Some researchers have been arguing to reclassify all psychiatric disorders as diseases of the brain and nervous system, similar to epilepsy or Parkinson's disease. Neuroimaging research, however, reveals that psychiatric disorders appear to be distinct from neurological disorders, according to a new study published in this month’s issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry.
In a guest blog for the Scientific American, Peter Kinderman takes on the “harmful myth” that our more distressing emotions can best be understood as symptoms of physical illnesses. “Our present approach to helping vulnerable people in acute emotional distress is severely hampered by old-fashioned, inhumane and fundamentally unscientific ideas about the nature and origins of mental health problems.”
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is increasingly shifting its research emphasis toward attempting to uncover biomarkers for “mental diseases,” which may have dramatic consequences for research and training in clinical psychology. In an article to be published in next month’s Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, Marvin Goldfried outlines how the shift in funding priorities for psychological research is tied to the needs of pharmaceutical companies and the biological model in psychiatry.
A new study on the depression symptoms of over three-thousand patients challenges the criteria used for diagnosing major depression with the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5). Current diagnostic systems are based on an assumption that the symptoms of depression point to a common underlying “illness," but research suggests that this framework may be outdated and oversimplified.
While a great deal of the excitement about advances in psychological treatments comes from the potential for research in neuroscience to unlock the secrets of the brain, many mental health experts would like to temper this enthusiasm. A special issue of the Behavior Therapist released this month calls into question the predominant conception of mental illnesses as brain disorders.
To coincide with World Mental Health Day on October 10th, 2015, Verso Books, the world's largest independent and radical publishing house, released a series of blogs on mental health and critical and antipsychiatry. The posts include pieces on R.D. Laing, colonialism, women’s oppression, delusions and art, “The Happiness Industry,” and social and institutional oppression.
Former DSM-IV task force chair Allen Frances takes aim at the “massive overuse of psychotropic medication in children” in an article for the Psychiatric Times. He shares a checklist of questions for doctors to consider before prescribing medication to children. Frances warns: “We simply don’t know what will be the long-term impact of bathing a child’s immature brain with powerful chemicals.”
Many psychologists do not believe the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is scientifically valid, reliable or even helpful, according to a study in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology. So when those same psychologists admit that they nevertheless continue to use the DSM for financial reasons, asked the researchers, is that not a violation of their most basic ethics? More →
On Critical Psychiatry, Duncan Double discusses an article written by MIA Blogger Joanna Moncrieff and Hugh Middleton. "They argue that the concept of 'schizophrenia' is neither valid, nor useful, and suggest replacing it with more generic concepts such as 'psychosis' or 'madness'." More →
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is an "obstacle" that is preventing "a fruitful synthesis" between our neuro-biological and sociocultural understandings of the human mind and of psychological problems, according to a study in Frontiers in Psychology. The researchers examined the "bereavement exclusion" as a case study. More →
In Somatosphere, Owen Whooley discusses Anne Marie Jutel's 2011 book, Putting a Name to It: Diagnosis in Contemporary Society. "When we treat diagnosis as simply a medical issue, we mask the tremendous social power involved in putting a name to human suffering," Whooley writes. More →
A massive effort led by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom led to a wide variety of non-mainstream sexual practices being removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 2013, reports The Atlantic. More →
In Psychology Salon, Randy Paterson compares life in the present to life in the past, to try to see if there are any clues there as to why the incidence of depression seems to have been increasing so dramatically. More →
In The Lancet Psychiatry, three Australian psychiatrists analyze the modern history of bipolar disorder in children, and explore how it came to be that, "By 2004, bipolar diagnoses in children and adolescents had increased 40 times in US primary health care and become the most common diagnosis in preadolescent inpatient units." More →
In Medscape, three psychiatrists discuss the new definitions in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders for grief, complicated grief, depression and major depression, and try to explain how to reliably distinguish between them all. More →
BrainBlogger has an interview with Gary Greenberg, psychotherapist and author of The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry. "The (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) provides the key to the health care treasury, whether you’re a person suffering from emotional distress and trying to get money from your insurance company for treatment, or a researcher trying to get a grant to study a particular mental problem," says Greenberg. More →
The Lancet Psychiatry's December issue includes two letters commenting on Mary Boyle and Lucy Johnstone's article, "Alternatives to psychiatric diagnosis," along with a new letter on the topic from Boyle and Johnstone. More →
The US National Institute of Mental Health is providing public access to a video of a webinar explaining the Research Domain Criteria initiative and how it compares to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders for categorizing psychological states. More →
About 60% of the increase in the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders has been caused by broader diagnostic criteria and new reporting practices, according to a Danish study published in JAMA Pediatrics. Although the study was of Danish children, some of the findings would apply in the United States as well, a researcher not involved in the study told LiveScience. More →
Is there an alternative to the current, dominant way of making psychiatric diagnoses? If so, what would it look like? On his Critical Psychiatry blog, Duncan Double raises these questions and posts to freely-accessible versions of both a commentary about the topic in the Lancet by Mary Boyle and Lucy Johnstone as well as a Lancet letter retort to it. More →
More than a year on from the release of DSM-5, a Medscape survey found that just under half of clinicians had switched to using the new manual. Most non-users cited practical reasons, typically explaining that the health care system where they work has not yet changed over to the DSM-5. Many, however, said that they had concerns about the reliability of the DSM, which at least partially accounted for their non-use. Throughout the controversies that surrounded the development and launch of the DSM-5 reliability has been a contested issue: the APA has insisted that the DSM-5 is very reliable, others have expressed doubts. Here I reconsider the issues: What is reliability? Does it matter? What did the DSM-5 field trials show?
Note: This post originally appeared on August 18, 2014 on dxsummit.org. On August 5 and 6, 2014, a group of roughly twenty persons met in Washington, DC for the First Summit on Diagnostic Alternatives. The gathering consisted mostly of psychologists, but social work, …
"There are many practitioners, including psychiatrists, who wonder about the sanity and the soundness of the enterprise in general," Gary Greenberg tells the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's RN radio network about the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. RN interviews various experts in a report on how "practitioners across the world are in open revolt" against psychiatry, "demanding that the practice be brought into the modern world and be anchored not in conjecture but in contemporary science." More →
A month ago, I published a critique of specific terminology of DSM-5. Like countless others, I have serious concerns about the overpathologizing of normal behaviors that appears to be occurring over the past few decades. The potential consequences of this trend have been widely articulated in many circles, and have raised a serious question, “What is normal?” But while this has been occurring in both psychiatric and lay arenas, another movement has been gaining significant support. It is the idea that mental illness (or disease) is a fabrication, and as Sera Davidow quoted E. Fuller Torrey in her recent moving article, “Mental illness does not exist, and neither does mental health.”
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