The proposed new DSM may legitimize Disease Mongering

I tripped across an opinion in the LA Times: Wrangling over psychiatry’s bible.  There is debate if the new DSM will be developed in secret, although they acknowledge that past debates were chaotic and not well founded on science.  Pharma would like to participate – brand new disorders mean brand new drugs that will be shoved down the throats of not only sheep (I mean patients) but insurance companies.

Develop openly and transparently so mental health professionals and the public can follow along, or debates held in secret?

“… Hanging in the balance is whether …a set of questionable behaviors with names such as “Apathy Disorder,” “Parental Alienation Syndrome,” “Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder,” “Compulsive Buying Disorder,” “Internet Addiction” and “Relational Disorder” will be considered full-fledged psychiatric illnesses.”

“…compulsive shopping and parental alienation are symptoms of psychological conflict rather than full-scale mental illnesses … the process of defining new disorders have ties to pharmaceutical companies, some critics argue that the addition of new disorders to the manual is little more than a pretext for prescribing profitable drugs.”

Although the term never appears in the article, folks, this is called Disease Mongering.  And I think it’s unconscionable.

Disease mongering is the effort by pharmaceutical companies (or others with similar financial interests) to enlarge the market for a treatment by convincing people that they are sick and need medical intervention”

<Apathy Disorder?>

Apathy is a symptom of MANY existing disorders, but a primary diagnosis all by itself?  I would think (and I am NOT an expert) that the cause of apathy should be explored.  Or is Apathy Syndrome just a place holder until the real underlying condition is revealed?

Read this article.  Please. The Fight against Disease Mongering: Generating Knowledge for Action by Ray Moynihan

“The coming years will bear greater witness to the corporate sponsored creation of disease.” – from Reuters Business Insight report (2003) on so-called lifestyle drugs, which was designed to be read by pharmaceutical industry.  Not us consumers. (see article above)

The “selling of sickness that widens the boundaries of illness and grows the markets for those who sell and deliver treatments.”

And now the bible, the proposed DSM-V, might possibly fall into the hands of pharma if debates for the new DSM are held in secret.  Science by committee.  New disorders are supposed to be debated, explored, and a host of criteria defined and tested.  Hmmm.

How did we allow this?

I believe the problem lies with 1) apathetic people <oh wait, that’s a syndrome!> with short attention spans who want quick fixes without expending effort, 2) parents who are unwilling to parent, and 3) big pharma’s finger in too many pies for which is has no business tasting.

Drug therapy is moving away from traditional diseases to the natural results of aging. Medicalizing normal life.  Portraying mild problems as serious illnesses.  Pfizer’s original market for Viagra was erectile dysfunction from organic causes – spinal cord injury, prostate surgery.  But Pfister expand perceived prevalence of ED and creates the impression that rare or transitory failures to achieve or maintain erections is cause for treatment.

We’re being spun, folks.  They’re squeezing the normal range of human emotions. It begs the question, what is normal anymore?

And even more significant, how far from normal-center is now okay?  It seems that range is getting smaller and smaller.  Perhaps as I heal through therapy, I will actually be getting worse because the yardstick is shrinking at the same time.  Slide backwards along the continuum – highway hypnosis is now a syndrome, and you folks with DID are truly fcked.

Humorous and not so humorous postscript

You want a sad laugh at all this?  Go play with the Disease Mongering Engine.  Create your own new diseases. When I read about the DSM spectacle in the LA Times, my first thought was, “Oh shit – someone saw the Disease Mongering Engine and is now holding the psychiatric community hostage.”

So, which is more believable: Parental Alienation Syndrome or Pervasive Stress-Related Behavior Syndrome? They both sound like a crock of shit to me.

(Psst.  The Parental Alienation one is the real syndrome.)

Go play with your kids and stop looking for quick fixes.  You might even have fun.

– ∞ –

See also:
Table of Contents for all blog posts
Flame-Quenching “Move Along” Standard Disclaimer
Guest Book and Introductions



  asrais wrote @

Labels labels. I once started a piece on why I hate labels. I should finish it.

  Jackie wrote @

I am enormously concerned about closed discussions on DSM-V. Perhaps at one time the world was so naive to trust – myselves (pardon the pun) included and look where that got me. In all seriousness though…WTF are they thinking to consider closed discussions?

  castorgirl wrote @

As a cynic, I wonder if there are any potential benefits from this stupidity on the acceptance of diagnoses such as DID?

We were once were assessed by a psychiatrist who was open in his scorn for the DSM, saying that it’s just another thing that needs to be manipulated in order to ensure his patients get the help they need. He went on to ask us what diagnoses we wanted 🙂 He said we had to have “depression” in order to access the drugs needed – yes pharma interference. But all other diagnoses/labels were up to us.

If the DSM is already this inadequate and manipulated, I would hate to imagine what impact the open addition of pharma to the discussions would bring…

Out of curiousity, have you heard of ?
Take care…

  castorgirl wrote @

Ooops my html was off… try Havidol 🙂

  Tigerweave/Anna wrote @


Internet addiction is a disease?

Aw shucks. I thought it was just that instead of spending my evenings slumped in front of the TV wielding a remote control, I spent it in front of the computer monitor instead.

  camigwen wrote @


Yes, Havidol is a WONDERFUL example! I was tempted to put that up but didn’t want to get into how this is sooo close to actual products. Read about Havidol and then go read about Viagra. Too similar in the marketing campaign for me.

  camigwen wrote @

Funny thing is, go stick those “proposed” disorders into a search engine and you can see how seriously they are being considered.

Now, I believe it is possible to be addicted to the internet, TV, whatever. But do we create a different DX code for Every Single One?!? If you are addicted to something, you are addicted. Wouldn’t the same basic steps of treatment apply? Sure, the drugs and specifics of the behavioral modification may be different, but does that constitute a new syndrome?

Folks, the DSM is for diagnoses…it is NOT for treatment plans! The DSM does not make recommendations on treatment, nor does it imply that any useful treatment exists!

Let’s take this a step further. If we are going to classify all of these addictions, for example, that means someone has to be on top of every possible NEW addition… Wii addiction. Gameboy addiction. Skateboarding addition. Listening-to-hip-hop addiction. WTF?

Should I admit I might be addicted to my vibrator? Does that make me a sex addict or a vibrator addict? After all, we know that sex requires more than one person. So, solo sex addiction, sex addiction, bisexual addiction, S&M addiction….you get the idea.

And, the DSM is SUPPOSED to do some scientific research to create the specific diagnostic criteria. For internet addiction – does it depend on the browser you use? PC vs MAC? What if someone uses Linix, are the criteria different? What about carpal tunnel – often happens sitting at the computer – will it be a requirement? But what about people who use the touchpad, would that exclude them?

Gak. What a crock of shit.

  Shasta wrote @

Dont be dissing the DSM-IV I have a leather bound family sized one on the coffee table – I use the red letter edition of King James version, just as it was when Elders of the APA brought it down from the mount

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