DSM5 Boycott: Growing Some Legs


Just had to share this with you. Was copied on an e-mail from Allen Frances yesterday, wherein he informed colleagues that two blogs had been posted yesterday whose principal themes were boycotting the new DSM.

One was mine, posted on this site yesterday. The other was also posted yesterday by Dr. Howard Brody on his website, http://brodyhooked.blogspot.com, entitled “Grief: You’d Better Suck It Up After Day 13.”

Brody advised the APA that he and other primary care physicians were pretty pissed off at the DSM5 Task Force for reducing the “grief exclusion” in Major Depression to a footnote, as if an afterthought. Brody explained that he and his colleagues are the ones who field most complaints by patients about feelings of depression; that, since the DSM III, he and other primary care physicians have made use of the DSM to guide them in making – or not making – that diagnosis and deciding on a course of treatment. Now rumor has it that his own professional organization, the American Academy of Family Physicians, along with other primary care physician organizations, “might vote formally to dissociate their members from [the] DSM … an unprecedented move … precisely due to the APA treating the DSM as its own private property and cash cow …”

Call the same-day postings serendipitous; but I think that Dr. Brody and I came up with our similar ideas as part of that flood of public opinion that is beginning to flow strongly against the APA and DSM5. Marxists might term it historical determinism; but as I tell my wife, when I come up with an idea, so do thousands of other folks. Nonetheless, like Brody, I do think we are arrived at an “unprecedented” moment.

So I call on those of you who agree with Brody and me, and you run a large gamut – from those who want the DSM revised and rid of certain objectionable diagnoses, to those, like me, who see the DSM, in its entirety, as harmful and want it discarded – to get the word out. Copy/e-mail/twitter, post on facebook mine and/or Brody’s blogs to/for all your colleagues, friends, family members and acquaintances; ask them, as I ask you now, to go the DSM5 website – www.dsm5.org — log in, click on the “overall comments” link, enter your comments and concerns and threaten to boycott – not buy – the new DSM unless your comments are heeded and necessary changes are made. I’ll simply tell the Task Force that I have no intention of purchasing the DSM5 and am urging friends and colleagues to boycott it as well.

Remember, you have until June 15; but, enough procrastination, do it now. And remember, as always, don’t mourn, organize


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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  1. I don’t think primary care physicians should be using DSM anyways, as they are not well trained enough. This is a separate issue from whether there should be a DSM. They also are prescribing way too much psychiatric medication.

    A boycott will require some new action; what has been done so far has barely made a dent in the DSM process and plans. Waiting til it is out will also be ineffective.

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  2. I’m for an end to the use of labels altogether.
    Each of them.
    All of them.

    From the website of Paula Caplan, Ph.D. –


    Do we honestly expect the field of psychiatry to police itself when it comes to “over-diagnosis”?

    The field cannot stop giving ECT to young children; drugging kids in foster care; and incarcerating people in distress!

    I happily signed the petition a while back; but I think it does not go far enough. We need to get rid of the ‘s’ word – “schizophrenia”…

    When that happens, all the labels mean nothing…. The field of medicine known as ‘pscychiatry’ dies. And it could not come soon enough, in my opinion.


    We need to organize –




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  3. Organize around what for what? As much as I dislike the term Schizophrenia, changing that will not get rid of psychiatric diagnoses, which in my opinion need to be improved, not gotten rid of, and the whole process of working on this include the public, patients, payors, etc.

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    • Steve,

      The comment about organizing refers to the link provided – a vision for federal legislation to completely overhaul the mental health system as we know it.

      Re: Labels

      They are alll dehumanizing. None more than “schizophrenia”.

      At what point does your profession admit to its own abysmal failure? Are you not witnessing the death of psychiatry (bio-psychiatry) as you were taught in medical school?

      You seem to be in denial.
      You seem to want to try to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

      Give it up.
      It’s not going to happen, Steve.
      It’s not going to happen!


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    • Steve,

      When more people catch on the fact that there are MANY non-drug options for “schizophrenia”, psychiatrists will no longer be needed; and the shift will go from symptom management toward recovery –


      The word’s beginning to get out.
      And as it does, bio-psychiatry dies.

      It’s really that simple, Steve.
      You’re making this much more complicated than it needs to be. You’re holding on to yesterday.

      Yesterday’s gone.


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      • Combine programs like ‘Open Dialogue’ (85% recovery rate) with Orthomolecular Medicine, and say “Goodbye” to the term “schizophrenia”.

        Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D. was able to achieve a 90 percent recovery rate. This took place over the span of 6 decades, working with 5,000 patients. And the bar was set high – Recovery was defined as not only living indpendently in the community, but “working and paying taxes”. More here –



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        • Steve,

          In the interview with Dr. Abram Hoffer (linked above), he mentions that the natural recovery rate for those dignosed with “schizophrenia” is 50%.

          According to the National Empowerment Center, it is slightly higher (58%)-


          People fully recover in many ways, but its psychiatry’s involvement that impedes recovery. Dr. Hoffer found that young people recovered rather quickly, for the most part, but for those who had undergone “treatment” by conventional methods, it took on average 10 years for them to recover! Ten years – to overcome the “hospitalizations”, drugs and harmful “treatment” of psychiatry.

          Unfortunately, Dr. Hoffer used the term “schizophrenia”, however he treated each of the 5,000 patients with dignity – insisting on safe shelter, good nutrition, and humanity.

          Also, he used psychotropic drugs, but only with some patients, and only for very limited periods of time, in the smallest amounts possible. He referred to them as a necessary “crutch”.

          But he encouraged people… His success was driven by a desire to treat peole holistically, and with humanity.

          90 Percent Recovery Rate
          5,000 Patients
          Over the span of 60 Years

          They went on to work.
          4,500 of them fully recovered!

          His record has been unmatched.
          Open Dialogue.
          Ortholecular Medicine.

          For any reader interested in finding out more about Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D.; go to –

          Type in Keyword “Hoffer”



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    • All psychiatric labels are dehumanizing. We aren’t even dealing with a disease or an illness but a disconnect in a person’s psycho/spiritual wision of the world. And I’m not talking about religion here. There is no illness and no disease so quit trying to label all of this with words that make no sense. Most of it is gobbledegook to begin with. And there’s no science to it at all.

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  4. Duane,

    I wish you were right, and it was that simple. Why don’t you invite those who have felt helped by psychiatry and medicine to comment here, and not blast them when they do? Are you familiar with all those who commit suicide without getting any help, or going to a primary care doctor and not having the risk recognized? Do you want to be indirectly responsible for people not getting the kind of help they want and need?

    Well, if you can’t find anybody, I have one handy to start with. Here is a verbatim quote from one of my patients who e-mailed me today (who was given psychotherapy and three medications, now only on the medications):
    “I have tears in my eyes typing this as I don’t think I would be alive today if you had not pushed me to get aggressive treatment for the depression and anxiety and I will always be grateful for as I would missed the most gratifying part of my life to date.”

    Now, would you like me to start insisting that she decrease and then stop the medications? I await your recommendation.

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    • Steve,

      Mad in America has no policy that restricts anyone from making a comment. Anybody is welcome to comment on this site.

      Re: the “simplicity” of Orthomolecular Medicine

      There are so many tributes to the work of Dr. Abram Hoffer (several sites) with comments from people around the world, whose life’s he touched…

      This is but one such site –


      When it comes to wellness, and recocvery I never said things were always “simple”.

      But sometimes things are.
      In fact, some of the best things in life are simple.


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      • Re: Suicide

        I think that if suicide rates were actually dropping from rx antidepressants, we would see them in the numbers.

        We do not.

        And I hope to God that you’re not implying in any shape, form or fashion that my free expression increases the likelihood of suicide by any reader.

        If so, you owe me a public apology.


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        • Re: Suicide

          Your words:

          “Are you familiar with all those who commit suicide without getting any help, or going to a primary care doctor and not having the risk recognized? Do you want to be indirectly responsible for people not getting the kind of help they want and need?”


          You owe me a public apology.


          “Do you want to be indirectly responsible for people not getting the kind of help they want and need?”

          You DO owe me a public apology.


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          • Steve,

            Re: Apology, Suicide and Antidepressants

            Forget the apology.
            I don’t need it.
            I would prefer instead that you docs became more educated.

            Read this in reference to suicide and antidepressants (click on ‘other stories’ on the site) –


            Re: Tapering off the drugs

            I’m not a doctor, but would suggest a book by Peter Breggin, M.D. and David Cohen, Ph.D. (who recommend getting clinical support during a taper…

            The book is called ‘Your Drug May Be Your Problem: How and Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Medication’

            It should be reuired reading in medical school, and should be read by every person put on an antidepressant or other psychotropric drug.

            I’m emotionally exhausted.
            This is my final comment on this post; and it may be a while before I come back to this site.

            My apologies to the author of this blog for leaving so many comments.


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  5. As I see it, Steve Moffic, the central issue is broken trust.

    Let’s allow that a very small number of people can genuinely benefit from psychiatric care. How can we trust psychiatrists (leaving aside the issue of the other doctors) to correctly recognize and treat those people — NOT everyone who walks in the door — and in a humane, medically conservative, and effective manner?

    (As for your patient, 3 medications?? Are you sure all are necessary? Have 1 or 2 been added to counteract side effects from another? Have dosages been minimized to the lowest effective dose — often much, much lower than the arbitrary dosages recommended by drug companies? Are you maintaining her on 3 medications not because all 3 are needed, but because at this point her nervous system has accommodated to them, and you don’t want to destabilize the house of cards?

    Did you inherit her from another doctor who maybe was a little free with the prescription pad? Is this patient one of the small number of people who truly can benefit from psychiatric care, or is she stuck on the merry-go-round of pharmaceuticals, adverse effects, and physical dependency, like so many are? Does she have any hope of recovery without drugs?

    Just asking, Steve. I’ll take your word for it that you’ve assessed all the above.)

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  6. Yes, I’ve assessed all of that and I have more patients like her. Another e-mail just recently from a woman I’ve seen most of 23 years (1-2 times a year) recently, also with a combo of psychotherapy and polypharmacy, carefully prescribed up and down), who happily remarried with two very successful kids, work productiive, and moved to retire in california. Also a high suicide risk at one time.But success stories aren’t much welcomed here if psychiatrists are involved.

    Let me say this very controversial thing about responsibility. People come or don’t come, and stay in or don’t stay in, for formal health and mental health treatment (and I do know people can often be helped without formal treatment) for a variety of reasons: personal, family, cultural, friends, knowledge, suffering introspection, etc., etc. The advice of others can be crucial, so one should be as careful as possible that what one says does not do more harm than good. Just like psychiatrists. Just like managed care companies. Just like journalists. We have to be our brother’s keepers, and we all have something to contribute.

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    • Hi, guys. The back and forth is spirited and interesting, but does anyone care to address the idea of a boycott …. practical and effective methods, difficulties, etc. I just wonder how we can get the word around to as many folks as possible, preferably before the end of the June 15th DSM5 close-out on commentary. In short, what is best done before June 15 and what after June15. The ideas I put forth ask those in agreement to advise the DSM Task Force of their intention not to buy the new DSM, and then not to purchase the manila when it is published next year. Any comments, pro/con, re what I put forth? Thanks. JC

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    • Thanks, Jack, point well taken.

      Steve, perhaps you could address the issue of broken trust as I’ve outlined above in a blog post of your own.

      (Sorry, I have a very hard time accepting polypharmacy as the solution to psychiatric issues, cf Anatomy of an Epidemic by Bob Whitaker. Three drugs for one ailment is a heavy drug burden under any conditions, introducing medical risk that shortens life.)

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  7. the discussion is important, albeit repetitive, because if supporters of improvement are driven away, the boycott will be much less effective. Numbers count, especially among psychiatrists themselves.

    For better or worse, I am not going to recommend my patient that I quoted, and others like her, to stop their medication any time soon. They seem quite healthy, as healthy as I, as I enter the Medicare age. However, I am quite worried that people like them will hear of such recommendations, avoid or stop helpful treatment, and deteriorate or die. By the way, these patients of mine – and others since I review of lot of care – also tried many other non-traditional ways of getting better, and off meds for some time, but that didn’t work, at least for them (though it may for others). Responsibility comes under many different situations and forms. Words can hurt. Stalin called writers the engineers of the soul.

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    • Begging your pardon, Steve, are you claiming you are treating your patient for a biological illness? Opening the door to that discussion — well, I fear Jack’s topic, which is timely and important, is lost. Let’s put that aside for another time.

      As for lack of success in going off medication, please recall all my comments about gradual tapering. Some people can tolerate tapering by only a fraction of a milligram a month.

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    • The thing is that what you call an “illness”, like cancer or AIDS, is in fact an extreme expression of being alive. It is life itself. Have you ever noticed the deadness in the eyes of your drugged “patients”? have you ever listened when they’ve told you about having lost the ability to feel, to be in contact with themselves? Psychiatry is about trying to cure aliveness, life, which it has redefined to be a disease. It is no wonder, and it is no coincidence that psychiatry has achieved the power it has in a culture that has made aliveness, life, it’s enemy #1. And it is no wonder or coincidence that the life expectancy of those drugged drops further each time psychiatry comes up with newer, “improved” “treatments”. The ultimate cure for aliveness, for life, is death. Would I recommend, or suggest to someone on psych drugs to try and taper off? You bet! But I also warn people. Not only of withdrawal symptoms, but also of the fact that being alive means having to learn how to deal with life.

      A marriage, kids, a job, retirement in California… that’s all very nice. But what about these people’s aliveness? What about personal development and growth? What about learning how to deal face to face with life? Instead of being dependent on you, for 23 years and your “treatments” to keep life at a comfortable distance? And what about the people who kill themselves because they so want life, and can’t stand it to be kept at an insuperable distance from them? People don’t off themselves because of “mental illness”, i.e. for no understandable reason. But of course it’s a convenient defence mechanism to believe they do, if you fear the possibility of being part of what had them resort to the most desperate No! to deadness. If you fear the responsibility that means. If you yourself are afraid of life, and don’t really know how to deal with it, face to face.

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        • I have just read NUMEROUS references by Mr. Moffic to people, who shouldn’t have been made reference to at all, given the rules of confidentiality. And we don’t know these people. We know nothing about their life other than they are used to defend Moffic’s inability to come up with statistically, scientifically and morally grounded reasons to continue prescribing highly addictive, mind altering, disabling drugs, and call it medicine. One reference was to so and so is as healthy as I am (says Mr. Moffic). We can only assume that’s in reference to physical health, something we know nothing of from reading these comments. Mental health would be a different topic.

          let me make a rhetorical run on question…

          When psychiatry becomes a means of defending, with: 1)hearsay;
          2) corrupt clinical trials;
          3) withheld information as to side effects costing billions of dollars to the drug companies in fines and a whole new branch of an epidemic;
          4)testimony of people who aren’t allowed to say that they never needed treatment (although those that aren’t “treated” do better statistically);
          5) people who are told they won’t be stigmatized once they are labeled as having a biological disease that hasn’t been proven to exist, and made addicted to “medications,” that cause the chemical imbalances the alleged biological disease is yet to be proven to correlate with;
          6) inflated statements making reference to change, need, help, human rights and happiness that statistically, morally and scientifically are divorced from cause and effect, other than they make a profit for the drug companies and have become “stable” wall street investments;
          7) inappropriate sentimental references to people no one who reads the remarks has any way of being able to determine the objectivity of unless they spend a few weeks living with them; this to counteract a growing epidemic or stolen lives from “treatment.”

          And note this is in reference to the great demand to be able to defend these “medications,” as being medications or appropriate medical treatment; not simply defending that no, not every human being is born in need of treatment by the drug companies and should be paying tithes to the drug companies by taking this or that “medication.”

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  8. Some people have called the DSM “psychiatry’s bible”.

    I’ve decided to call it the satanic bible because in my eyes, America is a satanic nation. 666 means “sickness and sex sells”. Yeah, the DSM is a “bible” alright – a satanic one.

    Hope that helped (please, no clapping).

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