Until now, I’ve pretty much steered clear of DSM-5. My reason for this is that the upcoming revision represents, to my mind, a distraction from the central issue, i.e., that the whole notion of mental illness is spurious, destructive nonsense.
My position is that the purpose of DSM is to expand psychiatric turf and to legitimize the pushing of mood/behavior-altering pharmaceuticals. In the US (and I believe in most developed countries) you can’t prescribe a drug without a diagnosis. And the APA has never neglected its primary mission in this area.
So DSM-5 has no real surprises. More “diagnoses” are presented, which will almost certainly result in more people being labeled as “mentally ill.” These individuals will be told the standard lie, that they have an illness “just like diabetes,” and they need to take pills indefinitely.
What is noteworthy, however, is the amount of opposition that the upcoming revision is generating. I don’t remember this level of protest leading up to the earlier revisions. Of course, I welcome the protests, but hope that they don’t distract us from the fundamental premise – that “mental illness” theory is not a valid or helpful way to conceptualize unusual or disturbing behavior.
Christopher Lane has recently written two very good articles critiquing DSM-5 [The DSM-5 Field Trials’ Decidedly Mixed Results, and DSM-5, A Disaster for Childhood Diagnoses] and I strongly recommend these.
It is currently estimated that one fifth of the American population will meet the criteria for a DSM-IV “diagnosis” in any given year, and that half of the population will have a “diagnosis” at some time in their lives. These numbers will certainly increase when DSM-5 becomes the standard.
There truly is no limit to psychiatric and pharmaceutical greed.