In a move with implications for every American, the American Psychiatric Association’s new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders takes obfuscation and euphemistic language to a whole new level, calling temper tantrums “disruptive mood dysregulation disorder” and labeling grief “major depressive disorder.”
Overeating? That’s “binge eating disorder.” Are you forgetful? You can be treated for “mild neurocognitive disorder,” reports Ian Sample of the London Guardian.
The definitions are more than semantics, however, as the highly influential manual is referenced by clinicians, researchers, psychiatric drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, courts and lawmakers.
Based on the broadened definitions and categories, the new edition asserts that nearly half of all Americans will face a diagnosable mental illness at some point in their life. That’s up from fewer than 6 percent just eight years ago.
The sharp increase comes as the federal government begins to implement the government-controlled Obamacare system and Democrat lawmakers use mental health issues as a reason to curb gun rights.
Critics are expressing concern that the new edition of the manual could be insidiously used by government to label certain Americans with mental disorders as a pretext for curbing rights of all kinds.
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights International questions the validity, the science and even the intent of the manual, contending drug companies have a conflict of interest.
“While even key DSM contributors admit that there is no scientific/medical validity to the disorders, the DSM nonetheless serves as a diagnostic tool, not only for individual treatment, but also for child custody disputes, discrimination cases, court testimony, education and more,” the group said.
The DSM “is driven not by science, but instead caters to the pharmaceutical industry,” the commission contended.
“With its expanding list of ‘mental disorders’ – voted into existence, not discovered as in real medicine – for each of these a psychiatric drug can be prescribed and insurance companies billed,” the group said. “That big formula spells big profits for psychiatrists and drug companies. And this has been exposed more recently with a U.S. Senate Finance Committee investigation into the APA itself and the fact that about 56 percent of its $12 million-a-year income derives from drug makers.”
Numbers are telling. For example, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, about “72 percent of prescriptions for antidepressants are given without a diagnosis.”
Defenders of the Second Amendment see the grouping and labeling as a direct threat to their right to protect their families from tyranny.
Those who fit into groups already defined by the federal government say they are concerned that individuals will fear seeing a psychologist for any reason – even something mild – because the government could label them and pull their constitutional rights.
Carl Elliot, a bioethicist at the University of Minnesota, told the Citizens Commission that the issue isn’t complicated.
“The way to sell drugs is to sell psychiatric illness,” he said.
Kelly Patricia O’Mear, a former congressional staff member, agreed.
“Drug companies pull a mental disorder out of the DSM hat and get FDA approval to use an already existing drug to treat it. Well-known psychiatrists are enlisted to publicly affirm the disorder as a social problem. … Viola! Confirmed psychiatric ill and magic pill.”
The commission reported that the links already are in evidence. It cited a 2006 report in the Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics:
“Of the panel members that reviewed which disorders would be included in the fourth edition revision of DSM … more than half had undisclosed financial links to Big Pharma. For the so-called mood disorders (‘depression’ and ‘bipolar’) and ‘schizophrenia/psychotic disorder,’ 100 percent of the panel members had financial involvements with drug companies. Sales of the drugs prescribed for these (by virtue of their inclusion in the DSM) reach more than $80 billion worldwide.”
“Apparently the APA psychiatrists did not want to give up this cashcow. For the DSM-V revision, another study found that 18 of the 20 members overseeing the revision of clinical guidelines for treating just three ‘mental disorders’ had financial ties to drug companies, with drug treatment for these disorders generat[ing] some $25 billion a year [in the U.S. alone.]”
The new manual puts everyone in the bull’s-eye.
The report said: “As the diagnoses completely lack scientific criteria, anyone can be labeled mentally ill, and subjected to dangerous and life-threatening treatments based solely on opinion. … Therein lies the underlying problem of DSM – it isn’t a medical diagnostic system. It’s all based on opinion – and faulty at best.”
However, some leaning to the political left say the club used to bludgeon some individuals isn’t big enough yet.
For example, Jillian Keenan in a Slate.com report said the new edition is “redundant, unscientific, and stigmatizing” because of its treatment of “kinky sexual interests.”
“Simply put, the DSM-V will say that happy kinksters don’t have a mental disorder. But unhappy kinksters do. … Some sexual minorities have applauded this diagnostic compromise as a step forward. It isn’t. This is just the same routine that the psychiatric community dragged homosexuality through decades ago, and adult, consensual … expressions of atypical sexuality should be removed from the DSM entirely for many of the same reasons that homosexuality was.”
And Jonathan Metzl, an MSNBC psychiatrist who supports increased background checks and broadened gun control measures, admits that “psychiatric diagnosis is not a predictive tool … the types of questions garnered in background checks is far-and-away more relevant for predicting gun crime than is a person’s psychiatric history.”
Some in the field of psychology are expressing concern about over-diagnosis and possible abuses stemming from over-labeling, especially on those most vulnerable in the mental health system. Psychology Today, for example, warns that “the DSM-V will give drug companies running room to continue their disease mongering of female sexual disorders – hyping questionable DSM ills as a means of pushing pills.”
Dr. Gary Greenberg, a psychotherapist and author, noted: “Only about 4 percent of violent crimes are committed by mentally ill people. We are not going to diagnose our way to safety” and warns that over-diagnosis could be a serious problem that gets much worse when the DSM-V is implemented by the psychiatric profession.
In an interview with WND, clinical psychologist Dr. Dathan Paterno said he has witnessed many patients hospitalized against their will: “The psychiatric establishment has enormous power. The power to label brings the power to hospitalize and prescribe, forcefully if deemed necessary by the psychiatrist. This power metastasizes into denial of liberties. For example, I know several veterans who can no longer own a firearm, simply because they were hospitalized. Often this was due to medication errors – ironically caused by the psychiatrist.”
The denial of rights to veterans has already generated a lawsuit asserting arbitrary decisions cannot be used to deprive anyone of Second Amendment rights.
Noted the Guardian report: “Changing the definitions of disorders alters who has them. That affects who gets drugs and other support, and who interventions are trialled on. If the criteria for attention deficit hyperactivity disordered (ADHD) are broadened, then more people are likely to be diagnosed with the condition.”