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13967The meaning of mental illness (book reviews)

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  • Blue Pilgrim
    Nov 20, 2013


      The meaning of mental illness

      Don Lash reviews two books that discuss how mental illness is classified and treated.
      November 20, 2013


      THE DIAGNOSTIC and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, universally known as the DSM, has for the past six decades defined "normal" by providing categories for "abnormal." Although it has changed dramatically in its content and method, it has been maintained by its publisher, the American Psychiatric Association (APA), as a lucrative monopoly on psychiatric "nosology"--or the classification of diseases and disorders.

      The DSM purports to be wholly scientific, and the APA would like it to inspire confidence that diagnosis in psychiatry is just as reliable as in any other branch of medicine. The existence of the DSM, however, belies that pretension.
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