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ADHD Homosexuality and the DSM


Psychiatry uses a guide to classifying mental disorders called the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). The current one is the fourth edition and is called the DSM-IV.


Although the ADHD diagnosis is defined in the DSM-IV making it appear scientific, it is not purely scientific as the criteria used are subjective. What is perceived as different or unusual, but still in the “normal” range in one culture can be perceived as a “disorder” in another culture.


Until 1974 homosexuality was classified in the DSM as a mental disorder. To change this was controversial, but the changing social attitude, not science said that same-sex attraction was a normal variant of sexuality among well-adjusted people. Science is about studying the material world, not about making theories to fit moral attitudes in society.


But that was not the end of the story. In the DSM-III there was a “mental disorder” called Ego-Dystonic Homosexuality. The reason for this was that psychologists and psychiatrists said that some gays and lesbians came to them for treatment. The explanation went like this: “This revision in the nomenclature provides the possibility of finding a homosexual to be free of psychiatric disorder, and provides a means to diagnose a mental disorder whose central feature is conflict about homosexual behavior.”


Not surprisingly, this did not make any sense to some psychologists and psychiatrists. The result was that Ego-Dystonic Homosexuality disappeared from the DSM in 1986.


Still the idea of homosexuality as a “mental disorder” continued. In the present version, the DSM-IV, there is a “mental disorder” called Gender Identity Disorder. Gender Identity Disorder, or GID, is when a person feels that their physical gender does not match their true gender.


And the issue will continue on into the future. The next version of the DSM, the DSM-V, will change Gender Identity Disorder to Gender Incongruence.


Homosexuality can be called a sin, an inclination, a preference, an orientation, or a lifestyle, but never a mental disorder.





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