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International Mental Health Experts Call for Boycott of DSM5

International Mental Health Experts Call for Boycott of DSM5

An international campaign to boycott the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM5), about to be published by the American Psychiatric Association, was launched this week.

On Wednesday, the website was opened by a committee of 40 prominent psychologists, psychiatrists, other professionals, and representatives of service users’ organizations, from seven countries, including Australia and New Zealand.

The website, which includes a video statement by Dr Allen Frances, who coordinated the previous edition (DSM 4), argues that DSM5:
• Includes many diagnostic categories with questionable reliability;
• Did not receive a much-needed and widely requested external scientific review;
• May compromise patient safety through lowered diagnostic thresholds and the introduction of new diagnostic categories that do not have sufficient empirical backing;
• Is the result of a process that gives the impression of putting institutional needs ahead of public welfare.
• May result in the mislabeling of mental illness in people who would fare better without a psychiatric diagnosis;
• May result in unnecessary and potentially harmful treatment with psychiatric medication;
• May divert precious mental health resources away from those who most need them.

‘These concerns should be resolved through concerted, interprofessional, international dialogue and scientific research. Until then, because there are safe and legal alternatives, clinicians, researchers, journal editors, healthcare planners, managers & commissioners, the pharmaceutical industry, and the media should avoid use of DSM-5 wherever possible.’

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