DSM Shortcomings

DSM Shortcomings

The DSM (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is in the news again. This time Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the government agency that finances mental health research, “has just declared that the most important diagnostic manual for psychiatric diseases lacks scientific validity and needs to be bolstered by a new classification system based on biology, not just psychiatric opinion.” [Quotes here are from a New York Times editorial on May 11, 2013]

The editorial goes on to say, “The psychiatric association’s diagnoses are mostly based on a professional consensus about what clusters of symptoms are associated with a disease, like depression, and not on any objective laboratory measure, like blood counts or other biological markers.”

Psychiatrists might like to base their practice on biology instead of opinion; the thing is, “such a biology-based system will not be available for a decade or more.” If ever.

The truth is, the disorder / disease model psychiatrists use with the DSM has no basis in fact. These are not diseases, they are symptoms of a person’s physical, emotional, or spiritual trauma. They cannot be fixed with psychiatric drugs; they can, however, be healed if the real problems are actually found and fixed. Many, if not a majority, of these problems can be traced back to legitimate medical causes with known medical solutions.

NIMH director Insel doesn’t mention it himself, but one bets that his DSM decision is related to the White House’s Brain Initiative, to be given $100 million next year for brain research.

Read more about Insel rejecting the DSM here.

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. Read more about this here.

[Quotes following are from Psychology Today magazine, May 4, 2013]

“Just two weeks before DSM-5 is due to appear, the National Institute of Mental Health, the world’s largest funding agency for research into mental health, has indicated that it is withdrawing support for the manual.”

Insel “made clear the agency would no longer fund research projects that rely exclusively on DSM criteria. Henceforth, the NIMH, which had thrown its weight and funding behind earlier editions of the manual, would be ‘re-orienting its research away from DSM categories'”, explaining that the weakness of the manual is its lack of validity.

“The agency’s overwhelming focus is to remain on the brain as the alleged seat and cause of psychiatric suffering.”

Of course, you see the problem here. While we applaud the NIMH for rejecting the DSM, you can see clearly that they still believe that the brain is the cause of these symptoms; which we take to mean that they are just hoping that $100 million dollars worth of brain research produces more psychiatric drugs, which cannot and never will heal the real physical, emotional or spiritual causes of mental trauma.

And now the British Psychological Society is getting their nerve up to join the fray. The UK Guardian on May 11 had this to say:

“There is no scientific evidence that psychiatric diagnoses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are valid or useful, according to the leading body representing Britain’s clinical psychologists.

“In a groundbreaking move that has already prompted a fierce backlash from psychiatrists, the British Psychological Society’s division of clinical psychology (DCP) will on Monday [May 13] issue a statement declaring that, given the lack of evidence, it is time for a ‘paradigm shift’ in how the issues of mental health are understood. The statement effectively casts doubt on psychiatry’s predominantly biomedical model of mental distress – the idea that people are suffering from illnesses that are treatable by doctors using drugs. The DCP said its decision to speak out ‘reflects fundamental concerns about the development, personal impact and core assumptions of the (diagnosis) systems’, used by psychiatry.”

You, too, can get your nerve up to speak out. Contact your local, state and federal officials and let them know what you think.

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