Depressed or not? Revisions to the DSM spark controversy about where to draw the line.
by yassin.elnaggar on October 22, 2013 - 2:17am
This article points out some of the changes made in the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, and how they change the social and medical understanding of who is a considered mentally ill.
Some of the changes made are considered quite controversial, as the changing criterias may cause some people to be wrongly diagnosed for illnesses, or even more significantly, to remain undiagnosed for an illness that they might suffer from and need help with.
This edition of the DSM takes into account 20 years of new research about mental disorders, many of which had not been well defined in the previous version. One of these disorders, depression, which is also the topic of my interest, has always been difficult to diagnose because of its vagueness. The latest revision blurs the line between grief and depression, so someone who would have been exempt from a depression diagnosis earlier, might now be considered for it.
Prof. Allen Frances at Duke University notes that the dropping of these thresholds will cause more people to be diagnosed as being mentally sick, which may be harmful. While there is now a larger group of people who may become entitled to medical help, critics of the changes argue that a lot of people who do not need strong medical help, may become dependent on medication that they do not need.
The article provides an interesting vision into how random some thresholds are for diagnostic criteria and how it can become controversial thinking about where to draw the line. I strongly disagree with the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual because of the way patients are diagnosed. For depression you have to have suffered FIVE of around ten symptoms in order to be diagnosed, if you suffer four symptoms you're not diagnossed with depression, which is something i find very uncountable. I think many people were victims of this unaccurate system of disgnosis, it has to be changed soon.