Thursday, February 12, 2009

Acronyms of Destruction: Expert Panels

I'm beginning to believe there are clear similiarities between PHARMA, the AMA, and, yes, the DSM:

The Diagnostics and Statistical Manual, the Shrink's bible, has been around for over 50 years, and now possibly contains nearly 300 mental disorders. As a dictionary of suspected mental illnesses, many redefined diagnoses are added to this manual with each edition. On occasion, a mental disorder is deleted from the DSM, such as homosexuality in the early 1970s. Its purpose, this manual, is to assist mental health professionals to diagnose and classify mental disorders.

Published and designed by the APA, the DSM is also used, I understand, for seeking mental diagnostic criteria to assure reimbursement.

The DSM is organized by the following:

I- Mental disorders
II- mental conditions
III- Physical disorders/syndromes, medical conditions (co-morbidity)
IV- Mental disorder suspected etiology
V- Pediatric assessments

The APA has historically directed the creation of each edition of the DSM, and assigns selected task force members to create this manual.

The next DSM involves 27 people. About 80 percent of these individuals are male, and only 4 members are not medical doctors. Most have had relationships with the NIH, and about 25 percent of these task force members have had relationships with the WHO.

Historically, at least a third of task force members have had, or do, have often monetary pharmaceutical industry ties in some way.

This makes sense, as about one third of the APAs total financing is from the pharmaceutical industry.

The APA required this task force for the next DSM edition to sign non-disclosure agreements- which is rather absurd and pointless. Lack of transparency equals lack of credibility because of these agreements of the content of the next DSM. It opposes any recovery model necessary regarding such disorders, I believe.

The DSM should be evaluated by another unrelated task force or a peer review of sorts to assure objectivity. This is particularly of concern presently, as many more are diagnosed with mental dysfunctions presently at a concerning rate- with very young children in particular.

Dan Abshear


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