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Some of the Empty Arguments Against the DSM-5

I constantly struggle with the backlash against the DSM 5 -- the latest revision of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. Every medical text is revised decade after decade with little significant argument.

But when it comes to mental disorders, apparently there's a different standard for them -- one that is neither equal nor fair when compared to their medical brethren.

The latest article on the controversy comes from Rob Waters writing his hyperbole earlier this week over at (ridiculous sample: "As the task force producing it has posted drafts on its website, an undercurrent of dissatisfaction has exploded into a full-scale revolt by members of U.S. and British psychological and counseling organization." [emphasis added]). Repeating many tired phrases like "bible of mental health" in reporting on this story, it's not exactly clear there's any objectiveness. Instead, it's heavily slanted toward the opponents of the revision of the manual.

The proponents are led, ironically, by the former head of the last revision process, creating the DSM-IV, Allen Frances, who gleefully blogs about all the problems he sees in the DSM-5 revision process over at Psychology Today.

It gets even more ironic when you look at the criticisms leveled at the DSM-5 -- criticisms that began a long time ago, in a revision we're all familiar with called... yes, you guessed it, the DSM-IV.

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Top 10 Psychology and Mental Health Topics of 2011

Ah, another year draws to a close, and we here at Psych Central are making our lists and checking them twice. No, wait, that was last week. This week, we're just making lists (no, we don't have OCD).

It's been another record-breaking year here at Psych Central, as we now see more than 2 million people each month visit our sites and self-help support groups. They come here not only to learn about a mental health concern, but also about common psychological topics and issues, and to learn how to improve their relationships and parenting skills. We're growing all of these topics in 2012, because how you live your life is interwoven with so much of psychology and understanding ourselves.

The good news about 2012 is that every new year brings with it the possibility of a new start and changing some of those aspects about yourself that you admit could use a little improvement. We'll be here for you to help you with those goals, and to provide you thousands of new articles on these topics from experts, professionals and people just like you.

Click through to see our top 10 lists for the World of Psychology blog, our entire blog network, and from our news bureau.

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Making New Year’s Resolutions? Ask Yourself These 6 Important Questions

Forty-four percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. I should know, since I always do.

In fact, I’m more inclined to make resolutions than ever, because if my happiness project has convinced me of anything, it has convinced me that resolutions -- made right -- can make a huge difference in boosting happiness.

So how do you resolve well? This is trickier than it sounds. Here are some tips for making your resolutions as effective as possible.

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Best of Our Blogs: December 30, 2011

I remember the day I discovered there was no Santa Claus. I was about seven years old when my mom told my aunt I no longer believed in him (even though I secretly did). My aunt responded, "Don't tell your cousin, he doesn't know yet."

My heart sank. I was at the age where I was starting to see the strings holding up the balloons at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, when magic shows didn't seem so magical anymore. But I was simultaneously hoping that mystery, magic and fantasy were still out there, I just hadn't found it yet.

It's that same desire that fuels us to create New Year's resolutions every year--the belief that merely writing what we want can miraculously make them appear. It's also why we're drawn to articles on happiness and longevity like the ones below. There is an inner child in all of us that still wants to believe in the unknown-that just like in the movies a snap of a finger, a wish with eyes close, a new diet, a juicer, a smartphone will suddenly make our lives better and everything we want will suddenly come true.

The good news is that real change will last long after we've opened and gotten bored with that sought after Christmas gift. You can, for example, learn how to create your own magic by working on mastering envy or engaging in activities to make you happy. Maybe it's not the magic wand you wanted when you were a kid, but trust me, this gift's much better.
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Best of the Web

Top 10 Mental Health Videos of 2011

Inspiring. Sobering. Entertaining. Touching. Enriching.

This year has been great for brain and behavior videos, with an ever-growing number of lectures and educational videos appearing online, as well as savvy homemade videos in social media. Conversations about mental health are increasingly entering the mainstream, and videos like these spark dialogue, reduce ignorance, assist viewers, and fight stigma. They're also a great distraction, and a way to relax without feeling guilty about wasting time.

Each of the videos on this list has been chosen as being among the best of its kind made this year, ranging from a contest winner to viral videos to high profile lectures. With so much great work out there, I can't wait to see more in 2012 (follow Channel N to view what I find).

But first, let's celebrate 2011 in videos.

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Which Love Language Suits You and Your Partner?

The other weekend, I read Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages, and I found it fascinating. (I have to confess: the book caught my attention because it's always clustered near, and above, The Happiness Project on the New York Times bestseller list.)

One of the tensions within happiness, for me, is that I’m both more like other people than I suppose, and less like other people than I suppose. For instance, I thought I was the only person who struggled to spend out, but now I realize that many people feel this, too. Same with drift. I’d suffered from drift in my life, but I didn’t realize how many others had also found themselves drifting.

On the other hand, it’s easy to assume that other people are like me, when they really aren’t. Until I understood the abstainer/moderator split, I couldn’t understand why moderators didn’t just give up their temptations cold turkey. Or why Eeyores clung so tightly to their worldview.

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A Doctor Who’s Thankful for Mom with Schizophrenia

Anyone who's experienced a loved one -- whether a family member or friend -- who has schizophrenia knows it is often an unpredictable and sometimes-scary relationship. Scary because you're never quite sure what's coming next, or how a particular hallucination might manifest itself in the person's behavior or decisions.

But schizophrenia, like all mental illness, can also be a teacher. Albeit often a hard one.

Dr. Anne Aspler, writing in the Globe and Mail earlier this week, recounts her experiences in what she's learned in growing up with a mother who suffers from schizophrenia, and the fear she lived in during her early adulthood that she, too, might suffer from this disorder.

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Do Your Thoughts Deserve a Soundtrack? ‘One Hello World’ Thinks So

Earlier this year, I introduced World of Psychology readers to the One Hello World project in a post about how my panic attacks sometimes grow rosy in retrospect.

One Hello World is a man, a phone number, and a few musical instruments. Here's the premise: anyone who wants to tell a story can call (316) 247-0421 and leave an anonymous voice mail message.

"Max," the mind behind this Postsecret-esque project, will then compose a musical soundtrack to correspond with your story. He posts the completed tracks to his website at

If you couldn't guess by the quotes, "Max" isn't his real name. Why the pseudonym, you might ask?

"I just don't plaster my name all over the thing," Max explained, "since One Hello World isn't really about me."

That's because it's about you. And me. And you, and you, and you.

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7 Relationship-Boosting Resolutions to Make As a Couple

As you’re creating your resolutions for 2012, don’t forget about your relationship. Making goals together can greatly improve your relationship in the New Year.

Below, Terri Orbuch, author of 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great, offers seven resolutions to help improve your relationship.

Even if you don’t adopt these goals, take some time to consider your relationship priorities and values and figure out what goals you’d like to set as a couple.

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9 Tips for Setting Authentic New Year’s Resolutions

One of the biggest reasons so many of us hold disdain for New Year’s resolutions or abandon our original goals come February is because we tend to pick goals that aren’t meaningful to us.

According to Rachel Cole, a coach, consultant and retreat hostess, “Oftentimes we get swept up in popular resolution group-think: Lose weight! Find more life balance! Save enough to buy those designer shoes!”

So what does it mean to set resolutions that stay true to you? “Authentic resolutions reflect our values,” Cole said. “Our values are our unique thumbprints for fulfillment and they are perfect guides for setting authentic resolutions."

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Why Do Some People Want To Be Alone on Christmas?

Well, Christmas has passed and we are here, happy after all the celebration, wondering how 2012 will treat us and thinking deep inside “damn, I don’t want to go back to work…” with a sad feeling added.

Most of us were lucky and celebrated with family, friends or strangers, but I’m sure some of you didn’t. Some of you probably celebrated Christmas alone, perhaps watching TV, or that new film “New Year,” who knows...

The thing is that some people -- maybe not you, but some people -- like to spend Christmas alone. People change, so maybe next year you’ll want to.

Every day, every year, we spend most of our time working, studying, and taking too little time to relax and do things we like without being concerned for the consequences (which in most cases are nonexistent). People are like water balloons. You can keep filling them with water until they explode, or fill them to the top, and keep it stored that way: The balloon loses force on the elastic plastic and sometimes it breaks. In other words, people can stand a lot of bad things, and store bad feelings until a certain point, where they might explode. Of course, some people can stand more than others.
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Best of Our Blogs: December 27, 2011

Observe a child and you'll witness the gift of full expression. He may cry because he felt left out. She cries because she feels scared of a big crowd. But as we get older instead of voicing how we feel, we block them. We learn to stifle our inner voice in order to appease a parent or to fit in. Instead of saying, "I'm hurt because I wasn't included" or "I was scared because I felt abandoned," we get angry, close up, shut down, stop listening.

I think the gifts these posts bring this week is a reminder that we not only have a voice, but using it is the best gift we can give ourselves. It's one of my favorite wrap-ups of our best blogs of the week. These posts remind me that it's okay to not be nice all the time, that showing my vulnerable, unlovable side is scary and that it can even ruffle feathers sometimes. But the alternative, holding it all in, hiding what's real because it feels safe, is not a way I want to live. And you don't deserve to live that way either.

As you'll read below, when we're able to give wholeheartedly to ourselves, we become better partners, parents, people. In fact, just taking the time to read these posts, could be one of the best gifts you give yourself.
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