Contrarian Concepts

Letting Boys Be Boys, Not ADHD Diagnoses

On April 1, The New York Times reported on the startling fact that 11% of children in the United States are now diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). One in five young males of high school age now have the diagnosis. Among children between the ages of 4 and 17, million now bear the ADHD...
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Contrarian Concepts

Innocent Dangers: Simply Asking the Questions

“Has your child been evaluated for ADHD?” Many variations of this seemingly innocent question often serve as the beginning of a dangerous progression. Quite often, teachers, childcare workers, and even physicians untrained in understanding and diagnosing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) ask this question to parents.  However, frequently this question serves as more than...
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Contrarian Concepts

DSM-5: Reactions and Implications

After a long period of anticipation, input, and debate, the ‘Bible’ of mental health/disability diagnostic labels has been updated for the first time since 1994. DSM-5 is being widely discussed in terms of its utility, assumptions, and implications for both mental health professionals and the public (‘consumers’). There has long been debate about various...
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Contrarian Concepts

Should Your Response to Pain Be Considered “Abnormal”?

Somatic symptom disorder and DSM-5 The new category of “somatic symptom disorder” created for DSM-5 evaluates the coping abilities of people with chronic symptoms. Critics see this as a giant step backwards for people with poorly understood pain conditions—many who have fought for years for legitimacy—by labeling their struggles as psychiatric disorder. Nobody questions whether chronic pain would...
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Contrarian Concepts

Categories for Human Anguish? DSM-5: The New Inventory of “Mental Illnesses”

People who look for a consultation with a member of Princeton Family Institute engage in a relational process that is at the same time simple and profound. Parents who worry about a child, the partner in a couple who is confused and disappointed about the couple’s life together or an individual in distress or...
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Critiques of Diagnosis

Psychogenic Pain and Iatrogenic Suicide

A recent large-sample analysis investigated the association between several named chronic pain conditions and suicide.  This analysis provides suggestive evidence that thousands of patients who have been diagnosed with a psychiatric condition called “psychogenic pain” may have been placed at greater risk of suicide by the diagnostic label itself.  Like much of psychosomatic medicine,...
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Critiques of Diagnosis

Speaking in Code

The recent publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) has brought several new disorders into public consciousness while eliminating some old ones. As just two examples, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation disorder is in, but Asperger’s is out. The often-overlooked irony is that when it comes to diagnostic codes—the numeric or alphanumeric...
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Contrarian Concepts

Globalization, Emotions, and the Problematic DSM

Although the DSM started as a manual for practitioners, the lists of symptoms associated with its diagnoses are commonly known to the general public. Through exposure to direct-to-consumer advertising, health-focused websites, and the news, just about everyone can now diagnose themselves, their friends, and their family members — if not the coworker or ex-lover...
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Contrarian Concepts

DSM-5’s Somatic Symptom Disorder: From Medical Enigma to Psychiatric Sphinx

From there, after six days and seven nights, you arrive at Zobeide, the white city, well exposed to the moon, with streets wound about themselves as in a skein. They tell this tale of its foundation: men of various nations had an identical dream. They saw a woman running at night through an unknown...
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Critiques of Diagnosis

Humanizing Mental Health: Existentialism and the DSM-5

What is the link between existentialism and a manual that gives most people on the planet their mental health diagnoses? From Major Depressive Disorder, to ADHD, to Asperger’s Syndrome, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is the book in which psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals find the codes needed that...
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