The Pros And Cons Of Dsm Checklist

887 words - 4 pages

The Pros and Cons of DSM Checklist
British journalist Jon Ronson’s book The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness gives the legal and mental health professional an overview of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The DSM has greatly impacted the practice of psychiatry over the past fifty years. It is an important manual which categorizes mental disorders world-wide. It lists every known mental disorder, their symptoms and the checklists for determining if a person suffers from a particular disorder.  Recently, controversy about the precision of these diagnoses has developed. When the DSM converted to a checklist approach of diagnoses, many asked what ...view middle of the document...

Without such a tool, it would be difficult to draw comparisons between illnesses, and distinguish variations in psychopathology.
Despite the strong advantages of using DSM for uniform guidances and diagnostic labels, there are also disadvantages to it. The first of these disadvantages is that it may cause misdiagnoses by an untrained professional. As Ronson flips through the DSM, he diagnoses himself with twelve disorders. For example, Ronson comes to the conclusion that he himself suffers from Arithmetic Learning Disorder by laconically defining the disorder as “his inability to grasp sums” (34). “According to clinical standards, [Ronson] is not qualified to diagnose himself, or anyone else with a mental disorder.” Watts and Smith argue in their Review of Psychopath Test that “His self-diagnostic assumptions are not well supported.” Maybe DSM should be evaluated by certified psychologists but not untrained professional like Ronson.
Another concern is the role of pharmaceutical companies in identifying medications for the various conditions of DSM. Pediatrician Joesph Biederman, who has said that “bipolar disorders can start ‘from the moment the child opens his eyes,’” has been revealed that “he promised to try to ‘move forward the commercial goals of [Johnson & Johnson]” (Ronson 248). For instance, Matt and his sister have “been through a million medications” (249) since they were diagnosed by Dr. Biederman as bipolar. In Chapter Ten of The Psychopath Test, Ronson brings a peculiar modern dilemma – whether it is necessary to treat all deviations from normality as an illness. In the United States, in particular, millions of children today are over medicated for...

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