Diagnosis: Up For Review

Friday, February 19, 2010

The DSM is the guiding document when it comes to defining mental illness, and it's up for review. Stanton Peele, psychologist, addiction expert, and blogger for Psychology Today, discusses the proposed changes to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, such as the inclusion of "apathy syndrome," "seasonal affective disorder" and Internet addiction.


Stanton Peele

Comments [13]

Rose Lee from NYC

With the DSM, it is more important for everyone- clinicians, patients & their families, legal representatives, etc to understand the given limitations and to read with discernment. This holds true for diagnosis, medication, signs & symptoms as well as prognosis.

Feb. 19 2010 01:19 PM
JP from NJ

There is a lot wrong with the DSM and it’s far from perfect. But it’s a guide that has been around since 1952 and has gone through major revisions and has made some bad mistakes. It still has a long way to go but so does the general “book of medicine” that has made some bad mistakes over the last 100 years or so. If you think it’s bad today, look back to how mental illness was treated before the DSN. A much darker world for mental illness.

These guests are not helping on the stigma side. So people who are the text book case of bipolar or skitsofrenia are now cured because their disorders are really made up by society’s view of addiction or dependency? I think not.

WNYC, why not have a real psychiatrist on. Since the DSN revision has come out, you’ve had nothing but people bashing mental illness, setting the stigma of mental illness back a good 30 years!!!!!! I’d expect that from say FOX news. But shame on you WNYC…. How about a discussion on how many real lives have been saved by the DSN

Feb. 19 2010 11:58 AM
markBrown from

One of the most crucial problems we have is in school districts just using the DSM criteria to label children, and having their parents go to a GP/pediatrician to diagnose ritalin.

THIS CANNNOT be done this way.

I (personally) wish that doctors that diagnose like that WITHOUT doing a detailed in person diagnostic be BANNED from prescribing medicines.
Also: the new dsm and in its attempt to have a degree of diagnosis sounds good.

Feb. 19 2010 11:31 AM
BBW from Westchester

Very interesting conversation...but I was quite taken aback by your guest's aside about Tiger Woods and thought it was extremely unprofessional on this psychologist's part and made me view his opinions with a different lens.

Feb. 19 2010 11:30 AM
Voter from Brooklyn


Feb. 19 2010 11:27 AM
Alex from Brooklyn

Shrinks don't make money of well adjusted people...

So money talks and BS walks...

They would not be able to make a living of people that are truly nuts... they need more...

Feb. 19 2010 11:27 AM
Alice from Westchester

I'd like to determine for sure if these practioners can be SUED for their wrong diagnoses.

Maybe then they will be more responsible for their work.

And in turn, their diagnoses conundrums would be greatly diminished.

Feb. 19 2010 11:26 AM
Janet from Manhattan

You announced that the "DSM V is here!" My understanding is that it is not yet ready for publication,and is projected for completion in 2013 (although some aspects have been released for review and critical input). Can you clarify this??


Feb. 19 2010 11:26 AM
Hope Holiner from Hastings on Hudson, NY

As a person who has struggled with life-long depression, I wish that there was a diagnosis for childhood depression 50 years ago. Surely some kids would have been diagnosed wrongly, but it could have made my life better.

Feb. 19 2010 11:19 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Can the guest comment about if/how politics intervenes into the selection & decision-making process?

Feb. 19 2010 11:19 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

We live in a scapegoat nation, everyone wants an excuse for their otherwise inexcusable behavior. Pretty much the definition of an American these days.
There are undeniable mental diseases and defects, but by the DSM5’s definition, every American’s probably lost their marbles.

Feb. 19 2010 11:16 AM
Robin from Queens

The DSM is ridiculous. Most of the "disorders" have been selected arbitrarily and by one-person "committees." Emotions are not "illnesses." The health insurance and pharmaceutical industries makes up "illnesses" and "disorders" to re-brand and sell medication. They have created a culture of illness, made-up "diseases" (like sex addiction or restless leg syndrome) that are "diagnosed."

Yes, according to the DSM, everybody (including historical figures like Jesus, Ghandi, and lots of others) are what the psychiatric industry would term "mentally ill."

Feb. 19 2010 11:12 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

The following is the lead paragraph on an effort to get Parental Alienation added to the DSM-5, from the Fathers & Families web site. As the father of 2 children who were alienated from me, I can attest to the severe consequences and scars alienation visits upon children who are subject to this behavior. I urge fair-minded WNYC listeners to check the site out:

Fathers & Families wants to ensure that the DSM-5 Task Force is aware of the scope and severity of Parental Alienation. To this end, in December we asked our supporters to write the Task Force to urge them to consider including Parental Alienation Disorder in DSM-5. As usual, your response was overwhelming. It also helped lead to progress–while as expected the newly-released draft version does not specifically include Parental Alienation Disorder, the DSM-5 Task Force has now listed Parental Alienation Disorder among the “Conditions Proposed by Outside Sources…that are still under consideration by the work groups.”

Feb. 19 2010 11:05 AM

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