on 25 November 2000
Attention all mental health practitioners! Do you strive to be "evidence based" in all that you do? Do you accept only scientific studies as constituting "evidence" on topics of diagnosis and treatment?
Most importantly, do you choose to refer to the DSM-IV (or earlier editions) to make definitive, scientific diagnoses?
Well, read this book to have your blinkers removed! The authors (a professor of social work and a professor of social care) argue persuasively that a large number of the identified behavioural disorders are defined because of political, social and economic reasons, sometimes with no scientific backing at all - sometimes even in direct contradiction to scientific evidence available.
This book however is no "anti-psychiatry" rant. Instead, the authors acknowledge the "reality" of mental illness, and the pain and suffering that it causes to many people and their families.
What they do object to is the increasing "medicalisation" of behaviours which never before have been considered "disorders" and which stigmatises the individual AND significantly alters peoples' rights in areas such as the courts and employment.
Don't unthinkingly refer to the DSM in the assumption that it is a valid, scientific resource...read this book and have your assumptions about mental disorders challenged.