dsm1dsmWhile some of the comments regarding the development of the DSM-V have merit, especially those regarding indiscriminate diagnosing of mental illness and fraudulant perscriptive behaviour, anyone who has ever spent time with a patient suffering from a “mental abberation” knows that these patients are distressed, confused and desperate for help.  Brain and mental functioning cannot, as yet, be determined by a simple blood test or X-ray as is the case for some somatic conditions such as diabetes, thus there remains a need to have some diagnostic standardisation and integrity when dealing with a “mentally” distressed patient. 

The inadequacies are there, one cannot dispute that, but there is a need to have an ongoing review of the manual as we gain more and more information about mental functioning.  Neurology and psychiatry are on the threshold of some amazing research and work into the impact that aspects such as sunlight, Vit D, the immune system and the endocrine system have on brain functioning and this work is progressing at an astonishing rate.  Much of this research is funded by pharmaceutical companies who are at the forefront of finding the metabolic links (I need to add that I have no financial connections to any of these companies but know that if a patient has a neurotransmitter depletion or is severly traumatised, pharmaceutical intervention is required).  One would not refuse insulin to a diabetic child or an antibiotic to a septic patient, why then do we want to refuse a serotonin (or other neurotranmitter) depleted individual any type of pharmaceutical assistance.   

Perhaps, it is not the DSM that is at fault but society at large, and old school psychiatry, who refuse to acknowledge the need for a paradigm shift as we get closer to identifying what the rapid change in lifestyle has done to our bodies and brains and those of our young people.  We are only now being able to identify what parenting, bad eating and early life stress may do to the our “adult” neurobiology. The days of regarding a child or an adult as either mad, bad or sad are over.  There is now more and more evidence that abberations in biology play a role and the DSM-V is striving to provide a basis of understanding of these processes without quick blase answers.


~ by Dee Muller on July 10, 2009.

3 Responses to “DSM-V”

  1. So true, Dee. “anyone who has ever spent time with a patient suffering from a “mental aberration” knows that these patients are distressed, confused and desperate for help.” Some can be helped primarily by pharmaceutical intervention, some by psychotherapy, many, with a combination of both and, for some, pharmaceutical intervention might be contraindicated. Yes, we can thank pharmaceuticaly funded research for interventions that relieve distress, and elevate the functioning. of people in need. We can also see instances where greed for money and power has resulted in the misuse of the diagnostic system and has resulted in patients taking unnecessary medications with powerful, dangerous side effects. It is ethically essential to continue a critical evaluation of the process by which political manipulation shapes the course of diagnosis and treatment. This transparent, evolutionary process would constitute the much needed paradigm shift. For and article in critique of the DSM http://www.zurinstitute.com/dsmcritique.html

    by Nola Nordmarken MFT cintributing author, Zur Institute.

  2. “The days of regarding a child or an adult as either mad, bad or sad are over.”…. guess they were just a fad:-)

  3. Old school psychiatry did not bother to investigate the reasons for the behaviour or distress but rather just labelled the personality as either sad, mad or bad. The behaviour was but it overlays damage to networks that have been damaged.

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