facts. Fight Back.

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