The DSM-5 and over-diagnosing in psychiatry

Here’s a link to a fellow blogspotter (Neuroskeptic) for a post titled “The New “Mood Disorder” That Isn’t One“.

The DSM is meant to help clinicians and researchers
be consistent with their diagnoses.
Photo: © Deddxey | 
Stock Free Images

The DSM, or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is a manual published by the American Psychiatric Association that helps mental health clinicians and researchers catergorise and diagnose mental disorders. It has a list of criteria and precise descriptions for each mental disorder, which can help everyone be consistent when they diagnose the disorders (how well each clinician or researcher actually does this is another matter).

The DSM is coming out with a new version soon called DSM-5. They have been working on this for a long time but there has already been a lot of criticism regarding the new categories and classifications. The blog post above discusses how a new disorder in the DSM-5, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, may be far too broad and labelling too many kids with a mental illness when they may actually be normal.

A recent guest blog on Scientific American by Hilda Bastian, titled ““Is Anybody Sane Here?” Said the Psychiatrist to the Journalists“, also questions if the new disorders are too broad. Perhaps it’s time to discuss if psychiatry may be over-diagnosing:

“Unless there are more changes, in the world of DSM-5, if a person can get out of childhood and adolescence without a mental illness label, it could be something of an achievement.”

What do you think? Are more and more people receiving diagnoses of mental illness simply because we are getting better at detecting them, which means more opportunity to get people the treatment they need? Or are we over-diagnosing mental disorders, and, with the new DSM-5, making it easier and easier for “normal” people to get a label of mental illness that perhaps they don’t need?


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