Clinician's Digest II


Will DSM Survive?

July/August 2013


The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the “bible” of mental health, originally was intended to bring order to the chaos of classifying mental disorders. Its underlying purpose was to give psychiatrists and other mental health professionals a common language and perspective for discussing clients’ presenting problems. But with the publication of DSM-5 this year, an unprecedented number of critics are making the venerable DSM seem more like the Tower of Babel, in danger of crashing down under its own weight and what they claim is its fundamentally flawed architecture.

Many critics, including psychiatrist Allen Frances, one of the prime movers of DSM-IV, are urging therapists not to buy the book, pointing to other free sources for insurance coding. Frances has been relentlessly criticizing the new edition through blogs, articles, and email blasts. “DSM-5 is recklessly disorganized and makes the fallacious claim that its decisions are science based,” he says.

In the early 1950s, three different classification systems for mental disorders existed, emanating from the Veterans Administration, the Armed Forces, and a coalition of the major medical associations in the United States, which issued the Standard Classified Nomenclature of Disease. Each system reflected the relatively limited concerns of its own clinician and client populations. Then, in 1952, the…

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1 Comment

Thursday, July 18, 2013 9:13:54 PM | posted by Lynn McIntyre
succinct, useful

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