The Book of Woe

I love it when people notice (as sometimes happens) that the The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is not as scientific as people think it is:

In the general excitement about that progressive decision, few noted that voting didn’t seem to be the most scientific way of determining mental illness. Narcissistic Personality Disorder was voted out in 1968 and voted back in 1980; where did it go for 12 years? Doctors don’t vote on whether pneumonia is a disease.

Major pet peeve of mine: people – or communities – that want to be authoritative, but reject the corresponding obligation to be accountable to those whom they hold authority over.

If psychiatry and psychology could be held responsible when they do harm – or even just when they’re wrong, whether harm is done or not – the world would be a much better place.

See also here:

Thomas Insel, director of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health — essentially the country’s top psychiatrist — has announced that his agency is “re-orienting” its research away from the DSM over the book’s “lack of validity” while it pursues its own alternative diagnostic system, which Insel promises will be more firmly anchored in brain science.