I would like to let readers know about a campaign called ‘No More Psychiatric Labels’ that I started a few months back. The subtitle is “Campaign to Abolish Formal Psychiatric diagnostic Systems like ICD and DSM”.
I started the campaign on the back of the recent protests about the forthcoming DSM 5, feeling that these don’t go far enough as they protest that DSM 5 is not following a proper scientific process, whereas the lack of a coherent scientific basis is common to all psychiatric diagnostic systems. My conclusion having looked at a range of evidence over many years is that we will never reach a diagnostic system that will help advance scientific knowledge or clinical practice and so my position is that they should no longer be used and mental health services will have an opportunity to be so much better once this happens.
In summary I concluded that Psychiatric diagnoses are not valid, use of psychiatric diagnosis increases stigma, using psychiatric diagnosis does not aid treatment decisions, long term prognosis for mental health problems has got worse partly because of the diagnostic constructs, it imposes Western beliefs about mental distress on other cultures, and that alternative evidence based models for organizing effective mental health care are available. You can read the full article at Criticalpsychiatry.net. You can add your name to the cause here.
If psychiatric diagnoses, the basis of psychiatry, are not valid, then obviously neither is the rest of psychiatry. People who earn their livings in the mental health system cannot expect to receive carte blanche to intervene in other people’s lives at the public’s expense under the pretext of mental health reform.
What is necessary — not that I have any hope that it will happen in the near future — is abolition of the entire mental health system and a return to the ancient system of assisting people in need through private lay charity. Such a system would address the imbalance of power between the people who are the subject of concern and the people ostentatiously assisting them.
I agree with you Mira but, like you, I just can’t see it happening. If there was ever a time to throw both the baby and bathwater out, this may just be it!
I wholeheartedly agree!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Duane Sherry, M.S.
Kind greetings authors and fellow bloggers, and glad to have found this site. Accord. Wish to read more on mental health and rights.
Adding: there were enough problems with the older, lengthy paper psycho-metrics from which one could not easily emerge without a stigmatizing label.
But now we have quick computer mouse clicks via software and no tests at all, with high speed tech, counting on the ‘literary criticism’ skills of human audio-scanning for keywords in spoken sentences (time taken from solace and support?).
“Providers” at computer screens can sub-nano-affix a DSM code – not revealed usually to a “patient” (preferred term: “client”, somewhat less hierarchic) without ANY testing. Can we at least hope they will not strike a neighboring key? Perhaps. But an unlikely hope, with the noise effects of marrying observation with typing. Human/Machines/Human interface complications. And hugely burdening humanist caregivers as well, on their part.
Solutions / proposals?
– worked with Abe Maslow, superior mensch.