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.
The University of Milan researchers analyzed the philosophical, scientific and political development of the definition of major depressive disorder for the most recent, fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and specifically the removal of the “bereavement exclusion.” They found that “far from being atheoretical, DSM adopts an implicit, biologically inspired view of the mind” and that “such a view leads to a sort of circularity in the definition of depressive disorders, in which psychopharmacology seems to play a key role.”
In their conclusion, the researchers argued that the DSM is too “reductionist,” simplistic and scientifically “unreliable” and actually undermines rather than collaboratively incorporating advances in understandings of mental disorders that are occurring in other fields of study.
Castiglioni, Marco, and Federico Laudisa. “Toward Psychiatry as a ‘human’ Science of Mind. The Case of Depressive Disorders in DSM-5.” Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 5 (2015): 1517. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01517. (Full text)