Director of top research organization for mental health criticizes DSM for lack of validity

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f2954 (Published 8 May 2013)
Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2954

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  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

Just weeks before the release of the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the director of the country’s leading research organization on mental health has criticized its inadequacies.

Thomas Insel, director of the United States National Institute of Mental Health, wrote in a blog posted on the institute’s website that the manual had been useful because it provided labels and definitions that created a common language for describing psychopathology.1

“The strength of each of the editions of DSM has been ‘reliability’—each edition has ensured that clinicians used the same terms the same ways,” Insel wrote. “The weakness is its lack of validity.” …

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