Friday, December 23, 2011

Adults are not harmed by DSM labels

There is an excellent article by Paula Caplan, Ph.D.  in Psychology Today (Dec. 19).

 In "Who Will Protest Against the DSM Harm?", Dr. Caplan points out the hypocrisy of some well known psychiatrists who have suddenly  (but not really) "seen the light" when it comes to societies most vulnerable citizens (children and the elderly.) We are only too aware that society's vulnerable adults have been harmed for decades by the labels and the drugging, but a petition  by The American Psychological Association that is gaining huge momentum tellingly omitted adults from its list of those harmed, until Caplan pointed out this rather gaping hole to the petition's coordinator.

The good news: More people than ever before are learning that psychiatric diagnosis is not grounded in good science and causes a vast array of harm to people who have turned for alleviation of their suffering to those who are called helping professionals. The bad news: The forces keeping the psychiatric diagnosis juggernaut rolling and misleading the public are more powerful than ever.

IMHO, psychiatry's new found zeal to right past wrongs for certain groups is merely sensing which way the wind blows, but it is hoping to keep the public focused on cute children and elderly parents in nursing homes in order to divert attention away from the bulk of its clients, namely adults. Here's a confession of mine, which I think I have already confessed to elsewhere in my blog. If an organization wants to be at the receiving end of warm fuzzies from the public while simultaneously enriching its own bottom line, focus on children. Psychiatry is no different from charities in that respect. What, no adults in need of our support? I ask myself before flicking the remote or failing to drop a coin or two into a cardboard box at the check-out counter. The widely promoted concept of "child poverty" is a particular bugbear of mine. Child poverty, I often snort. Children aren't by themselves poor. They have poor parents. Bah humbug.

Caplan writes:
You may have heard about the petition started by several divisions of the American Psychological Association, who express concern about possible harm to children, adolescents, and the elderly and ask for an external group (the DSM is published by the American Psychiatric Association) to evaluate the proposals for the next edition, called DSM-5. This petition has garnered thousands of signatures and the support of additional American Psychological Association divisions. Although it is wonderful that these brave divisions have at last spoken out about the devastation caused to untold numbers of people over the many decades of the DSM's existence, it is stunning that they would specifically omit mention of harm to adults who are not elderly.

There's lots to ponder in her article. Please read it.


  1. I'm so glad to have read this post! I've been wondering all along why we hear how antipsychotics are so very dangerous for elderly people with dementia, while not mentioning the younger adults taking them.

    I heard a brief radio announcement today that the local hospital's department of neuroscience, which is a well known and respected outpatient psychiatry department, received a grant to hire medical doctors for patients who need more monitoring. Amazing I thought! But then, who knows what all they will come up with. These days, if a patient gets diabetes from a drug, such as Zyprexa, the psychiatrists say new evidence has revealed that people with schizophrenia are more likely to get diabetes, so it isn't the drug after all. IMHO, I think this is a way out of admitting the drugs can and often do cause metabolic syndrome, including diabetes.

    Sigh... I guess psychiatry and I aren't on very good terms these days.

    On a different note, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas, filled with love and joy!


  2. Dear Rossa, I can't remember if I told you that I nominated your blog for the Versatile Blogger Award, so I'm checking off my list now. Your blog is helping me learn more lately and I appreciate that. I don't know why it took so long to start studying about holistic recovery from schizophrenia. I guess my brain was saturated with the notion that recovery wasn't possible. I hope to cleanse those thoughts, realizing of course, the path will not be easy.

    Anyway, just wanted to tell you about the award. If you go to my blog's homepage, you'll see the post and nominations.

    Thanks Rossa.

    Hope your Christmas was nice and Wishing you a Happy New Year!


  3. Michelle,
    Many thanks for nominating this blog. I am indeed honored.
    Thanks for your comments, and Happy New Year!


I am no longer approving comments. All I ask is that you be respectful of others and refrain from using profanity.