The Wall Street Journal:
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is often called the “Bible” of psychiatric diagnosis, and the term is apt. The DSM consists of instructions from on high; readers usually disagree in their interpretations of the text; and believing it is an act of faith.
At least the Bible lists only 10 Commandments; the DSM grows by leaps and bounds with every revision. The first edition, published by the American Psychiatric Association in 1952, was a spiral-bound pamphlet that described 11 categories of mental disorder, including brain syndromes, personality problems and psychotic disorders. (The final category, “Nondiagnostic Terms for the Hospital Record,” contained Dead on Admission, the one diagnosis that psychiatrists have ever agreed on.) The DSM-II (1968) made homosexuality a mental disorder, a decision revoked by vote in 1973. In the general excitement about that progressive decision, few noted that voting didn’t seem to be the most scientific way of determining mental illness. Narcissistic Personality Disorder was voted out in 1968 and voted back in 1980; where did it go for 12 years?
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