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.