You never know what you’re going to accomplish when you start something. Who could have predicted that Tom Insel and NIMH would throw the APA and the DSM under the bus? My guess is that two factors played a big part in NIMH’s decision. First, the unceasing barrage of criticism directed at the DSM – its lack of construct validity; its declining inter-rater reliability – had damaged its credibility beyond repair. On top of that, thirty years of DSM-based research had produced no biomarkers.
The American Journal of Psychiatry (January, 2103) recently published a series of articles that analyzed the outcomes of the field trials that were conducted by the DSM-5 Task Force, to determine the inter-rater reliability of the multiple diagnostic categories that will comprise the DSM-5. A table below tracks the downward progression of inter-rater reliability from DSM-III through DSM-5.
Machiavelli had it right. “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order to things.” Ever since we launched our DSM-5 Boycott three weeks ago, we’ve received support from organizations and individuals but have become entangled in more wrangling than I ever would have anticipated.
When plans for the DSM-5 were first announced about ten years ago, most folks’ reaction was “Why?”. Many of us asked that same question several times as the publication date for the new tome kept on getting pushed back. Finally, the curtain enshrouding the DSM-5 Task Force and its several committees began to part and proposed revisions/additions began to appear on its website. To our dismay, we found our question answered.