Blogging, I’ve been yearning to do it for some time, primarily to post and archive information about issues that matter a great deal to me, so I have all that info in one convenient location to reflect on. And also to share that information and my thoughts with whoever might be interested and would like to share their thoughts. Issues that matter the most to me are environmental, animal and human rights, and labels.
“Once you label me you negate me.” – Søren Kierkegaard
No big fan of biopsychiatry. Like many, I’ve seen its casualties, survivors, and critics. Psychiatry seems to be more about social control, which is why I believe certain problems have no business being diagnosed or treated by psychiatry, because they’re not social control issues. Problems like epilepsy for instance, which used to be considered a mental illness and treated with restraints, drugs, and shocks. Did you know that even today, Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE), is sometimes mistaken for mental illness? Happened to the acquaintance of a friend of mine.
Differences like homosexuality used to be considered mental disorders too, and did you know that a minority of psychiatrists are still hoping to get that one back into the DSM? So are hundreds of other problems ranging from jet lag – (are you kidding me?!) – to bruxism, impotence, stuttering, and autism.
Thankfully, people are speaking out, like Paula J. Caplan, clinical and research psychologist. Read about her call for congressional hearings on psychiatric diagnosis.
The DSM has seen criticisms through the years. A Columbia University team headed by Robert Spitzer, an editor of the DSM, acknowledges a concern about the DSM in their annual report of 2001, “Problems with the current DSM-IV categorical (present vs. absent) approach to the classification of personality disorders have long been recognized by clinicians and researchers.” Among the problems, they list “arbitrary distinction between normal personality, personality traits and personality disorder” and point out the fact that the most commonly diagnosed personality disorder is 301.9, Personality Disorder not Otherwise Specified. 
There have also been questions of potential bias of DSM authors who define psychiatric disorders. According to The Washington Post, an analysis published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics pointed out that “every psychiatric expert involved in writing the standard diagnostic criteria for disorders such as depression and schizophrenia has had financial ties to drug companies that sell medications for those illnesses.” However, an important limitation of this study was that the analysis did not reveal the extent of their relationships with industry or whether those ties preceded or followed their work on the manual.
In the United States, health insurance typically will not pay for psychological or psychiatric services unless a DSM-IV mental disease diagnosis accompanies the insurance claim. The website of the DSM-V Prelude Project covers shortcomings of the DSM-IV that may be subject for improvements for the DSM-V.
One can only hope that in its new incarnations, jet lag and many other problems will no longer be considered psychiatric disorders.