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The History and Tyranny of the DSM

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The History and Tyranny of the DSM - Psychology Tomorrow MagazinePsychology Tomorrow Magazine

But unlike a criminal code, the DSM does not prescribe punishments. It prescribes “treatments” through expensive pharmaceutical products. This, in turn, has led to a medicalized–and medicated–population. It has led to an analyzed, branded, categorized, demonized, drugged population, even when drugs may do nothing to relieve their pain. Worse, the DSM inflicts permanent psychological damage through the “life sentences” it imposes on its subjects, labeling them as “abnormal,” “deviant,” “mentally ill,” or “sick.”

Unquestionably, the DSM wields enormous power. It is accepted as scientific authority by clinicians, researchers, drug regulation agencies, health insurance companies, the court system, legislatures, and policy makers. Its categorical definitions of “mental illness” sway official opinion and authorize involuntary medical treatment. It purports to speak for our society, telling its readers who does not belong, whose behavior is dangerous, and who needs “help.” In the process, it assumes a guardian-like role, enshrining itself as the enforcer of normal living, normal behavior, normal thought. In every sense, the DSM is a moral work as much as an allegedly “scientific” one: It vindicates the “normal” against all else, as if such a thing as normal ever existed at all.

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