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Diagnostic Accretion in Shadow

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Christopher Lane at the L.A. Times has this op-ed on the development of the forthcoming 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. As noted before, it's a solid bet the diagnostic manual will grow with each edition:

Over the summer, a wrangle between eminent psychiatrists that had been brewing for months erupted in print. Startled readers of Psychiatric News saw the spectacle unfold in the journal's normally less-dramatic pages. The bone of contention: whether the next revision of America's psychiatric bible, the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders," should be done openly and transparently so mental health professionals and the public could follow along, or whether the debates should be held in secret.

One of the psychiatrists (former editor Robert Spitzer) wanted transparency; several others, including the president of the American Psychiatric Assn. and the man charged with overseeing the revisions (Darrel Regier), held out for secrecy. Hanging in the balance is whether, four years from now, a set of questionable behaviors with names such as "Apathy Disorder," "Parental Alienation Syndrome," "Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder," "Compulsive Buying Disorder," "Internet Addiction" and "Relational Disorder" will be considered full-fledged psychiatric illnesses.

Hat tip: Mind Hacks

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My favorite is "Intermittent Explosive Disorder", where the sufferer acts normal most of the time, but at unpredictable intervals can go completely bonkers. An IED diagnosis can come in handy when the sufferer commits some out-of- character act, such as, for example, murder. Whoops, there goes the old IED again!

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