By a Duke professor and the former chairperson of DSM 4, the leading critic of the proposed revisions to the "bible of psychology," the DSM, which promises to greatly widen the bounds of mental illness, explores the remarkable resilience and self-healing power of the "normal brain"
The new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5 for short) is scheduled for release in May 2013. The DSM is the bible of psychiatry; the go-to place to find out who is sick and who is not. Because it will radically stretch the boundaries of what is and what is not a psychiatric illness, DSM 5 will dramatically change how lives are lived. Under DSM 5's new definitions, millions of people now considered normal will be diagnosed as mentally ill, causing unnecessary, costly, and sometimes dangerous treatments for misidentified 'patients' who don't really need them.
Will the DSM 5 destroy what is considered normal?
Frances argues that DSM 5 offers a radical and reckless set of proposals that will overnight turn 'normal' people into 'mental patients'. Everyday aches, pains, disappointments, stresses, and existential sufferings are being reframed as mental illnesses with such exuberance that it is getting hard for anyone to get through life without a psychiatric diagnosis. Is grief a useful, inevitable and poignant sign of a broken heart or is it Major Depressive Disorder? Are temper tantrums a normal part of childhood or a sign of mental illness? Are you nervous about an upcoming presentation or job interview or do you have Mixed Anxiety Depression? If you don't remember a face or a fact once in a while, do you have Dementia?
Frances maintains we all have psychiatric symptoms from time to time, but this doesn't mean we are all flirting with mental illness. Whenever we arbitrarily add a new 'disease', we subtract from what previously was 'normal' and lose something of ourselves in the process. Not all human suffering can or should be labeled and treated away. The grief and sorrows, the stresses, the disappointments, the aches and pains, the slings and arrows, the innate and acquired inequalities, the set-backs, the stumbles, the emotional gut-shots; this is part of life and of living in a complex and not always fair society- they should not all to be explained away as psychiatric disease.
--- from the publisher
About the Author:
Allen Frances, M.D., was the chairperson of the DSM 4 Task Force and part of the leadership group for DSM 3 and DSM 3 (Revised). He is currently professor emeritus and former chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Duke University School of Medicine. He has published op-eds for the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times. Speaking about the upcoming publication of DSM 5, Frances has recently appeared on PBS's NewsHour; on NPR and numerous regional radio stations; and in four documentaries. He has also been interviewed for Time, Wired, Tthe New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Economist, ABC News, MSNBC.com, and other publications around the world. He lives in Coronado, California, and travels and lectures extensively world-wide.