Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pushing Back on the DSM’s Controversial Update

Controversy has always surrounded the DSM, which is used as a reference manual to categorize patients. Most famously, the ancient DSM-II had labeled homosexuality as a disorder till public reaction led to its removal in 1973. The circus around DSM-5 however has set a new standard for internecine discord: the lead editors of two previous editions stepped forward with a host of sharp-edged criticisms. Writing last week in Psychology Today, Allen Frances, chair of the DSM-IV task force, wrote that the approval of DMS-5 was “the saddest day” in his long career because it included “changes that seem clearly unsafe and scientifically unsound.” He and others lamented what they saw as the pathologization of every human quirk and itch, arguing that DSM had far overstepped its mandate. New diagnoses like binge-eating disorder and hoarding disorder in particular seem to drive many around the bend. more

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