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Sunday, March 25, 2012

My Third Letter to the APA Trustees

A Poor Quality DSM-5 in Unacceptable

By Allen Frances, MD

DSM-5 press coverage has suddenly exploded—more than 100 stories from all around the world were published in just the last three weeks (see title and links below). The press is uniformly negative and extremely damaging to DSM-5, to APA, and to the credibility of psychiatry.

The APA responses have been few, unconvincing, and lacking in substance. Also troubling, 47 mental health organizations have expressed their opposition to DSM-5 by endorsing a petition requesting it to have a scientific review independent of APA. And many users are planning to boycott DSM-5 altogether by substituting ICD-10-CM (which will be freely available on the internet). It is fair to say that DSM-5 has become an object of general public and professional scorn.

What would Mel Sabshin be doing in this time of crisis? Of course, Mel never would have allowed APA to get into this mess—but once in any crisis he was an expert in damage control. Were he here today, Mel would certainly recommend that you immediately cut the DSM-5 losses to prevent its inflicting further damage on APA, on psychiatry, and most importantly on our patients.