Psychiatry's insiders revolt against flawed DSM-5
by: Lance Devon
The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (DSM-5) is coming under scrutiny.
Thomas Insel, The director of the US National Institute of Mental Health, is questioning the manual's validity, pressing scholars and scientists to shift away from the manual's current philosophy. Much of the DSM's current validity is based on nothing more than disease categorization, listing mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia based on symptoms alone. Insel wants to take a more objective approach forward, using cognitive testing, brain scans, and genetic studies to diagnose mental health conditions. Insel's approach will abandon the current DSM philosophy that has been published by the American Psychiatric Association for the past 60 years.
Dr Allen Frances, chairman of the DSM-4 committee, has criticized the current process, "People with mild problems are [often] over-medicated." Furthermore, he states, "The new edition exhibits a loosening of criteria in several major disorders and could lead to further over-medication." He believes "the work on DSM-5 has displayed the most unhappy combination of soaring ambition and weak methodology" and there exists an "inexplicably closed and secretive process" to the revision of the current DSM-5.
DSM creates medical disorders out of thin air
Many complaints about the DSM revolve around growing statistics that this psychiatrist's bible is turning simple illnesses into full blown medical conditions. Experts believe mental disorders are being created out of thin air and definitions of these disorders are widening, as people become over-diagnosed. This is allowing pharmaceutical companies a perfect opportunity to come in and expand their market for new drugs. This is a serious and growing problem, especially since 70 percent of those serving on the DSM-5 committees have financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.
Instead of the current system, Insel wants to see a more scientific approach, implementing more genetic, imaging, physiologic, and cognitive data, to be studied and clustered in relations to treatment response.
Insel elaborated that medical definitions of conditions like heart disease, lymphoma, or AIDS are based on objective laboratory studies and not based on just clinical clusters of symptoms, as the DSM prescribes.
"In the rest of medicine, this would be equivalent to creating diagnostic systems based on the nature of chest pain...
Imagine deciding that EKGs were not useful because many patients with chest pain did not have EKG changes. That is what we have been doing for decades when we reject a bio marker because it does not detect a DSM category," Insell says.
Evidence suggests anti psychotic drugs actually cause more mental illness
As scientists start basing the DSM on real scientific data, is it time to announce what no one in the psychotic drug community want to share? Anti-psychotic drugs are actually causing more mental illness.
Marcia Angell, Former editor and chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, exposes the marketing tactic that drug companies have used to fool the public into taking more anti-psychotic medications.
Depression is said to be caused by too little serotonin in the brain, which antidepressants are often prescribed to correct. Similarly, schizophrenia is said to be caused by too much dopamine, which psychotic drugs are often used to lower. Both of these misconceptions are not scientific fact, and here's why, Angell points out.
These chemical imbalances in the brain are generally deemed "causes" of mental illness because psychotic drugs have leveling effects only after they are used and observed to have this effect!
This implies that depressed thoughts come from too little medication!
Angel suggests this crooked logic likewise "argues that fevers are caused by too little aspirin!"
Pulitzer Prize winner, Robert Whitaker says that in the past, people with hospitalized mental illness would recover without medication in as little as six to eight months. Now, with medication, patients are struggling longer and harder with adverse affects and withdrawal symptoms that include a stunning 85 percent chronic relapse rate.
This is because psychotropic drugs are interfering with a person's neurotransmitters, disturbing the brain's natural processes that maintain normal biological functions.
Whitaker further explains, "It is well understood that psychoactive drugs disturb neurotransmitter function, even if that was not the cause of the illness in the first place. When, for example, an SSRI antidepressant like Celexa increases serotonin levels in synapses, it stimulates compensatory changes through a process called negative feedback. In response to the high levels of serotonin, the neurons that secrete it (presynaptic neurons) release less of it, and the post synaptic neurons become desensitized to it. In effect, the brain is trying to nullify the drug's effects."
This implies that pharmaceutical drugs are getting in the way of natural recovery in most cases, and that over-diagnosis is commonplace due to the current, unscientific DSM rhetoric.
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