The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry

The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry

by Gary Greenberg

In this excerpt from his best-selling exposé, The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry, psychotherapist Gary Greenberg pulls back the curtain on the DSM's surprising evolution and deconstructs the very notion of "diagnosing" our clients.
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    Editor's Note: The following is excerpted from The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry by Gary Greenberg. Published by arrangement with Blue Rider Press, a member of Penguin Group (USA).

     

    In 2002, the APA officially announced that [the DSM-IV] had had its day. In A Research Agenda for DSM‑V, a book that kicked off the official revision effort, the APA acknowledged that the reification of the DSM‑IV’s categories, “to the point that they are considered to be the equivalent of diseases,” had most likely “hindered research.” Nor was “research exclusively focused on refining the DSM-defined syndromes [likely to] be successful in uncovering their underlying etiologies.” Searching for the causes of the illnesses listed in the DSM was proving to be not unlike a drunk looking for his car keys under a streetlight even if that’s not where he dropped them. Scientists were unlikely to find the causes of Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Major Depressive Disorder or any of the other DSM categories­—as descriptive psychiatrists had been promising to do since Kraepelin—because it increasingly seemed unlikely that they really were the equivalent of diseases.
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    Copyright © Gary Greenberg, 2013.
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    Gary GreenbergGary Greenberg, PhD, is a practicing psychotherapist in Connecticut. He is the author of four books, including The Book of Woe: The DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry, and Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease, a contributing writer for Mother Jones, and a contributing editor for Harper's. In addition to those publications, his articles and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Nation, Rolling Stone, and McSweeney's, among other magazines. His works have been widely anthologized, and he is the recipient of the Erik Erikson Award for mental health reporting.
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