The DSM

I am reading The Psychopath Test – and I am quoting from it:

DSM-III was a sensation. Along with its revised edition, it sold more than a million copies. Sales to civilians hugely outweighed sales to professionals. Many more copies were sold than psychiatrists existed. All over the western world people began using the checklists to diagnose themselves. For many of them it was a godsend. Something was categorically wrong with them and finally their suffering had a name. It was truly a revolution in psychiatry, and a gold rush for drug companies, who suddenly had hundreds of new disorders they could invent medications for, millions of new patients they could treat.

It was followed by DSM-IV and DSM-V – also best-sellers.

I once knew a young man who had an emotional crisis – he realized he was gay, fell in love – and was abandoned by his lover. But he was lucky, and found a therapist who could help him.

I lost contact with him for awhile, and when I met him again – I was shocked to discover he had abandoned his therapist, and picked up different problems – that seemed to me, to be worse than the one he had.

He also found another therapist, who after one visit, gave him an impressive diagnosis. He immediately looked it up in the DSM – and told me, proudly – that is was very painful.

When I last met him, he was no better.

  1. The DSM can really ruin our way of thinking. Especially when it comes to children. Why do we have to have a label for everything. There has to be a PERIOD, there is no … or commas. There is a constant struggle for acceptance and belonging but the wrong places are being approached.

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