The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) has added several new mental disorders. Close to fifty percent of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental disorder at some point during their lives, at least based on the DSM–4. However, according to a recent article by Slate Magazine, the DSM-5 will likely cause that number to grow even higher. Although the article points out that clinicians are increasingly able to detect mental illness and that Americans are suffering from higher rates of mental illness, it also postulates that the definition of mental illness has broadened. Significantly, the article questions why the definition of mental illness in American culture has continued to expand. As a potential explanation, the article points out that in order for doctors and pharmaceutical manufacturers to be compensated by insurers, psychological treatments must have an underlying diagnosis. Furthermore, the push from the pharmaceutical industry to employ medications “off-label” has led to less rigorous diagnostic criteria and to the creation of additional diagnoses. In addition, the article argues that work expectations, a culture focused on instant gratification, and eligibility criteria for government programs have also contributed to the expanding definition of mental illness.
Read the original article here.