Critics of the DSM-5 Revision Process Draft Petition

The farsical DSM 5 revision debacle continues. The situation has grown even more comical than previously as members of the American Psychological Association have drafted a petition expressing alarm about some of the current prospective disease categories and calling for changes.

MedScape Medical News, repeating the need for tempering the blunders of the recent past, published a news piece on the matter bearing the heading, Petition Calls for Critical Changes to Upcoming DSM-5.

The disease making process behind the DSM was always very unscientific. This is what neither the American public nor the American Psychological Association seems to understand.

Allen Frances, one of the drafters of the DSM-IV, has become one of the most vocal critics, not opponents, of the process involved in the drafting of the DSM-5. What position he will take when the DSM-6 is being formulated is anyone’s guess.

Divisions of the American Psychological Association have created an online petition addressing “serious reservations” about the upcoming Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5). Launched October 22, the petition has already garnered more than 3000 signatures from mental health professionals, students, and organizations.

I, having serious reservations about the DSM-I, the DSM-II, the DSM-III, the DSM-IV, and the current revisions under review, am not one of the signatories.

One of the issues, although by no means the only issue, for the petitioners is the matter of attenuated psychosis syndrome, the linguistic loophole by which what was formerly referred to as psychosis risk syndrome gets back off the chopping block.

“There’s this idea that if you identify people early, somehow you’ll be able to prevent a full-blown psychosis or full-blown schizophrenia. But research has shown that only up to 20% to 30% of identified people actually went on to develop psychosis, meaning up to 70% or 80% of these people received treatment for a disorder they never ended up developing,” said [Fordham University doctorial candidate] Ms. [Sarah R.] Kamens.

This is not the only proposal these psychiatrists have made for increasing business, and for pushing pharmaceutical products. They also want to reduce the criteria needed to make a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder, and they want to reduce criteria needed to make a diagnoss of generalized anxiety disorder as well.

“We believe we have tapped into a growing frustration with the DSM-5 process. And the groundswell has been quite overwhelming. It’s important to realize, this is not some fringe group that is anti-DSM-5 or antipsychiatry in any way. It’s a group of all kinds of professionals.”

Minor objections to this document are okay, professionals make them; major objections, on the other hand, are made by members of fringe groups. Maybe we need to ship a few more people off to Guantanamo Bay, huh? Assuming they are amateurs, of course.

Unfortunately, once this DSM-5 becomes psychiatric gospel in 2013, the debate will probably die down until we reach the debate on the revisions for the DSM-6. These dead sea scrolls we leave to some archeologist from the post-psychiatric distant future. “Why post-psychiatric”, you may ask? Well, for starters, our very survival is at stake. As you may have noticed, the creeping medicalization of society is now beginning to creep at a cheetah’s pace.