Encountering the Family Research Council's Peter Sprigg in the D.C. Council Chambers on June 27 took me back five years to our battles over the District's marriage equality bill. This time it was a hearing on a bill to prohibit conversion therapy for minors.
Psychiatry is a noble and essential calling that should not be judged by the faltering incompetence of the American Psychiatric Association. We need to rectify the mistakes of the past if we are to establish the much needed higher standards for the future.
I have known hundreds of patients who were not helped or were directly harmed by psychiatry. But I have also known many thousands of patients who have benefited greatly. The overall results in psychiatry are quite good and compare favorably to other medical specialties.
We were told prior to its publication that DSM-5 would be a 'living document' subject to correction. It turns out that this correction needs to begin right now -- DSM-5 in its current form is unacceptably imprecise and cries out for an immediate and thorough re-editing.
As every other medical field has been driven by high tech and dynamic science, psychiatry has spent decades refining the art of trial and error. With more patients every year suffering from mental health disorders, it's time to take the lessons we've learned in the rest of medicine.
As writers, it's important to know that "what" you write and "why" you do so will surely express "who" you are. Perhaps, that's why the APA session on writing was so powerful and pertinent for psychiatrists, and the rest of us.
The point of coming out and living free and equal is to allow all to not have to create memories based on shame and fear, to allow a life and its remembrance to be based on the emotions that we all have as human beings but which are grossly distorted by the closet.
We still have to rely on DSM to diagnose illness, but thanks to Dr. Insel the end of that state of affairs is a step closer. The identification and treatment of mental illness is about to leave the realm of psychiatry and enter the science of neurology.
The flat out rejection of DSM-5 by National Institute of Mental Health is a sad moment for mental health and an unsafe one for our patients. The APA and NIMH are both letting us down, failing to be safe custodians for the mental health needs of our country.
"Getting old is wonderful," my neighbor Robert Akeley told me with a smile, his blue eyes lighting up, when I asked him for the single most important message he'd like to pass on to Huffington Post readers.
In May, 2013, the paradigm for the way the medical profession view transgender people changes -- soon we will no longer be classified as having a "mental disorder." The American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic manual is being updated and the "disorder" stigma soon to be removed.
The American Psychiatric Association has proven itself incompetent to produce a safe and scientifically sound diagnostic system. Psychiatric diagnosis has become too important in people's lives to be left in the hands of one small and insulated professional organization.
Is there a last-minute way for the DSM-5 to restore some of its lost credibility? A great deal of irrevocable damage has been done, but I have four simple suggestions that would help reduce the harm done by the DSM-5 and demonstrate that the APA has regained its integrity.
You may have already heard our big news in psychiatry: The first major revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) since the mid-1990s has just been approved by American Psychiatric Association's Board of Trustees. And the new DSM-5 will be published in May.
My best advice to clinicians, to the press, and to the general public -- be skeptical and don't follow DSM-5 blindly down a road likely to lead to massive over-diagnosis and harmful over-medication. Just ignore the 10 changes that make no sense.