“In a bitter skirmish over the definition of depression, a new report contends that a proposed change to the diagnosis would characterize grieving as a disorder and greatly increase the number of people treated for it.” (via NYTimes).
As readers know, I have done intermittent coverage of the proposed revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), the official ‘bible’ of psychiatric diagnoses in US practice and currently awaiting its 5th edition. While lat week’s scandal was about the possible contraction of the definition of autism (which has many parents and patient advocates up in arms about the potential loss of qualifications for services for thousands), most of the suggested changes have one thing in common. They broaden the criteria for various disorders or create new, questionable diagnoses. In so doing, many more aspects of emotional life become medicalized or pathologized and subject to treatment with powerful drugs. Proponents of these changes claim they will allow the more rapid, preemptive identification of people deserving treatment. Critics claim that millions would be labelled mentally ill for behaviors previously conceived as normal, with insufficient evidence that they would benefit from treatment and needless exposure to the malignant side effects of powerful medications. Not to mention lining the pockets of Big Pharma.