"Mental Disorders" in a Handy Desk Reference for Psychiatrists
The DSM IV (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, volume 4) is the latest and current version of the standard handbook of "mental illnesses" as determined by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). What comes into question with this manual is the manner and method by which these supposed mental illnesses are determined and by whom. Using the DSM IV, a psychiatrist need only label the patient with a "mental disorder", prescribe him a drug and bill the patient's insurance or Medicaid. The psychiatrist with the DSM in hand can try various labels on the patient as if they were different sizes of apparel until he finds one that either fits the patient's symptoms or comes close enough to allow him to bill the patient's insurance. The question is: Do any of these "disorders" or "mental illnesses" actually exist? Does the DSM have any relationship to a patient's actual condition or is it a convenient and simplistic method of compartmentalizing symptoms without actually working to isolate the true cause of the patient's real problems.
Paul Genova as associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont makes the following astounding remarks from "Dump the DSM!" in Psychiatric Times April 2003:
"The American Psychiatric Association's DSM diagnostic system has outlived its usefulness by about two decades. It should be abandoned, not revised. . . . it is time for the arbitrary, legalistic symptom checklists of the DSM to go. . .. The aggregate is an awkward, ponderous, off-putting beast that discredits and diminishes psychiatry and the insight of those who practice it." Consider the fact that your clinical practice is governed by a diagnostic system that:
• is a laughingstock for the other medical specialties;
• requires continual apologies to primary care doctors, medical students, residents, and the occasional lawyer or judge;
• most of our thoughtful colleagues privately rail against;
• insists upon rigid categories that often serve only to confuse and misinform patients and their clinical workers (sometimes abetted by televised drug advertising);
• is so intellectually incoherent as to raise eyebrows among the well-educated, critical thinkers in our own psychotherapy clientele;
• persuades the world at large that psychiatry no longer has anything of interest to say about the human condition.
If it were within your power to do so, wouldn't you get rid of this system?"
At this year's American Psychiatric Association's 2004 annual Convention a symposium was held on the topic "DSM-V Classification of Personality Disorders: The White Paper and Beyond"
Dr Thomas A. Widiger, Prof. of Psychology at the University of Kentucky was the first speaker. In his opening remarks, Professor Widiger said (translated into ordinary English) that since the introduction of labels for different mental illnesses (called syndromes), they have not been able to discover their cause; that no scientifically measurable test for these syndromes has been found and that studies of patients show they have more than one of these syndromes which contradicts any notion that the syndromes represent anything.
Here is the actual quote:
"In the more than 30 years since the introduction of the finer criteria ... to DSM III, the goal of validating these syndromes and discovering common etiologies has remained elusive. Despite many proposed candidates, not one laboratory marker has been found to be specific in identifying any of the DSM defined syndromes. Epidemiologic and clinical studies have shown extremely high rates of co-morbidity among the disorders undermining the hypothesis that the syndromes represent distinct etiologies.
Further translation: We invented it and now we can't prove it exists.
Paul McHugh, chairman of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, said of the profession's vaunted DSM:
"Diagnostic and Statistical Manual" (DSM) has "permitted groups of 'experts' with a bias to propose the existence of conditions without anything more than a definition and a checklist of symptoms. This is just how witches used to be identified." As quoted by John Cloud in Time magazine's annual 2003 health issue.
Psychiatrist Ron Leifer describes the illogical, idiotic life he was forced to lead:
"Everyone is neurotic. I have no trouble giving out diagnoses. In my office I only see abnormal people. Out of my office, I see only normal people. It's up to me. It's just a joke. This is what I mean by this fraud, this arrogant fraud ... To make some kind of pretension that this is a scientific statement is ... damaging to the culture." - Ron Leifer, psychiatrist, quoted in Cloning of the American Mind, by Beverly Eakman, 1997
Psychiatrist Loren Mosher, resigned from the APA in disgust over the pushing of drugs and said in his letter of resignation,
"Finally, why must the APA pretend to know more than it does? DSM IV [the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Edition 4] is the fabrication upon which psychiatry seeks acceptance by medicine in general. Insiders know it is more a political than scientific document. ... It is the way to get paid." Loren R. Mosher, M. D., Former Chief of the Center for Studies of Schizophrenia, The National Institute of Mental Health, in his letter of resignation to the APA.
A further point often missed even by critics is that the diagnoses are cooked up and voted on by the members of the APA.
"Only in psychiatry is the existence of physical disease determined by APA presidential proclamations, by committee decisions, and even, by a vote of the members of APA, not to mention the courts". - Peter Breggin, Toxic Psychiatry
The bottom line is there is no science behind the mental illnesses foisted upon the public. It is however a system that has benefitted the psychiatrist and the pharmaceuticals because the more mental illness the more drugs are prescribed. As University of Minnesota, Bioethicist, Carl Elliot said in 2001:
"The way to sell drugs is to sell psychiatric illness."