In this piece for Mind Hacks, Vaughan Bell, a long-term critic of psychiatric diagnosis, points out the major flaws and logical fallacies in some of the most common criticisms of psychiatric diagnosis. He then recommends ways to more effectively critique psychiatric diagnosis using arguments that are backed by evidence and logic.
“Debating the validity of diagnoses is a good thing. In fact, it’s essential we do it. Lots of DSM diagnoses, as I’ve argued before, poorly predict outcome, and sometimes barely hang together conceptually. But there is no general criticism that applies to all psychiatric diagnosis.
Does psychiatric diagnosis medicalise distress arising from social hardship? Hard to see how this applies to stuttering and Tourette’s syndrome. Is psychiatric diagnosis used to oppress people who behave differently? If this applies to sleep apnea, I must have missed the protests. Does psychiatric diagnosis privilege biomedical explanations? I’m not sure this applies to PTSD.
There are many good critiques on the validity of specific psychiatric diagnoses, it’s impossible to see how they apply to all diagnoses.”