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What does it tell us about the state of psychiatry when some of the biggest names in the psychiatric establishment are distancing themselves from psychiatry’s diagnostic system and its treatments?
In 2013, National Institute Mental Health director Thomas Insel, citing the lack of scientific validity of psychiatry’s official diagnostic manual, the DSM, stated that, “NIMH will be re-orienting its research away from DSM categories.” In response, Robert Whitaker, investigative reporter and author of
Anatomy of an Epidemic, observed, “This is like the King of Psychiatry saying that the discipline has no clothes.”
“When Insel states that the disorders haven’t been validated,” Whitaker points out, “he is stating that the entire edifice that modern psychiatry is built upon is flawed, and unsupported by science… If the public loses faith in the DSM, and comes to see it as unscientific, then psychiatry has a real credibility problem on its hands.”
Other establishment psychiatrists are also distancing themselves from psychiatry’s diagnostic manual. Psychiatrist Allen Frances, the former chair of the DSM-4 task force, now writes about how the DSM is a money machine for drug companies (” Last Plea To DSM-5: Save Grief From the Drug Companies“).
Frances, emeritus professor of psychiatry at Duke University, was until recently among the most inside of insider psychiatrists. However, in an April 11, 2014 New York Times article about “sluggish cognitive tempo,” which would add 2 million more children to the already 6 million diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Frances stated, “Just as ADHD has been the diagnosis du jour for 15 years or so, this is the beginning of another. This is a public health experiment on millions of kids.”