Does A Group Of People Sit And Decide On What Is a Mental Disease?

This is the book that contains all of the criteria for mental health or psychiatric disorders. It is published by the American Psychiatric Association who develops work groups of experts in each group of disorders to determine exactly what symptoms or criteria a patient must have to be diagnosed with a particular disorder.

(Time Healthland) Good Grief! Psychiatry’s Struggle to Define Mental Illness Goes Awry

By MAIA SZALAVITZ | @maiasz | February 17, 2012

A proposed new definition of depression would include normal bereavement. Why that’s a bad idea.

The editors of the forthcoming fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual — psychiatry’s diagnostic handbook — are having a hard time. They’ve been attacked by autism advocacy groups for proposing to eliminate the Asperger’s diagnosis. They’ve been slammed for adding a diagnosis, or “prediagnosis,” for people determined to be “at high risk” of developing schizophrenia. And, now, they’re being pummeled for introducing a provision to diagnose grief as depression.

It has not gone unnoticed that the illnesses for which proposed definitions have been expanded are mainly those that are treatable by drugs — antipsychotics or antidepressants, for which manufacturers seek increased marketing opportunities — while the contractions tend to be in conditions for which no specific medication is available.

Indeed, the suggestion to label normal grief as depression would allow, for example, a bereaved widow to “treat” the sadness over the loss of her husband with Prozac — a condition that previously would have been remedied with time and family support. Meanwhile, other diagnoses that the DSM-5‘s editors have rejected — including developmental trauma disorder for children whose mental problems can be best explained by early negative experiences, such as being shuttled between multiple foster homes — often share the quality of not being easily amenable to pharmacological solutions.

MORE: Ending the Autism Epidemic: If the Definition Changes, Will Some Kids Lose Services?

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Also see Is It Possible to Literally Have A Broken Heart?Don’t You Want Your Partner to be… Interesting?The A.D.H.D. RelationshipAre You a Narcissist? and Is It Possible to Literally Have A Broken Heart?

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