DSM-​5 and diagnosing human pain and fear as a disease

800px-'In_Memoriam',_painting_by_Alfred_StevensIn Mem­o­rium
oil paint­ing
Alfred Stevens
between circa 1858 and circa 1861

When did life itself become a treat­able men­tal dis­or­der? by Patri­cia Pear­son at The Globe and Mail

It is a pecu­liar and reduc­tive logic about the nature of being human, this idea that grief – or stress, or binge­ing on pie – mer­its med­ical inter­ven­tion. And it is a logic that per­vades the DSM revi­sions, which is why the man­ual is prov­ing wildly con­tro­ver­sial on the eve of its unveiling.

Psy­chi­a­trists have resigned from the revi­sion work­ing groups to protest against var­i­ous cri­te­ria; open let­ters have been penned by the British Psy­cho­log­i­cal Soci­ety, and the Amer­i­can Soci­ety for Human­is­tic Psy­chol­ogy; peti­tions have been signed by thou­sands of mental-​health prac­ti­tion­ers; boy­cotts are being planned in both North Amer­ica and Europe. “I will not buy DSM-​5. I will not use it. I will not teach it,” psy­chi­a­trist Patrick Land­man, of Uni­ver­sité de Paris VII, declared in Psy­chol­ogy Today, where sev­eral pro­fes­sion­als have taken to voic­ing their fierce oppo­si­tion with ongo­ing blogs…

… As the man­ual grows (the orig­i­nal had 95 men­tal dis­or­ders; the last edi­tion, 283), they argue that it low­ers so many thresh­olds for being diag­nosed with minor men­tal ill­nesses that life, itself, becomes treat­able as disease.

The pro­posed revi­sions to Gen­er­al­ized Anx­i­ety Dis­or­der, for instance, drop the bar prac­ti­cally to the level of being wor­ried about your job and hav­ing mus­cle ten­sion. You need to have one of four symp­toms, accord­ing to psy­chi­a­trists who have seen the draft, and be wor­ry­ing “exces­sively” about at least two areas of your life. Your job and your finances, say. How wor­ried is too wor­ried? What is wrong with waves of dread when your bank account dwin­dles to zero?

Allen Frances, a U.S. psy­chi­a­trist and pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus at Duke Uni­ver­sity who over­saw the pre­vi­ous DSM revi­sions in 1994, calls this “a trav­esty of care­less sug­ges­tions that will likely turn our cur­rent diag­nos­tic infla­tion into hyperinflation.”

One of the most decried DSM revi­sions involves the intro­duc­tion of “Somatic Symp­tom Dis­or­der,” which will be diag­nosed in a patient who dis­plays “exces­sive and dis­pro­por­tion­ate thoughts, feel­ings and behav­iours” in rela­tion to an ill­ness. It doesn’t have to be an imag­ined ill­ness, or a med­ically unex­plained ill­ness. It can be can­cer, or gout. If you are plagued by chronic pain, let us say, and fret about it a lot, then your physi­cian can decide that you are being unrea­son­able, and thus declare you disordered.

sexual harassment in Philosophy departments

Sto­ries of harass­ment being taken seri­ously? Jen­der at What Is It Like to Be a Woman in Phi­los­o­phy? is ask­ing peo­ple in the philo­soph­i­cal com­mu­nity if they have a story of sex­ual harass­ment being taken seri­ously (in their philo­soph­i­cal community).

highest costs for medical care

The Cul­prit Behind High U.S. Health Care Prices by Uwe E. Rein­hardt at The New York Times

The $2.7 Tril­lion Med­ical Bill by Elis­a­beth Rosen­thal at The New York Times

…in Keene, N.H., Matt Meyer’s colonoscopy was billed at $7,563.56. Mag­gie Christ of Chap­paqua, N.Y., received $9,142.84 in bills for the pro­ce­dure. In Durham, N.C., the charges for Cur­tiss Dev­ereux came to $19,438, which included a polyp removal. While their insur­ers nego­ti­ated down the price, the final tab for each test was more than $3,500

…In many other devel­oped coun­tries, a basic colonoscopy costs just a few hun­dred dol­lars and cer­tainly well under $1,000. That chasm in price helps explain why the United States is far and away the world leader in med­ical spend­ing, even though numer­ous stud­ies have con­cluded that Amer­i­cans do not get bet­ter care.

Explain­ing High Health Care Spend­ing in the United States: An Inter­na­tional Com­par­i­son of Sup­ply, Uti­liza­tion, Prices, and Qual­ity by David A. Squires, M. A. at The Com­mon­Wealth Fund

the “Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program” and other multi-​million dollar psychobabble

How Psy­chol­o­gists Meet the Needs of the “Power Struc­ture”: A Talk at the Psy­chol­o­gists for Social Respon­si­bil­ity Con­fer­ence by Bruce Levine, Ph.D. at Mad in Amer­ica (empha­sis added)

Also at the tip of this ice­berg of how psy­chol­o­gists have met the needs of the power struc­ture are the efforts of per­haps the most famous aca­d­e­mic psy­chol­o­gist in the U.S., who is also a for­mer pres­i­dent of the APA, a man who once did some worth­while work with learned help­less­ness. Of course, I’m talk­ing about Mar­tin Selig­man, who more recently has con­sulted with the U.S. army’s Com­pre­hen­sive Sol­dier Fit­ness pro­gram — this for not only social posi­tion and rank but for sev­eral mil­lion dol­lars for his Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia Pos­i­tive Psy­chol­ogy Cen­ter, accord­ing to the Philadel­phia Inquirer, which quoted Selig­man say­ing, “We’re after cre­at­ing an indomitable military.”

To give you an exam­ple of how pos­i­tive psy­chol­ogy is used in this Com­pre­hen­sive Sol­dier Fit­ness pro­gram, in one role play, a sergeant is asked to take his exhausted men on one more dif­fi­cult mis­sion, and the sergeant is ini­tially angry say­ing that “It’s not fair”; but in the role play, he’s “reha­bil­i­tated” to reframe the order as a com­pli­ment, con­clud­ing, “Maybe he’s hit­ting us because he knows we’re more reliable.”

This is PERFECT— All my sis­ters and broth­ers who have been raped by their fel­low sol­diers in the mil­i­tary, repeat after me:


The Com­pre­hen­sive Sol­dier Fit­ness Pro­gram by Tam B at His­to­ries of Things to Come

The Enemy Within: Nearly 20,000 ser­vice mem­bers are raped or sex­u­ally assaulted each year by preda­tors who often evade pun­ish­ment. How can the Pen­ta­gon stop them? by James Kit­field at National Jour­nal

McClen­don says she was assaulted again by an inves­ti­ga­tor while based in Nor­folk, Va. This time, when she reported the attack, her lieu­tenant called her a “whore” and sent her to a Navy ther­a­pist, who sug­gested that she was a bad fit for the Navy. “Essen­tially, I was diag­nosed with a per­son­al­ity dis­or­der for fail­ing to adjust ade­quately to being raped,” McClen­don says, even though “bor­der­line psy­chotics … could never make it through boot camp.”

mass murder and white middle class men


But what about the men? On mas­culin­ity and mass shoot­ings by Meghan Mur­phy at Fem­i­nist Current

In 2007, 23-​year-​old Seung-​Hui Cho opened fire at Vir­ginia Tech, killing 32 peo­ple before tak­ing his own life. Cho’s behav­iour at Vir­ginia Tech, prior to the shoot­ing, was said to be ‘trou­bling’. He had been harass­ing female stu­dents and tak­ing pic­tures of their legs under desks. Cho had been accused of stalk­ing female stu­dents on three sep­a­rate occa­sions. Sup­pos­edly he left a note “rag­ing against women and rich kids.” After the Vir­ginia Tech mas­sacre, the national con­ver­sa­tion turned, once again, to bul­ly­ing, to men­tal ill­ness, and to gun laws.

This past year, 24-​year-​old James Holmes opened fire in a movie the­ater in Aurora, Col­orado shoot­ing 71 peo­ple. Twelve peo­ple died. Holmes had a his­tory of solic­it­ing pros­ti­tutes. One of the women he’d bought sex from claimed that he was aggres­sive, con­trol­ling, and vio­lent with her, grab­bing her hair and hold­ing her wrists and hands so tightly that she was left with bruises. The Aurora shoot­ing reignited the gun con­trol debate. Some looked to vio­lence in the media as a fac­tor, while oth­ers pointed out that Holmes was men­tally ill.

In the midst of all this hor­ror, we are, under­stand­ably, up in arms, demand­ing change, griev­ing all the while. But within all this right­eous anger, we are very care­fully tip­toe­ing around the com­mon denominator.

In 31 of the school shoot­ings that have taken place since 1999, the mur­der­ers were all men. Out of the 62 mass mur­ders which hap­pened over the past 30 years, only one of those shoot­ers was a woman. The over­whelm­ing major­ity of the gun­men were white…

… “Imag­ine if 61 out of 62 mass killings were done by women? Would that be seen as merely inci­den­tal and rel­e­gated to the mar­gins of dis­course?” Katz asks, “No. It would be the first thing peo­ple talked about.”

In the U.S., where health care is pri­va­tized, it’s true that many peo­ple don’t have ade­quate access to men­tal health ser­vices. Racial and eth­nic minori­ties are even less likely to have access to health ser­vices, as well as, more gen­er­ally the poor and unem­ployed. But not only are these mass shoot­ings com­mit­ted largely by white men, but by mid­dle class white men. If this were pri­mar­ily an issue of peo­ple not hav­ing access to men­tal health ser­vices, it would stand to rea­son that far more mass shoot­ings would be per­pe­trated by poor minori­ties, par­tic­u­larly women of color.

But we’re talk­ing white, mid­dle class men — the mem­bers of this soci­ety who have the most priv­i­lege and the most power. The ques­tion every­one should be ask­ing is not: “Where did he get the gun?” or “Why wasn’t he on med­ica­tion?” But: “What is hap­pen­ing with white men?”

state sanctioned murder


Texas Says It’s OK to Shoot an Escort If She Won’t Have Sex With You by Mag­gie Lange at Bitch Mag­a­zine

A jury in Bexar County, Texas just acquit­ted Ezekiel Gilbert of charges that he mur­dered a 23-​year-​old Craigslist escort — agree­ing that because he was attempt­ing to retrieve the $150 he’d paid to Lenora Ivie Frago, who wouldn’t have sex with him, his actions were justified.

Gilbert had admit­ted to shoot­ing Frago in the neck on Christ­mas Eve 2009, when she accepted $150 from Gilbert and left his home with­out hav­ing sex with him. Frago, who was par­a­lyzed by the shoot­ing, died sev­eral months later.

Gilbert’s defense argued that the shoot­ing wasn’t meant to kill, and that Gilbert’s actions were jus­ti­fied, because he believed that sex was included as part of the fee. Texas law allows peo­ple “to use deadly force to recover prop­erty dur­ing a night­time theft.”

Texas man acquit­ted in Craigslist escort mur­der by Katie Mcdo­nough at ONTD Polit­i­cal

Frago died of her injuries seven months after Gilbert shot her.Texas law allows the use of deadly force to recover prop­erty dur­ing a night­time theft, but pros­e­cu­tor Matt Lovell argued that a theft never occurred, as the San Anto­nio Express-​News reported in May:

This case is about a man who got upset about the ser­vices he felt he deserved,” [Lovell] said. “He felt he deserved sex.”

In real­ity, said wit­ness Christo­pher “Topher” Perkins, who posted ads for Frago and took a cut of her earn­ings, the $150 Gilbert paid for a half-​hour with her did not include a guar­an­tee of sex.

Lenora nor­mally would do lap dances and hang­ing out. That was her thing,” he said. “Her reg­u­lar cus­tomers were all quiet, reserved guys and she would hang out.”

abuse of power: rape and sexual violence in the juvenile justice system


photo by Richard Ross
Rape and Other Sex­ual Vio­lence Preva­lent in Juve­nile Jus­tice Sys­tem by by Joaquin Sapien at Prop­ub­lica

Hun­dreds of teen-​agers are raped or sex­u­ally assaulted dur­ing their stays in the country’s juve­nile deten­tion facil­i­ties, and many of them are vic­tim­ized repeat­edly, accord­ing to a U.S. Depart­ment of Jus­tice survey.

The teens are most often assaulted by staff mem­bers work­ing at the facil­i­ties, and fully 20 per­cent of those vic­tim­ized by the men and women charged with pro­tect­ing and coun­sel­ing them said they had been vio­lated on more than 10 occasions.

Today’s report illus­trates the fun­da­men­tal fail­ure of many juve­nile deten­tion facil­i­ties to keep their youth safe,” said Louisa Stan­now, exec­u­tive direc­tor of Just Deten­tion Inter­na­tional, a California-​based health and human rights organization.

The Jus­tice Depart­ment sur­vey — cov­er­ing both secure juve­nile deten­tion facil­i­ties and group homes, the less restric­tive set­tings into which trou­bled young­sters are often ordered — involved more than 8,500 boys and girls. In all, 1,720 of those sur­veyed reported being sex­u­ally assaulted.

Allen Beck, the author of the report, said that the rates of staff-​on-​inmate abuse among juve­niles are “about three times higher than what we find in the adult arena.”

James O’Keefe— what only “real” bad mainstream journalists can allow