Have you ever heard of the following mental disorders: reading disorder, disruptive behavior disorder, disorder of written expression, mathematics disorder, caffeine intoxication disorder, nicotine withdrawal disorder, noncompliance with treatment disorder, or “physical abuse of a child problem” and “sexual abuse of a child problem”?
These are a few of the 374 mental disorders that are listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or in the mental disorders section of the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD).
Depicted as diagnostic tools, the DSM and ICD are not only used to diagnose mental and emotional disturbances and prescribe “treatment,” but also to resolve child custody battles, discrimination cases based on alleged psychiatric disability, augment court testimony, modify education, and much more. In fact, whenever a psychiatric opinion is sought or offered, the DSM or the ICD are presented and, increasingly accepted, as the final word on sanity, insanity, and so-called mental illness.
Canadian psychologist Tana Dineen reports, “Unlike medical diagnoses that convey a probable cause, appropriate treatment and likely prognosis, the disorders listed in DSM-IV [and ICD-10] are terms arrived at through peer consensus”—literally, a vote by APA committee members—and designed largely for billing purposes.
The “science-by-vote” procedure is as surprising to a layperson as it is to other health professionals, who have witnessed DSM voting meetings. “Mental disorders are established without scientific basis and procedure,” a psychologist attending the DSM hearings said. “The low level of intellectual effort was shocking. Diagnoses were developed by majority vote on the level we would use to choose a restaurant. Then it’s typed into the computer. It may reflect on our naiveté, but it was our belief that there would be an attempt to look at the things scientifically.”
In 1987, a “self-defeating personality disorder” was voted in as a provisional label. Used to describe “self-sacrificing” people, especially women, who supposedly choose careers or relationships that are likely to cause disappointment, the “disorder” met with such protest from women it was subsequently voted out of DSM-IV.
Lynne Rosewater, a psychologist who attended a DSM hearing presided over by one of the manual’s leading architects, psychiatrist Robert Spitzer, reported, “[T]hey were having a discussion for a criterion about Masochistic Personality Disorder and Bob Spitzer’s wife, [a social worker and the only woman in that meeting on Spitzer’s side of the debate] says, ‘I do that sometimes’ and he says, ‘Okay, take it out.’ You watch this and you say, ‘Wait a second, we don’t have a right to criticize them because this is a ‘science’?”
Dr. Margaret Hagen, psychologist and author of Whores of the Court: The Fraud of Psychiatric Testimony and the Rape of American Justice is blunt about the real motive that lies behind the DSM voting system: “If you can’t come up with the diagnosis, you can’t send a bill.”
According to Professors Herb Kutchins and Stuart A. Kirk, authors of Making Us Crazy, “Far too often, the psychiatric bible has been making us crazy—when we are just human.” The “bitter medicine” is that DSM has “attempted to medicalize too many human troubles.”
Kutchins and Kirk further state that people “may gain false comfort from a diagnostic psychiatric manual that encourages belief in the illusion that the harshness, brutality, and pain in their lives and in their communities can be explained by a psychiatric label and eradicated by a pill. Certainly, there are plenty of problems that we all have and a myriad of peculiar ways that we struggle…to cope with them. But could life be any different?”
Paul R. McHugh, professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said that because of the DSM, “Restless, impatient people are convinced that they have attention deficit disorder (ADD); anxious, vigilant people that they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); stubborn, orderly, perfectionistic people that they are afflicted with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); shy, sensitive people that they manifest avoidant personality disorder (APD), or social phobia. All have been persuaded that what really matters of their individuality are, instead, medical problems, and as such are to be solved with drugs.…And, most worrisome of all, wherever they look, such people find psychiatrists willing, even eager, to accommodate them.…In its recent infatuation with symptomatic, push-button remedies, psychiatry has lost its way not only intellectually but spiritually and morally.”
In June 2004, John Read, senior lecturer in psychology at Auckland University, New Zealand, wrote “More and more problems have been redefined as ‘disorders’ or ‘illnesses,’ supposedly caused by genetic predispositions and biochemical imbalances. Life events are relegated to mere triggers of an underlying biological time bomb. Feeling very sad has become ‘depressive disorder.’ Worrying too much is ‘anxiety disorder.’ Excessive gambling, drinking, drug use or eating are also illnesses. So are eating, sleeping, or having sex too little. Being painfully shy has become ‘avoidant personality disorder.’ Beating people up is ‘intermittent explosive disorder.’ Our Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has 886 pages of such illnesses.…Making lists of behaviors, applying medical-sounding labels to people who engage in them, then using the presence of those behaviors to prove they have the illness in question is scientifically meaningless. It tells us nothing about causes or solutions. It does, however, create the reassuring feeling that something medical is going on.”
DSM has become so widely relied upon within society that it has taken on the aura of scientific fact. Millions now use and believe in its diagnostic abilities, never once suspecting that the whole premise and the system itself are fraudulent. These people are at risk of making seriously wrong, even fatal, turns in either their own lives, or the lives of others.
This report fills in the very large and deliberate gaps left by psychiatric propaganda about its key claim to “scientific” fame, the DSM.
on Human Rights International