I’m sicker than I thought I was
|DSM: Get your hernia belt
on for the fifth edition.
One thing I like about being a psychologist is that you get the occasional call from journalists asking interesting questions. The one who phoned the other day was making a radio programme about new mental illnesses. She was referring to the soon-to-be released fifth edition of the diagnostic ‘Bible’, the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association). This newest version is set to classify even more experiences and behaviours as ‘mental disorders’ than its predecessors. For example, binge eating is to become a disease, and in future you may also need expert treatment if you spend too long in front of your computer (‘internet addiction’). Each edition of the DSM introduces us to new diseases. The first edition, published in 1952, was 132 pages long. The 1987 edition (DSM III-R) was 569 pages. By the time the current edition was published in 2000, it had swelled to 943 pages. I wonder how many pages long DSM-V will be, and how many strong men it will take to lift it.
|A pill for every ill? So what might
greater diagnosis mean?