Critics of Mental Health Disorder Manual Say Mental Illness Being Overdiagnosed
Critics of the soon-to-be-released updated manual used to identify mental illness, say it will expand the list of what constitutes mental illness and will lead to a needless increase in diagnoses, according to CNN.
A growing number of psychiatrists, psychologists and clinical social workers say depression and other normal responses to life events are too often labeled as mental illness, increasing the use of potentially dangerous medication, the article notes.
In late May, the American Psychiatric Association will publish the updated version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, known as the DSM-5. A group called the International DSM-5 Response Committee plans to launch a campaign designed to block the publication’s release.
Dr. Allen Frances, who led the task force that produced the DSM-IV in 2000, and is now spearheading efforts against the DSM-5, said the new version would incorrectly label one in four people who have chronic pain and irritable bowel syndrome as instead having the DSM-5′s newly created “somatic symptom disorder.” This is diagnosed when a person has spent at least six months thinking of and being anxious about their medical illness.
Detractors of the manual say some of its recommendations lack scientifically conclusive field testing. They note the manual does not consider the prior effectiveness or ineffectiveness of anti-psychotic medications when considering a patient’s current diagnosis. They also criticize the manual’s combining people with a spectrum of depressions into one group.
The DSM-5 will combine problem drinking and alcoholism into a single condition known as “alcohol use disorder.” A recent study suggests these changes may not improve the diagnosis of alcoholism.