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DSM-5 Dangerously Serious Misdiagnosis 5th Edition

March 30th 2013.

The latest DSM is due to be published soon, the DSM-5 should stand for Dangerously Serious Misdiagnosis Fifth Edition. A good profession to have is a medical negligence lawyer, as this latest DSM is likely to increase misdiagnosis claims and medical malpractice law suit cases against doctors who mindlessly follow the new diagnostic manual.

The standard diagnostic manual that doctors, insurers and researchers have used to classify mental health disorders for the last 19 years, has been the DSM-IV. This stands for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition.

There were serious flaws in its basic structure and the way many disorders were subjectively diagnosed. The hope that the new edition, the DSM-5, would be better has been dashed. This latest version, due in mid May 2013, appears to have been inspired by the pharmaceutical industry’s greed to get as many people on medication as possible.

DSM-5 manual cover

The DSM-5 Manual

Grief and Mourning

Anything that can be medicated is turned into a disorder. Grieving and mourning after the death of a loved one is no longer a natural process. It has a time limit. If you have not got over the loss within two weeks, then you have a diagnosable disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, and need medication. As so eloquently stated in by Dr Joanne Cacciatore in her blog:

“Grief is not a disease, it is not an illness, it is not depression. It is, in fact an expression of love. Grief can only be a disease if love is.”

“Only people and relationships and moments of deep connection will help heal the hearts of the bereaved.”

What used to be respected as a necessary emotional process, best left to family, friends and the acceptance of the loss through healing with time, is now to be time limited so pills can be dispensed. There is no respect for the individual process, which is personal. For example, some people appear not to be affected by the death of a loved one for a while, and then some time later when the shock lifts, the grief sets in. Other people need more than a year to heal their grief. Both are normal.

Adult ADHD

The new DSM-5 criteria for Adult Attention Deficit Disorder will do wonders for the illegal drug trade. There is going to be an epidemic of Adult ADHD diagnoses leading to a flood of stimulant drug prescriptions. As it is we have a significant illegal secondary market for recreational use and performance enhancement of these stimulant drugs. The editors of the scientific jourmal Nature had a debate a few years ago about what a good idea it would be to legalize ADHD drugs.

The DSM committee was worried about false positives, so they solved the problem by reducing the criteria, from six out of nine to five out of nine. Now the previous false positives have become positively diagnosed disorders.

I have no problem personally with the new diagnosis. I have a full house, nine out of nine, but what about those other people who are now going to be labeled as Adult ADHD with only five criteria? These new converts are going to be misled into thinking they have a disorder that needs to be medicated for the rest of their lives, when what is really needed are coping strategies and self awareness/insight or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, all quite effective and long-lasting.

There is a danger in that not everybody hums along nicely on stimulant medication. If they are so safe, why not sell them over the counter at the local 7-11? Some individuals experience harmful side effects, and other people have medical and psychiatric problems from taking stimulants.

In reality the symptoms for adult attention deficit disorder are vague. There are so many other disorders that give these symptoms, the risk is that it will be so easy to misdiagnose adult ADD when the real problem is something else, like anxiety or depression, to mention only two of the many other possible mental and emotional conditions with similar symptoms to Adult ADHD criteria.

I am in the generation from before ADHD was invented. I survived by realizing I am not like everyone else. I have an Attention Distractible Hyperfocusing Personality. It’s a talent and I adjust my life accordingly. It’s a part of the variations within the human genome. The problem starts when an individual is expected to live, behave and feel like the majority of the population.

Psychosomatic Disorders

Mental conditions like stress or depression, affect the body, with conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome and vestibulitis, just as medical conditions like cancer or heart disease affect the mind. Our minds and bodies are interconnected. Psychosomatic illnesses are real and physical disorders, even if a doctor cannot find the cause.

Now the DSM committee in their wisdom have introduced Somatic Symptom Disorder, so that someone with a physical pain that cannot be explained medically has a mental disorder.

As Suzy Chapman, a health campaigner in the United Kingdom explained on her very informative site, Dx Revision Watch, conditions that are difficult to diagnose will now be officially diagnosable as, “It’s all in your head.”

This creates a win-win situation for the doctors and the pharmaceutical industry. The loser is the patient with a real medical problem. By shifting the focus from “medically unexplained” to “excessive thoughts, behaviors and feelings” the doctor no longer needs to feel uncomfortable, s/he can with confidence blame the patient and prescribe a drug to “fix the patient’s head.”

Dealing with ADHD is individual. Your biochemical profile is unique to you. What works for me may not work for you. That is why we need to talk and share experiences with other ADHDers. The DSM system is categorical, and most of us do not fit neatly into categories were a “one size fits all” approach is the only alternative given to us.

If you have a disorder that causes the ADHD like symptoms, then that disorder needs treating, like hypothyroidism for example. On the the other hand if you have an attention distractible hyperfocusing personality then the empowering way to go is:

  • Learning to use your talents
  • Learning coping strategies for your weaknesses.

Stimulant meds can be a short term help in doing that, but there are also effective alternative natural ADHD remedies that can be tried.

ADHD is really an individual thing.

Dare to be unique.

Dare to be you.

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