Monday, November 14, 2011


Our favorite topic… NOT

If you don’t know what the DSM is or you just have a faint idea what it is, it is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It is a book that is published by the American Psychiatric Association of mental disorders, illnesses and syndromes that a therapist use to look up billing numbers for the insurance company. Bed wetting? Well there is a code for that, 307.6. Smoke marijuana? There is a code for that also, 305.20. Can’t sleep because you drink too much coffee, that’s 292.89. You get the picture, anything you go to see a therapist for there is usually a number to bill the insurance company. The code for being trans is 302.85, more on that later.

There is an article about the revision in USA Today,
Psychologists challenge proposed new diagnoses in DSM-5
USA Today
By Rita Rubin

The next edition of the American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic bible will lead to millions of healthy people being labeled with a mental disorder and treated with potentially dangerous drugs, some psychologists say.
Among the disorders the petition [On-line Petition] calls "unsubstantiated and questionable" are "apathy syndrome," "Internet addiction disorder" and "parental alienation syndrome."
Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to being mislabeled with a mental illness, he says. For example, the DSM-5 proposes adding the diagnosis "mild neurocognitive disorder," which could lead doctors to prescribe medication to older patients experiencing the normal age-related decline in mental ability.
"They are all tremendously well-meaning," Frances says of the DSM-5 task force members, both psychiatrists and psychologists. "They are not doing it because they are in bed with drug companies. What they are totally naïve about is how the things in the book are transformed in actual practice."
And therein lies the rub, how things transformed in actual practice. Most people think that the DSM is a list of mental illness and it stigmatizes those people who have been diagnosed with something in the DSM. Every time a gender inclusive anti-discrimination bill is introduced the opposition uses the DSM against us.

Kelly Winters, one of the leading opponents of the DSM and the diagnostic for Gender identity disorder (GID) has this to say on her web-site,
There are two prevailing views of gender diversity in American psychiatry and psychology. The emerging view is affirming and accepting. The older view is punitive, judging difference as disorder, something to be ashamed of. The current diagnostic categories of Gender Identity Disorder and Transvestic Fetishism in the DSM-IV and revision IV-TR predominantly reflect the punitive view of gender diversity. They go so far as to disrespect transitioned adults and youth with inappropriate pronouns and gender terms in the diagnostic criteria and supporting text.

The transgender community has expressed growing concern that the work group for Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders in the DSM-V Task Force of the American Psychiatric Association is not sufficiently representative of newer, respectful attitudes toward gender diversity that are widely held by practitioners who work with gender variant adults and youth today. Many transgender advocates and care providers hope to see more balance in this work group, more inclusion of clinical approaches described by Dr. Diane Ehrensaft on National Public Radio, “If we allow people to unfold and give them the freedom to be who they really are, we engender health. And if we try and constrict it, or bend the twig, we engender poor mental health.”

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