Posts Tagged ‘DSM-5’

I am but a prisoner of my genes

January 20, 2014

I’d like to fly but but my genes don’t agree

And they determine how tall I will be,

I am but a lowly prisoner of my genes,

My apparent freedom is not quite what it seems.

But thanks to my genes I’m not a chimpanzee.

All abnormal behaviour is illness, says DSM-five,

Just following precisely what our genes do contrive.

Our genomes hold us tightly captive,

As slaves in their battle to survive,

So it matters not how much we strive.

Shamans versus the witch-doctors: psychologists attack the psychiatrists

May 12, 2013

I have the clear perception that psychiatry has gone too far in trying to attribute all kinds of behaviour to being disabilities. The very influential American Psychiatry Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5 is soon to be released and even describes grief and temper tantrums as disabilities and yet will no longer recognise Asperger’s! And the psychiatrists have the fundamental concept that all such disabilities are susceptible to medication.

Equally, while I recognise the importance of human psychology as a discipline I am less than impressed by the psychology and behaviour of psychologists and especially the academic gyrations of social psychologists.

So this headline in today’s Guardian conjures up images of a pitched battle between shamans and witch-doctors. I distinguish here between shamans who rely on various secret “medicines” to cure the afflicted, while the witch-doctors are the ones who engage in secret rites to free the patients from the spirits who are haunting them. I suppose in this analogy that the psychiatrists are the shamans and the psychologists are the witch-doctors. But the bottom line of course seems to be that psychologists wantb to adjust behaviour by adjusting other behaviour, and they feel threatened by the psychiatrists’ concept that all unwanted behaviour can be medicated away. The pharmaceutical industry – needless to say – tends to support the psychiatrists (what else?).

The GuardianPsychiatrists under fire in mental health battle

British Psychological Society to launch attack on rival profession, casting doubt on biomedical model of mental illness.

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 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.

Dr. Lucy Johnstone, a consultant clinical psychologist who helped draw up the DCP’s statement, said it was unhelpful to see mental health issues as illnesses with biological causes.

“On the contrary, there is now overwhelming evidence that people break down as a result of a complex mix of social and psychological circumstances – bereavement and loss, poverty and discrimination, trauma and abuse,” Johnstone said. The provocative statement by the DCP has been timed to come out shortly before the release of DSM-5, the fifth edition of the American Psychiatry Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. ….

…… The writer Oliver James, who trained as a clinical psychologist, welcomed the DCP’s decision to speak out against psychiatric diagnosis and stressed the need to move away from a biomedical model of mental distress to one that examined societal and personal factors.

Writing in today’s Observer, James declares: “We need fundamental changes in how our society is organised to give parents the best chance of meeting the needs of children and to prevent the amount of adult adversity.”

But Professor Sir Simon Wessely, a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and chair of psychological medicine at King’s College London, said it was wrong to suggest psychiatry was focused only on the biological causes of mental distress. And in an accompanying Observerarticle he defends the need to create classification systems for mental disorder.

“A classification system is like a map,” Wessely explains. “And just as any map is only provisional, ready to be changed as the landscape changes, so does classification.”

Aspberger’s syndrome is no longer an ailment

December 2, 2012

Sometimes I think that for psychiatry and psychiatrists, all behaviour is abnormal. Of course there is a vested financial interest for the discipline – which is a long way from being a science – to include as many behavioural conditions as possible within the definition of what is an ailment. In many countries it becomes of great benefit for the “patient” to be formally acknowledged to be suffering from an “ailment”. It can trigger insurance payments and be the qualification for financial and clinical support. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders produced by the American Psychiatric Association is the most influential standard for diagnosis in the US and is extensively used world-wide. Currently  the 4th edition is in use (DSM IV) and the 5th edition, DSM V,  is scheduled for release in May 2013. The debates and arguments about what is to be included or removed from DSM V is reminiscent of political lobbying!

I have the perception that far more behavioural conditions are included as “ailments” than should be. In that sense psychiatry causes more illness than it cures! The APA invites ridicule when it indulges in (Slate), 


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