Friday, 20 June 2014

What the heck is DSM5 and why should I care?

DSM5 stands for "Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental  Disorders 5".
             You should care about it because whether you are deemed to be normal or a nut case may depend on what it has to say. 
             "So who authorizes this?" you may ask.
              The American Psychiatric  Association.
             Well, who would use this catalog that was last updated by  the APA in 2013  and has 947 pages and over 300 psychiatric diagnoses?
              Your Lawyer, your Insurance Company, Your Doctor for instance, not to mention your psychiatrist.
               First published in 1952 (DSM1), it was 130 pages long and listed 106 mental  disorders, so as you can see, we are a lot crazier in 2013, even though a number of the diagnoses in DSM4 have been removed!
               The DSM was originally published as a text to help physicians diagnose the myriad presumed pyschiatric  signs and symptoms but has now become the basic criterion for decision making in the insurance, legal  and governmental  arenas.   It was supposed to help define that fine line between  normal life reactions and mental disease, like when does normal grief at losing a loved one become a psychiatric illness.  It has become increasingly difficult to determine where normalcy ends and disease begins.  When  should  we put a very active child into the abnormal group and put him/her on medications that themselves may effect their delicate brains.  Experts in  the field cannot resolve this dilemma but it is sufficiently critical  for the criticism of the most recent DSM to have resulted in a petition by 13000 mental  health care workers sponsored by mental health organizations which called for an independent outside review of the document.
              Follow my blog for further discussion in  the coming weeks and post your comments.

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