Bias in Psychiatric Diagnosis: Concerns about DSM-V

Mission: To provide information for people (including but not limited to professionals and journalists) about biases and other problems in psychiatric diagnosis, an especially important goal in light of the American Psychiatric Association's preparation for the 2013 publication of the next edition of the psychiatric diagnostic manual.

Note:  If anything is copied or otherwise used from this site, no changes may be made to those materials without permission from the Bias in Diagnosis contact person. 

From the AWP Implementation Collective, January 2011:
AWP has serious concerns about the kinds of bias and harm that pervade the enterprise of psychiatric diagnosis. We encourage people to utilize the resources provided here to speak out against politically motivated diagnostic categories that systematically disempower individuals, families, and communities

Coming Soon!  Critical issues in psychiatric diagnosis podcast. Interviews, history, activism, and more!

Read Paula J. Caplan's introduction:

Psychiatric Diagnosis: Too Little Science, Too Many Conflicts of Interest

Link to Bios for Group Members and Contributors
Contact:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




Please see this link for a letter from the President of the American Counseling Association regarding proposed draft revisions to the DSM V:  ACA letter to the Chair of the DSM-V Task Force - website about bias in psychiatric diagnosis, including stories about people harmed in a variety of ways by receiving such a diagnosis and six kinds of solutions to problems resulting from psychiatric labeling

                Read the "Science isn't Golden" blog here for recent info & and opinion.
             Topics include the lack of openness in DSM-5 process (firsthand report of a conference call Dr. Caplan was on with 
                   DSM-5 heads) and the pathologizing of war veterans, with many more topics in the coming weeks and months.

Key Articles by AWP Bias in Dx Committee Members

Anorexia Nervosa and the DSM

Borderline Personality Disorder: The Disparagement of Women through Diagnosis

Female Sexual Dysfunction Diagnoses

Gender Interrupted: Controversy and Concerns about Gender Identity Disorder (GID)

Should Obesity Be Called a Mental Illness?

Problems with Parental Alienation Syndrome

Racial Bias in Psychiatric Diagnosis

Serotonin Drug for Low Desire in Premenopausal Women

Social Class and Classism in Psychiatric Diagnosis

Links to Additional Articles

AWP member Lisa Cosgrove's important article on conflicts of interest due to DSM authors' ties to drug companies

War over Addiction:  Evaluating the DSM, by Stanton Peele, February 2010

Important New Scientist article about problems in the preparation for DSM-V (logon required)

Hagar Cohen's  piece about Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder and other labels related to the DSM on the ABC radio network in Australia

The Journal of Mental Health series of articles that include critiques of DSM-V
Near the top of each page the words "next article" will take you to the next article in the series.

NPR's Alix Spiegel pieces with critique of some DSM-V proposals, on grief, and "sex addiction"

A striking number of articles by the chief coordinators or other major figures of previous DSM editions have appeared and are composed of trenchant critiques of both previous editions and the process being used to prepare the forthcoming DSM-V.  Below is a partial list.  These critiques include both very specific, detailed concerns and sweeping, general ones. It is worth noting that most or all of the points the authors of the articles below are making have been made previously -- some as long ago as 1985 -- by early critics of psychiatric diagnosis, including but not limited to feminist ones. (See the book Bias in Psychiatric Diagnosis, an AWP project, for many of these critiques and references to many more.)

DSM-IV editor Allen Frances expresses serious concern that the manual's next edition will take psychiatry "off a cliff."

Letter to APA Trustees from Allen Frances and Robert Spitzer July 2009

Opening Pandora’s Box: The 19 Worst Suggestions For DSM5, by Allen Frances

It's Not too Late to Save Normal, LA Times article by Allen Frances

NY Times Opinion: Allen Frances, August, 2010

Former DSM editor critiques the current process on NPR

Psychiatric Times blog:  Couch in Crisis

Psychology Today blog:  Fads and Diagnosis

Psychology Today blog:  DSM in Distress

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