Psychologists petition against DSM-5 revisions

British psychiatrists and psychologists are engaging in target practice with the under-construction DSM-5. The "bible" of mental illness, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is under revision, and critics say the changes pathologize normal behavior and benefit drug companies over patients, The Guardian reports.

Some 11,000 psychologists have signed a petition against revisions they say classify some normal, expected behaviors--including bereavement--as mental illnesses and create questionable new disorders. "The proposals in DSM-5 are likely to shrink the pool of normality to a puddle with more and more people being given a diagnosis of mental illness," Til Wykes, professor of clinical psychology at Kings College London, said, as quoted by The Guardian.

The British Psychological Society has opposed the DSM changes, The Telegraph says, and psychiatrists in the U.S. have also taken issue with some of them. "DSM5 will radically and recklessly expand the boundaries of psychiatry," Duke University's Allen Frances said (as quoted by The Telegraph). "Many millions will receive inaccurate diagnosis and inappropriate treatment."

The DSM revisions are important because the manual not only guides treatment and diagnosis in the U.S., but insurance coverage as well. Broadening the definitions of disorders treated with psychotropic drugs stands to increase sales, and some question whether drug companies have too much influence over the revision process. It's "hard to avoid the conclusion that DSM-5 will help the interests of the drug companies," University of Central Lancashire's David Pilgrim said, as quoted by Reuters.

- see the Telegraph story
- read the piece in The Guardian
- get the Medscape article
- find the Reuters news

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