Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Stop the Insanity petition on DSM-5

An article in the Canadian magazine Maclean's looks at the controversy over the publication of the American Psychiatric Association's "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (DSM-5):
Every parent of a preteen has been there: on the receiving end of sullen responses, bursts of frustration or anger, even public tantrums that summon the fear that Children’s Aid is on its way. Come late May, with the publication of ... DSM-5, however, such sustained cranky behaviour could put your child at risk of a diagnosis of “disruptive mood dysregulation disorder.” This newly minted condition will afflict children between 6 and 12 who exhibit persistent irritability and “frequent” outbursts, defined as three or more times a week for more than a year. Its original name, “temper dysregulation disorder with dysphoria,” was nixed after it garnered criticism it pathologized “temper tantrums,” a normal childhood occurrence. Others argue that even with the name change the new definition and diagnosis could do just that. 
“Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder” isn’t the only new condition under scrutiny in the reference manual owned and produced by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) - and lauded as psychiatry’s bible. Even though the final version of DSM-5 remains under embargo, its message is being decried in some quarters as blasphemous. Its various public drafts, the third published last year, have stoked international outrage - and a flurry of op-ed columns, studies, blogs and petitions.
Today came news that a group of British mental health professionals has joined this throng by issued a statement of concern about the reliability, validity, and safety of DSM-5.

The concerns they list are that DSM-5:
  • includes many diagnostic categories with questionable reliability, which may lead to misleading assumptions about their scientific validity;
  • did not receive a much-needed and widely requested external scientific review; 
  • may compromise patient safety through the implementation of lowered diagnostic thresholds and the introduction of new diagnostic categories that do not have sufficient empirical backing; 
  • may result in the mislabelling of mental illness in people who would fare better without a psychiatric diagnosis; may result in unnecessary and potentially harmful treatment, particularly with psychiatric medication; 
  • may divert precious mental health resources away from those who most need them.
The Stop the Insanity website also has a petition calling on clinicians, researchers, journal editors, healthcare planners, managers and commissioners, the pharmaceutical industry and the media to avoid use of DSM-5 wherever possible until these concerns have been resolved.

This new campaign was reported in The Times (paywall) this morning under the headline "Psychiatrists to fight new list of mental illnesses", even though most of the signatories appear to be psychologists.

Later. They have now changed the headline on the website to reflect this.

No comments: