Is the DSM-5 — the book professionals and researchers use to diagnose mental disorders — leading us to a society that embraces “over-diagnosis”? Or was this trend of creating “fad” diagnoses started long before the DSM-5 revision process — perhaps even starting with the DSM-IV before it?
Allen Frances, who oversaw the DSM-IV revision process and has been an outspoken critic of the DSM-5, suggests melodramatically that “normality is an endangered species,” due in part to “fad diagnoses” and an “epidemic” of over-diagnosing, ominously suggesting in his opening paragraph that the “DSM5 threatens to provoke several more [epidemics].”
First, when a person starts throwing around a term such as “over diagnosing,” my first question is, “How would we know we’re ‘over diagnosing’ a condition, versus gaining a better understanding of a disorder and its prevalence within modern society?” How can we determine what is being accurately, better and more frequently diagnosed today, versus a disorder that is being “over diagnosed” — that is, being diagnosed when it shouldn’t be due to marketing, education or some other factor.
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