Intermittent Explosive Disorder: The ‘Illness’ That Goes On Growing

August 4, 2015

According to the APA, intermittent explosive disorder is characterized by angry aggressive outbursts that occur in response to relatively minor provocation. This particular label has an interesting history in successive editions of the DSM. DSM I  (1952)  Intermittent explosive disorder does not appear as such in the first edition of DSM, but the general concept […]

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Justina Pelletier: The Case Continues

April 4, 2014

On March 25, Joseph Johnston, Juvenile Court Justice in Boston, Massachusetts, issued a disposition order in the case: Care and protection of Justina Pelletier.  The background to the case is well-known.  Justina is 15 years old. Judge Johnston did not return Justina to the care of her parents, but instead granted permanent custody to the […]

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DSM-5: Dimensionality: Conflicts of Interest

January 25, 2014

In DSM-5 – Dimensional Diagnoses – More Conflicts of Interest? which I posted on December 23, 2013, I drew attention to the fact that David Kupfer, MD, in his position as head of the DSM-5 Task Force, was vigorously promoting a dimensional model of assessment while at the same time was positioning himself to benefit […]

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Evaluating DSM-5: A Debate at Harvard

January 16, 2014

There’s a debate on this topic scheduled for 12:00 p.m., March 11, 2014, at Wasserstein Hall, Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The event is free, and open to the public. The debate is sponsored by the Petrie-Flom Center For Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School.  This is the same group that produced the recent […]

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Affluenza: A New Mental Illness?

January 10, 2014

A short editorial piece by James Bradshaw in the current issue (Jan/Feb) of the National Psychologist discusses the trial of a 16-year-old male who killed four people and severely injured two others while driving under the influence of Valium (diazepam) and alcohol.  He had stolen the alcohol from a store earlier, and his blood alcohol […]

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A Compelling Critique of Psychiatric ‘Diagnosis’

December 30, 2013

I have just read a very interesting and insightful article on this topic.  It’s called After DSM-5: A Critical Mental Health Research Agenda for the 21st Century.  It was written by Jeffrey Lacasse, PhD, and is a guest editorial published in Research on Social Work Practice. Here are some quotes: “At times, it has seemed […]

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DSM-5 – Dimensional Diagnoses – More Conflicts of Interest?

December 23, 2013

BACKGROUND On November 20, JAMA Psychiatry (formerly Archives of General Psychiatry) published an interesting letter.  It was headed: Failure to Report Financial Disclosure Information,  and was signed by Robert D. Gibbons PhD, David J Weiss PhD, Paul A. Pilkonis PhD, Ellen Frank, PhD , and David J. Kupfer MD. The letter is an apology for […]

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The Allen Frances – Lucy Johnstone Debate

November 1, 2013

On October 28, Allen Frances, MD, Chairperson of the DSM-IV task force, published an article on Psychology Today.  It is titled Does It Make Sense To Scrap Psychiatric Diagnosis? and is essentially a response to the British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology’s (DCP) call to abandon the medical model in situations where it is […]

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DSM-5: How to Salvage a Shipwreck

June 26, 2013

DSM-5 was published on May 18, 2013, amidst great criticism.  The fundamental criticism was, and is, that the problems listed in the manual are not illnesses in any ordinary sense of the term.  Other critics focused on the pathologizing of normality, the expansion of the diagnostic net by the lowering of thresholds, and the lack […]

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Psychiatry Still Doesn’t Get It

June 21, 2013

BACKGROUND On 3-4 June, the Institute of Psychiatry in London hosted an international conference to mark the publication of DSM-5.  On June 10, Sir Simon Wessely, a department head at the Institute, published a paper called DSM-5 at the IoP.  The paper is a summary of the conference proceedings, and also, in many respects, a […]

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Autism Prevalence Increase Questioned

June 15, 2013

BACKGROUND A couple of days ago (June 12) I posted Autism Prevalence Increasing.  The article drew attention to a post by Kelly Brogan, MD, called See No Evil, Hear No Evil which had appeared on Mad in America on June 9.  Dr. Brogan’s article had cited an alarming increase in the incidence of autism over […]

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Autism Prevalence Increasing

June 12, 2013

On two occasions in the past week or so, I have been involved in discussions on the increasing prevalence of autism.  In the more recent of these, the individual with whom I was talking expressed the concern that the recent DSM enlargement of autism disorder to autism spectrum disorder might be an APA-pharma designed artifact […]

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Psychiatry Is Not Based On Science

June 1, 2013

On May 27, David Brooks, a New York Times columnist, wrote a piece on psychiatry called Heroes of Uncertainty. It’s an interesting and somewhat contradictory article.  Here are some quotes: “As the handbook’s [DSM-5] many critics have noted, psychiatrists use terms like ‘mental disorder’ and ‘normal behavior,’ but there is no agreement on what these […]

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An Attempt to Defend DSM-5

May 28, 2013

BACKGROUND On 19 April, The Conversation ran an article titled Mental disorders: debunking some myths of the DSM-5, by Perminder Sachdev, MD.  Dr. Sachdev is a psychiatrist, and was a member of the DSM-5’s Neurocognitive Disorders Work Group.  He works at the School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Australia.  (Thanks to Dave Traxson […]

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The Psychiatric Side-shuffle Continues

May 24, 2013

Joel Paris, MD, is an eminent psychiatrist, and is also a Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University in Montréal.  He has recently written a very timely book titled: The Intelligent Clinician’s Guide to the DSM-5, published by Oxford University Press. I have placed an order for this book through our local inter-library loan system, and […]

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The Empire Still Fighting Back: Dr. Lieberman

May 22, 2013

Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, is president-elect of the APA, and is scheduled to take over the reins from Dr. Dilip Jeste this month.  Never in its history has the APA been subject to such scrutiny or criticism from such diverse sources, and one might reasonably have expected Dr. Lieberman to open on a conciliatory note, promising […]

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Live Video Chat: DSM-5

May 21, 2013

Today I received the following email from Emily Underwood, a reporter with Science Magazine. I am a reporter with Science magazine — after reading your Twitter feed and blog I thought you might be interested in a live video chat I’m hosting this week on the controversy surrounding the DSM V. My guests are Allen Frances of Duke […]

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DSM-5 Still Under Fire

May 18, 2013

Mental Health Europe (MHE) is a non-governmental organization “… committed to the promotion of positive mental health and well-being, the prevention of mental health problems, the improvement of care, advocacy for social inclusion and the protection of the human rights of (ex)users of mental health services and their families and carers.”  It is composed of […]

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The Problem with DSM

May 17, 2013

There’s an interesting article in the NY Times Sunday review.  You can see it here.  It was written by Sally Satel MD, a psychiatrist, currently a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. The article is called:  “Why the Fuss Over the DSM-5?”  Dr. Satel’s central point is that psychiatrists only treat symptoms anyway and […]

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Separation Anxiety Disorder: Now Also for Adults

April 22, 2013

BACKGROUND The “diagnosis” of separation anxiety disorder has been around since DSM-III.  In DSM-IV it is defined as “…excessive anxiety concerning separation from the home or from those to whom the person is attached.”  (DSM-IV-TR p 121).  The APA’s prevalence estimate is 4%. This “diagnosis” is listed under the heading: “Other Disorders of Infancy, Childhood, […]

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Psychiatry is a Lost Cause

April 20, 2013

It is easy to vilify psychiatrists.  Their spurious conceptual framework, toxic “treatments’ and blatantly corrupt links to pharma make them easy targets.  Their destructive activities, to which they resolutely cling, invite criticism which they steadfastly ignore.  Any thoughts that perhaps they had seen the errors of their ways have been dashed by the soon-to-be published […]

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The Bereavement Exclusion and DSM-5

April 16, 2013

In DSM-IV, a “diagnosis” of major depressive disorder is based on the presence of a major depressive episode. A major depressive episode, in turn, is defined by the presence of five or more items from the following list during a two-week period: (1) depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by […]

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Another Blood Test for Depression

April 13, 2013

Today, courtesy of Talla Trialogue on Twitter, I have read an article by Shari Roan called Blood Test for Depression Proves It’s Not All In Your Head.  You can see it here. The article appears to be an interview with Lonna Williams, the CEO of Ridge Diagnostics.  This company is reportedly introducing a blood test […]

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Psychiatric Spin

April 10, 2013

BACKGROUND A couple of weeks ago (March 23), the New York Times did a feature on “Defining Mental Illness.”  They invited Ronald Pies, MD (a psychiatry professor at SUNY Upstate Medical University and Tufts University) to submit a brief paper on this topic.  Various people with opposing views were allowed to respond, and finally Dr. […]

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Somatic Symptom Disorder in DSM-5: You’re Crazy to Worry about Your Health

April 9, 2013

In DSM-IV, there is a category called Somatoform Disorders, the common feature of which is a preoccupation with “… physical symptoms that suggest a general medical condition …and are not fully explained by a general medical condition…” Four of the “diagnoses” in this category will be retired in DSM-5 and will be replaced by a […]

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In DSM-5, A-D-H-D Still Spells Misbehavior

April 4, 2013

It is a central theme of this website that there are no mental illnesses/disorders, and that the psychiatric medicalization of ordinary human problems is arbitrary, spurious, and destructive. The widespread acceptance of ADHD as a mental illness/chemical imbalance has no scientific underpinning, but rather is based on marketing and promotion.  The ADHD “diagnosis” is particularly […]

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DSM-5 Inter-Rater Reliability is Low

March 30, 2013

BACKGROUND There’s an article by Jack Carney, DSW, on this topic on Mad in America.  Jack refers to the DSM-5 field trials published earlier this year in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Inter-rater reliability is measured by a statistic called a kappa score.  A score of 1 means perfect inter-rater agreement; a score of 0 […]

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Petition on Psychiatric “Diagnoses”

March 26, 2013

There’s an interesting new article by Paula Caplan here.  It discusses the harmful effects of psychiatric “diagnoses,” including the fact that because of these labels, people have lost their “… jobs, custody of children, health insurance, and the right to make decisions about their medical and legal affairs.” Paula also mentions a petition she created […]

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The International DSM-5 Response Committee

March 25, 2013

BACKGROUND I recently wrote a post called DSM-5: Another Step in the Wrong Direction.  In that article I argued that DSM-5 was simply another step in the APA’s ongoing agenda to medicalize all human problems and to legitimize the administration of drugs as the front line “solution” to these problems. I also expressed concern that […]

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DSM-5: Another Step in the Wrong Direction

March 16, 2013

It’s widely known that the initial drafts of DSM-5 received a great deal of negative comment.  It’s also known that some of the more controversial proposals have been scrapped, but that others have been retained and sent for printing. All of this was fairly predictable.  The APA’s agenda is to widen the “diagnostic” net to […]

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Psychiatry – the Pseudoscience

February 21, 2013

As most readers of this website are aware, there is a great deal of resistance to the soon-to-be-released DSM-5.  There is even a Boycott DSM-5 Committee established by Jack Carney, and many people are suggesting that practitioners use the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) International Classification of Diseases (ICD) instead. In the general context of this […]

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Steven Novella M.D. and Mental Illness Denial

February 20, 2013

Recently Nick Stuart, a regular commenter on this website, drew my attention to Dr. Steven Novella.  Dr. Novella is a strong supporter of the standard psychiatric system, and routinely refers to those of us who challenge these concepts as “mental illness deniers.”(Mental Illness Denial Part I) Nick referred me to some of Dr. Novella’s articles, […]

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Criticism of DSM-5

February 15, 2013

Christopher Lane, author of Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness, has a new post, in which he attacks the APA for including somatic symptom disorder (SSD) in the upcoming DSM-5. Dr. Lane quotes from Allen Francis (former DSM guru who has now seen the light) and Suzy Chapman, a UK health advocate.  Both of […]

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Childhood Bipolar Disorder

January 25, 2013

Prior to about 1994, childhood bipolar disorder was virtually unheard of.  DSM-III-R (1987), in the section on manic episode, states, “…studies indicate that the mean age at onset is in the early 20s.  However…a sizable number of new cases appear after age 50.”(p 216)  Of course a mean age of onset in the early 20’s […]

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DSM-5: More of the Same – Turf Expansion

December 9, 2012

Until now, I’ve pretty much steered clear of DSM-5.  My reason for this is that the upcoming revision represents, to my mind, a distraction from the central issue, i.e., that the whole notion of mental illness is spurious, destructive nonsense. My position is that the purpose of DSM is to expand psychiatric turf and to legitimize […]

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More Cracks in the Sandcastle

May 14, 2012

Christopher Lane has a post up on Psychology Today (May 14 2012) called:  DSM-5 Is Diagnosed, With a Stinging Rebuke to the APA. About a year ago, the APA announced the new “diagnoses” that they proposed to include in the upcoming DSM-5.  This kind of expansion is nothing new.  The APA has been engaged in […]

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Too Much Sex?

May 14, 2012

Christopher Lane recently published an interesting article on Psychology Today. The article covers a number of topics, including the APA’s proposal to include “hypersexual disorder” in the upcoming DSM-5.  The implications of this proposed “diagnosis” are that if you think about sex too much or engage in sexual activity too much, then you have a […]

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March 21, 2012

Yesterday I received the following email from a reader. “What’s your stance on eccentricity? How do you relate to the general view in the APA that deviation from cultural norms is pathological? And, have you ever read about David Weeks? I consider myself an eccentric person with many quirks and some fetishes. While I have […]

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“Normal” Bereavement

March 13, 2012

There was a nice article in the Lancet last month.  The article posed the question: “When should grief be classified as a mental illness?” The author criticized the APA’s draft version of DSM-5 for blurring the distinction and for making it more likely that people in bereavement will be “diagnosed” as depressed and, of course, […]

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What’s New? APA Threats, Xanax, Etc.

January 23, 2012

Daniel Carlat’s blog carries an interesting item.  It seems that a lady named Suzy Chapman started a site called dsm5watch, in which she expressed criticism of the DSM.  Well, the APA didn’t like this and sent her a cease and desist letter, claiming that the string “DSM-5” is trademarked, and that she was infringing their […]

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