The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is often called the “Bible” of psychiatric diagnosis, and the term is apt. The DSM consists of instructions from on high; readers usually disagree in their interpretations of the text; and believing it is an act of faith.
The DSM-II (1968) made homosexuality a mental disorder, a decision revoked by vote in 1973…Narcissistic Personality Disorder was voted out in 1968 and voted back in 1980; where did it go for 12 years? Doctors don’t vote on whether pneumonia is a disease.
The new DSM-5, with its modernized Arabic number, is 947 pages. It contains, along with serious mental illnesses, “binge-eating disorder” (whose symptoms include “eating when not feeling physically hungry”), “caffeine intoxication,” “parent-child relational problem” and my favorite, “antidepressant discontinuation syndrome.” Now psychiatrists can treat the symptoms of going off antidepressants, which is good because the expanded criteria for many disorders allows doctors to prescribe antidepressants more often for more problems. Gone is the “bereavement exemption,” for example. You used to get two weeks after a loved one died before you could be diagnosed with major depression and medicated. Now you get two minutes.
More at the WSJ.