Tuesday, February 9, 2010

DSM-V: Get ready, get set . . . here it comes!

The American Psychiatric Association plans to launch its new DSM-V website tomorrow, February 10, publicly airing the long-anticipated diagnostic revision proposals and their criteria. I understand that two of the controversial forensic-related diagnoses I have blogged about extensively -- paraphilic coercive disorder and pedohebephilia -- are among those that made the draft manual.

Simultaneously, controversies grow on multiple fronts. On the one hand, we've got psychiatrists arguing that it's time to wrest the discipline back from all of those pesky non-psychiatrist interlopers. Writing over at the Psychiatric Times, Steven Moffic says the DSM-V should include an express clause saying only psychiatrists are qualified to use the manual.

Don't hold your breath. As long as psychiatrists keep charging many times the fees of other mental health practitioners, I guarantee that economic forces will keep Dr. Moffic's wish from coming true. Talk about trying to close the barn door after the horses are long gone!

Meanwhile, on the other side of the fence, the Association for Women in Psychology is saying, "Who wants it?" The Association has launched a new web site devoted to concerns about bias in the DSM-V diagnostic system. The site features a veritable link fest of criticisms, with articles on specific areas of diagnostic bias that will inordinately affect women, including anorexia nervosa, borderline personality disorder, female sexual dysfunction, and gender identity disorder.

Of particular relevance to forensic practitioners is an article critiquing parental alienation syndrome, proposed for the DSM-V, as well as articles on racism and social class bias in the diagnostic system.

Check it all out, folks. And if you disagree with anything you see, be sure to speak up now, before it's too late. The new manual, originally slated for publication in 2012, has been pushed back to May 2013, which may seem far away. But you only have two short months -- until April 20, 2010 -- to view the draft and make comments; after that, the website "will be available for viewing only." So much pseudoscience, so little time.

It's easy to register and make your comments. Whether the psychiatric gurus will listen is another story. But if you don't try, you'll never know.

Related resources:

Peter Aldhous, the award-winning science reporter covering the DSM debacle for New Scientist magazine, will be following up on his widely disseminated article, Psychiatry's Civil War, with a critical report on the latest developments. He is the guest on Michael Krasny's Forum on KQED radio on Wednesday (February 10); you can download the audio of "Updating Psychiatry's Bible" HERE.

1 comment:

  1. I would just like to make a point which I already submitted in a comment on the DSM site. If you look under rationale for pedophilia you will find this interesting sentence.

    "(b) Many men do not differentiate much or at all between prepubescent and pubescent children and offend against both (Blanchard et al., 2009b)"

    So I take it that the new classification is for *men* only? Have there been research studies that indicate this is true for women also.

    I'm not sure if the failure is in the study in in the word choice on the site but I think it rather interesting that they chose to highlight male pedophilia. In fact, the word woman or female appears nowhere in that rationale.

    I wonder why.

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