Next month is the long-awaited debut of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, the DSM-V (now known as DSM-5, a change which is odd since even football fans can handle Roman numbers – 2013 is Super Bowl XLVII).
Critics of disease-mongering are well aware of the many concerns associated with the ever-lengthening list of “conditions” identified in the successive issues of the DSM, including overdiagnosis, overtreatment, and stigmatization.
Allen Frances, MD, former chair of the DSM-IV task force, is waging an effective one-man war against the DSM-5 on You-Tube, in op-eds and blogs, and on many radio shows.
There have been public criticisms of previous editions of the DSM, though these stories are not well known. For example, I (LT) participated in a rambunctious 1987 feminist “Coalition against Misdiagnosis” that challenged proposals for shakey and misogynist conditions like “Self-Defeating Personality Disorder” and “Paraphilic Rapism” in the DSM-III-R. We picketed meetings of the APA and wrote lots of letters.
In 2013, however, the internet is the new playpen of the activist world and there are numerous committees and coalitions expressing concern by gathering signatures on online petitions.
The two major ones seem to be an “open letter of concern” authored by the Society for Humanistic Psychology, a division of the American Psychological Association, in coaliton with many many other groups. It has about 14,000 signatures and has published a response from the APA President. The other general petition (# of signers not known) is sponsored by a committee of individuals that overlaps a bit with the first.
Those are the general ones, but there are others that are more specific and make thoughtful cases for their demands.
There are 10,000 signatures, for example, on a petition objecting to the choice of committee members for the gender identity disorders section.
Here’s a petition with 8,000 signers objecting to the changes in the autism spectrum condition diagnoses.
And here’s one with 7000 signers demanding that the category of “Transvestic Fetishism” be removed.
Let a thousand petitions bloom! The best show of solidarity and strength will come when we all sign them all and post them on FB pronto! Let our voices be heard.