[act-ma] 5/09 The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry
cwelch at tecschange.org
Sun May 5 10:23:15 PDT 2013
Gary Greenberg <http://www.harvard.com/event/gary_greenberg/>
discusses /The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry/
in conversation with ERROL MORRIS
Thursday May 9, 2013 7:00 PM
Harvard Book Store 1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
For more than two years, author and psychotherapist Gary Greenberg has
embedded himself in the war that broke out over the fifth edition of the
/Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders/---the DSM---the
American Psychiatric Association's compendium of mental illnesses and
what Greenberg calls "the book of woe."
Since its debut in 1952, the book has been frequently revised, and with
each revision, the "official" view on which psychological problems
constitute mental illness. Homosexuality, for instance, was a mental
illness until 1973, and Asperger's gained recognition in 1994 only to
see its status challenged nearly twenty years later. Each revision has
created controversy, but the DSM-5, the newest iteration, has shaken
psychiatry to its foundations. The APA has taken fire from patients,
mental health practitioners, and former members for extending the reach
of psychiatry into daily life by encouraging doctors to diagnose more
illnesses and prescribe more therapies---often medications whose
efficacy is unknown and whose side effects are severe.
Critics---including Greenberg---argue that the APA should not have the
naming rights to psychological pain or to the hundreds of millions of
dollars the organization earns, especially when even the DSM's
staunchest defenders acknowledge that the disorders listed in the book
are not real illnesses.
Greenberg's account of the history behind the DSM, which has grown from
pamphlet-sized to encyclopedic since it was first published, and his
behind-the-scenes reporting of the deeply flawed process by which the
DSM-5 has been revised, is both riveting and disturbing. Anyone who has
received a diagnosis of mental disorder, filed a claim with an insurer,
or just wondered whether daily troubles qualify as true illness should
know how the DSM turns suffering into a commodity, and the APA into its
own biggest beneficiary. Invaluable and informative, /The Book of Woe/
is bound to spark intense debate among expert and casual readers alike.
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