What makes a person crazy? Nowadays it's the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV). For many mental health professionals, the DSM is an indispensable diagnostic tool, and as the standard reference book for psychiatrists and other psychotherapists everywhere, it has had an inestimable influence on the way we view other human beings. Deciding what we consider sane and normal, and reflecting the prejudices and values of each generation, it's not surprising that the DSM has become a battleground. But things have taken a strange turn. The fight is no longer about who escapes DSM labeling, but rather, how a person can qualify for a diagnosis. Now, mental health professionals must label their clients as pathological in order for them to be reimbursed by their insurance companies. This disturbing trend toward making us crazy when we are simply grappling with everyday concerns has even worse public implications. In Making Us Crazy, Professors Kutchins and Kirk reveal how the DSM is used to assassinate character and slander the opposition, often for political or monetary gain. None of this misuse bodes well for the future of mental health. Even children are being overdiagnosed and given drugs they don't need. Making Us Crazy is the long-needed antidote to the claims made about the DSM. Kutchins and Kirk argue that the DSM is not the scientifically based reference work it purports to be, but rather a collection of current phobias and popular mores.
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Used by doctors and therapists all around the country, the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is the closest thing America has to a bible of mental illness. Currently in its fourth edition, the DSM (as it's commonly called) classifies more than 200 disorders and their symptoms, from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to Generalized Anxiety Disorder and everything in between. In so doing, say Herb Kutchins and Stuart Kirk, the DSM applies the language of mental illness to everyday behavior, transforming ordinary reactions to life's vicissitudes into billable pathology.
In Making Us Crazy, Kutchins and Kirk have used 15 years of studying the DSM to produce a lengthy diatribe against its ever-growing list of psychiatric disorders and their overly inclusive symptoms, including bad handwriting, impulsive shopping sprees, and reckless driving. The DSM, they contend, is most influenced by the needs of the insurance industry; every illness comes with its own diagnostic code, widely used for insurance claim forms. Moreover, its choices of which disorders to include and exclude are widely influenced by social prejudices as well as special interests. Given the DSM's list of diagnostic criteria, it is possible to classify almost anyone with objectionable views or behavior that deviates from social norms as "crazy." But in doing so, any mental-health professional would be acting irresponsibly by ignoring the behavior's context--the one factor a reference such as the DSM cannot quantify.About the Author:
Herb Kutchins is professor of social work at California State University, Sacramento. He earned his doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley. In addition to his articles about psychiatric diagnosis, he has written about the fiduciary relationship, advocacy, and other issues involving law and social reform. He is currently doing research on prescription of psychotropic medication by nonphysicians.
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Book Description Constable & Robinson 2001-10, 2001. Book Condition: New. This item is printed on demand. Brand new book, sourced directly from publisher. Dispatch time is 24-48 hours from our warehouse. Book will be sent in robust, secure packaging to ensure it reaches you securely. Bookseller Inventory # NU-LSI-06867666
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