I came across an interesting article the other day.
It Is Time to Rename the DSM, by Bruce A. Thyer, PhD, Florida State University, Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, Vol 8, No. 1, Spring 2006
Dr. Thyer points out that although the DSM claims to be atheoretical, its contention that the various “mental illnesses” reside within the individual, as opposed, for instance, to being understandable reactions to adverse life events, is in itself a theoretical stance.
Dr. Thyer also points out that in the manual’s description of conduct disorder there is a little known (and in my experience even less used) caveat to the effect that this so-called diagnosis should not be assigned if the misbehavior is “…simply a reaction to the immediate social context.” This is laudable, of course, on the part of the APA, but Dr. Thyer goes on to pose the obvious question: Why is this exclusion not applied to all the conditions listed? He then answers his own question: Because “…if this practice was followed, the very concept of mental disorders threatens to evaporate, in favor of viewing these as environmentally driven phenomena.”
So, there it is – an important article on a very important topic. It’s six years old. I don’t know why I hadn’t found it earlier. I encourage you to read it.