Thursday, April 8, 2010

My DSM-5 Commentaries: In Search of Elephant, Willing to Settle for Hippopotamus

A quick update. In early February, the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-5 Task Force issued its Proposed Revisions to the next DSM, due out in 2013. Soon after, on this blog, I began writing some review pieces, which developed into Report Cards highly critical of the draft DSM-5's treatment of depression and bipolar.

This in turn led to my "People's DSM" with its own Alternative Depression Diagnosis and Alternative Bipolar Diagnosis.

The point of both exercises was to get us thinking about issues we tend to take for granted, but which have a profound impact on our well-being.

Needless to say, these are issues with a long shelf life. A blog, on the other hand, tends to be very ephemeral, based on what people do with yesterday's newspaper - namely, you wrap fish in it.

Consequently, I went over my DSM-5 pieces, worked them into article shape, then assembled them in a manner that allowed for coherent reading and review. Last night, I uploaded the effort to my website, McMan's Depression and Bipolar Web. My website is based on the concept of a reference library - information is stored there, in easy-to-find places, there when you need it.

Clicking on a link in the navigation bar on all 200 or so pages of the site takes you to a band new DSM-5 section with eight articles.

The Draft DSM-5: Rip it Up and Start Over is based on two or three blog pieces that first appeared here. The article gives historical background into mood disorders and how Freud and Kraepelin and their followers set the tone for DSMs I through IV. The article also details what went wrong with the draft DSM-5.

My Report Cards set out the issues the various DSM-5 working groups needed to consider, but failed to do, such as clarifying the relationship between unipolar depression and bipolar, rethinking bipolar as a cycling illness, doing something about the schizoaffective diagnosis, making symptom criteria gender-neutral, and so on. Thus:

Grading Depression
Grading Bipolar - Part I
Grading Bipolar - Part II

Think of my Report Cards as the background commentary to my People's DSM, in which I offer an alternative reality to the one imposed on us by the official DSM. Thus:

My Alternative Depression Diagnosis - Part I
My Alternative Depression Diagnosis - Part II
My Alternative Bipolar (Cycling) Diagnosis - Part I
My Alternative Bipolar (Cycling) Diagnosis - Part II

I make no claims to having a better view of reality. Reality is far too vast and elusive to stand still for our own convenience. Basically, we're the six blind men in search of the concept of "elephant." We're never going to achieve "elephant," but perhaps if we keep poking around long enough in the dark, we may come up with something that reasonably approximates elephant, such as "hippopotamus."

Anyway, I encourage you to visit my website, have a new look at points of view you first read about here, leave your comments, and come back here for who knows what we'll stumble upon next.

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