Potentially dangerous repercussions if proposed changes take effect

All over the globe, the mental health community is buzzing about the upcoming publication of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), to be released in May 2013. GoodTherapy.org, a leading mental health directory dedicated to advocating healthy therapy practices, has announced its support of the American Psychological Association's Division 32 committee on DSM-5 reform, citing potentially dangerous repercussions if the proposed changes take effect.

In the 5th edition, the DSM Task Force has drastically revised its content to primarily focus on the neurological and biological etiology of mental health. The new criteria proposed could increase the number of people diagnosed with mental illness by the millions. Highly controversial, the proposed changes would include, but are not limited to: changing the definition of mental disorder, lowering the threshold for clinical diagnoses of mood disorders and including new disorder categories that may not be adequately supported by clinical research. 

"Previous versions of the DSM have been impartial to the etiology of disorders. Because of the direction the DSM Task Force has taken, those days may be over," said Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, and CEO of GoodTherapy.org. 

The source of much of the controversy surrounding the new changes to the DSM-5 is the inclusion of physiological and medical addictions. The DSM-5 will now include disorders such as Internet Addiction and Parental Alienation Syndrome, based on the stance that all mental disorders are rooted in biology. 

"Among all the problems with the proposed changes to the DSM-5, including the lack of supported research and lowering of diagnostic thresholds, the most disturbing change is the proposition that all syndromes are biological in nature," said Rubinstein.

The dangers of this radical stance taken by the DSM Task Force can include an increase in misdiagnoses, dependence on psychotropic drugs, and encouragement of counterproductive therapeutic tools. 

"Based on these changes, it's no wonder many have speculated that this is either a classic example of a hammer viewing everything as a nail, or worse, that the proposed revisions are purposely pushing the American Psychiatric Association's agenda and/or that of the pharmaceutical industry, namely to further monetize mental health," added Rubinstein.

The DSM Task Force has released this information about the DSM-5 in order to get feedback from clinicians across the globe, but many feel it is being largely ignored. In the hopes of reversing these controversial changes and creating a comprehensive and scientifically supported psychiatric resource, GoodTherapy.org is supporting the mission of Division 32's committee on DSM-5 reform. Division 32 has written an open letter to the American Psychiatric Association urging them to consider input from all clinicians as a unified community, not just a few individuals on the DSM-5 Task Force.  

As a leading directory that encompasses thousands of licensed therapists from around the globe who are committed to providing healthy therapy, GoodTherapy.org strives to effect social change by providing education and advocating to reduce harm in therapy. GoodTherapy.org reaches approximately 7 million people per month through its various networks. As part of its mission, GoodTherapy.org constantly strives to depathologize language used in the therapeutic process.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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