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Saturday, February 13, 2010


Not long ago, it would have been odd for a revision of a diagnostic and statistical manual to be the subject of an editorial in a major newspaper. But such is the significance of the DSM that the Los Angeles Times is weighing in:
The variety of criticisms reflects the fact that, compared with other fields of medicine, psychiatry lacks precision and that psychiatric classifications often have moral and political overtones.

With all its imperfections, the DSM serves an important purpose for psychiatrists and doctors in general practice. That doesn't mean therapists can't be alert to specific complaints from their patients that confound or combine the categories. As with the Bible, in some cases the manual should be taken not literally but seriously.
A useful article in The Economist explains DSM's evolution.