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Allen Frances
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Allen Frances MD is Professor Emeritus at Duke University and former Chair of its Department of Psychiatry. He was Chair of the DSM IV Task Force. He is the author of "Saving Normal" and "Essentials of Psychiatric Diagnosis."

Allen Frances was the chairperson of the DSM-IV Task Force, a former chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Duke University School of Medicine, and is the author of two new books: Saving Normal and Essentials of Psychiatric Diagnosis.

Entries by Allen Frances

Stigmatizing and Shunning the Severely Ill

(6) Comments | Posted July 30, 2014 | 7:28 PM

We are civilized people in the United States. We don't set up leper colonies or concentration camps or psychiatric snake pits to banish people with severe mental illness. Instead we send them to jail or prison -- almost 400,000 of them, more than 10 times the number receiving care in...

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Will $650 Million in Genetic Studies Solve the Mystery of Mental Illness?

(7) Comments | Posted July 24, 2014 | 4:54 PM

I am a great supporter of mental-health research but worry that it has lost its sense of proportion and is chasing the wrong priorities.

The really glamorous stuff consumes almost all of the enormous NIMH budget and now has behind it the huge addition of a $650-million private donation aimed...

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The U.S. Can't Afford to Continue the Death Penalty

(4) Comments | Posted June 27, 2014 | 10:05 PM

I am not strongly against the death penalty on principle or on moral grounds -- assuming, of course, that it could somehow be narrowly and efficiently restricted to a very few egregiously deserving and certainly guilty criminals.

I don't even find it particularly appalling (or cruel and unusual) punishment...

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The Mind of the Mass Murderer

(118) Comments | Posted June 1, 2014 | 12:00 PM

Mass murders are becoming a depressingly familiar routine in the United States -- we can now expect to experience a media grabbing shooting about once a month. And the frequency can only increase as future cohorts of copycat killers are spawned by the seductive opportunity to temporarily gain the spotlight.

...
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Does Pharma Have a Constitutional Right to Push Dangerous Drugs?

(70) Comments | Posted May 24, 2014 | 5:26 PM

Two contrasting news stories illustrate the ups and downs in the crucial David vs Goliath battle to contain the dangerous greed of drug companies.

Score one for David that two California counties are suing five makers of prescription narcotic drugs for their illegal and unethical off-label marketing practices....

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10,000 Young Toddlers Are on Stimulant Drugs for ADHD

(17) Comments | Posted May 17, 2014 | 3:03 PM

How crazy is it to drug babies?

It was shocking enough to discover that 20 percent of teenage boys get labelled as having ADHD, and 10 percent are on stimulant medications for it; that 11 percent of all kids aged 4-18 get the diagnosis of ADHD and 6 percent the...

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"These Days, You Have to Rob a Bank to Get Mental Health Treatment"

(6) Comments | Posted May 9, 2014 | 12:43 PM

This is a quote from a prison psychologist. She was not joking or exaggerating -- many of her imprisoned psychiatric patients had committed a fake crime to get "three hots and cot." And even more had been arrested for nuisance crimes easily avoided had they received anything approaching adequate treatment...

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My Prediction: The ADHD Fad Is About to Fade

(10) Comments | Posted April 23, 2014 | 4:44 PM

I have been blogging and tweeting about ADHD a lot lately because I believe that change is in the air.

This is the worst of times for ADHD diagnosis because statistics show it is wildly overdiagnosed and overtreated. This is possibly the best of times for ADHD diagnosis because...

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No Child Left Undiagnosed

(14) Comments | Posted April 12, 2014 | 3:39 PM

'Sluggish Cognitive Tempo' may possibly be the very dumbest and most dangerous diagnostic idea I have ever encountered.

And I have seen some beauts during my forty years of shooting down crazy new diagnostic dream lists. The wild suggestions are usually created by 'experts' brimfull with diagnostic exuberance...

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When It Comes to Mass Murder, Think Method and Means, Not Motive

(22) Comments | Posted April 10, 2014 | 4:30 PM

After every mass murder, the question everyone asks is why it happened. How could anyone possibly be so violent, or so evil, or so out of control, or so crazy as to engage in the wholesale and indiscriminate killing of a bunch of people who are usually complete strangers?

In...

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Packing More Heat Will Result in More Killings

(311) Comments | Posted April 4, 2014 | 10:27 AM

When public support for gun control peaked after the Newtown mass murder, the National Rifle Association decided to double down.

The NRA called in all its political chips to vigorously and successfully block even the mildest and most sensible of gun reform intended to limit easy access to military style...

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Treat the Classroom, Not the Kids

(1) Comments | Posted April 1, 2014 | 8:16 PM

The statistics tell us that our children are getting sicker and sicker. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has more than tripled in just 20 years; it is now diagnosed in 11 percent of all kids, and in an astounding 20 percent of teenage boys. Autism is also on a rapid rise;...

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Most Active Kids Don't Have ADHD

(3) Comments | Posted March 11, 2014 | 1:55 PM

We are overdiagnosing attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in kids and giving many of them stimulant drugs they don't need. Some kids, especially boys, are more active than others; most of what passes for ADHD these days is really no more than normal variation or developmental difference.

The numbers tell...

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Reported High Rates of Military Mental Illness Are Wrong and Dangerous

(5) Comments | Posted March 5, 2014 | 2:34 PM

The headline reads, "Study: Mental illness rate higher in soldiers."

The article goes on to offer alarming statistics:

The rate of major depression is five times as high among soldiers as civilians; intermittent explosive disorder, which results in episodes of extreme anger, is six times as high; and...
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Wolfish Radicals in Conservative Sheep's Clothing

(63) Comments | Posted February 27, 2014 | 2:33 PM

The media have adopted a new and dangerous convention. People who are radical in their goals and methods are routinely mislabeled 'conservative.'

Ted Nugent is described as a 'conservative' in pieces reporting that he believes President Obama to be a "subhuman mongrel" who leads a "Nazi" administration.

Edmund Burke,...

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Why Aren't We Buying Insurance Against Global Warming?

(85) Comments | Posted February 21, 2014 | 7:58 AM

Every responsible person carries insurance against all sorts of life's potential catastrophes. We don't think twice about buying health insurance, home insurance, car insurance, life insurance, liability insurance, and it goes on and on.

From a gambler's perspective, these are all sucker bets. Insurance companies make their big bucks by...

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How Parents Can Protect Kids From the ADHD 'Epidemic'

(7) Comments | Posted February 12, 2014 | 8:18 AM

Keith Conners can be considered the father of ADHD. He did the early studies, helped work out the definition, developed the most widely used diagnostic tools, and did research that led to treatment guidelines. He knows as much about ADHD as anyone on the planet.

In a recent

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Righting Wrongs, Setting the Record Straight and Making Amends

(0) Comments | Posted February 3, 2014 | 4:38 PM

In a previous blog post I expressed my remorse for not speaking out 20 years ago against the mass hysteria that led to the imprisonment of numerous innocent day center workers. They were charged with, and often imprisoned for, ridiculous crimes involving alleged sexual and satanic abuse of...

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Multiple Personality -- Is It Mental Disorder, Myth, or Metaphor?

(47) Comments | Posted January 30, 2014 | 11:12 AM

Richard Noll's excellent piece on the folly-filled history of Multiple Personality Disorder (aka Dissociative Identity Disorder) turned out to be too hot for Psychiatric Times to handle.

After having posted the blog, PsychTimes promptly unposted it. The quick turnaround was apparently occasioned by the fear that those named and blamed...

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Sex and Satanic Abuse: A Fad Revisited

(18) Comments | Posted January 28, 2014 | 3:10 PM

I have been so vocal in warning about DSM 5 partly because I'm ashamed of my silence in the face of a previous outrage that cried out for similar whistle blowing. The episode is recalled in a wonderful piece by Richard Noll that brings the history vividly back...

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