Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The DSM-5 and its Discontents

A controversy has arisen over the draft of the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (called the DSM-5 for short). Of interest to the students and faculty in the Health Services Management Program as well as the Psychology Program, The DSM classifies mental disorders, its code numbers serving as a kind of numerical language between practitioners and insurance companies. A diagnosis classified in the DSM determines whether the insurance company will reimburse for medication.

The recent drafts of the DSM-5 have provoked a revolt among practitioners. David Elkins, professor emeritus at Pepperdine University and president of the Society for Humanistic Psychology, a division of the American Psychological Association, posted a petition online last October, which gathered over 3,000 signatures within three weeks. The the British Psychological Society posted an open letter to the DSM-5, detailing its objections. Allen Francis, the person who chaired the task force which produced the 4th edition of the DSM has compiled numerous blog posts documenting the reaction against the DSM-5 and voicing his objections to it in no uncertain terms. American Counseling Association president Don Locke wrote his own letter to the APA (link uncertain).

Critics of the draft contend that its new diagnoses will lead to over-medicating patients. For example, here's a quote from the British Psychological Society's letter: “clients and the general public are negatively affected by the continued and continuous medicalisation of their natural and normal responses to their experiences.”

If you are interested in investigating this issue further please feel free to ask the librarians in the University Library for assistance.

No comments: