Statement of Concern Calls for Boycott of DSM-V

In a final effort to encourage the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to look at the impact of their actions with respect to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V), co-chairs of the DSM-V Response Committee will soon release a formal Statement of Concern. The statement reinforces the committee’s original concerns about the DSM-V and implores both the world of psychiatric professionals and the public to join them in advocating for responsible, ethical, and scientific psychiatric and psychological practices. The co-chairs of the DSM-V Response Committee,  Dr. Brent Dean Robbins, President-Elect of the Society for Humanistic Psychology at the APA, and Dr. Peter Kinderman, believe these practices have not been made the primary goals of the APA, as evidenced in the DSM-V.

The APA has yet to allow an independent review board to examine the findings that have led to the recently approved changes to the DSM. Additionally, the DSM-V Response Committee still has significant reservations about the motivation for the changes, the process that has led to these changes, and the effect these changes will have on nearly every area touched by the field of mental health, including insurance, private practice, research, academia, emergency care, diagnoses, pharmacological endeavors, and client care.

Division 32 of the APA, The Society for Humanistic Psychology, submitted an open letter outlining their concerns relating to the upcoming publication of the DSM-V in October 2012. Many professional, academic, and practical associations supported this open letter, including The letter has received over 14,000 signatures. However, the DSM-V Response Committee, which is made up of psychologists, social workers, nurses, counselors, and others, believes that their open letter fell on deaf ears. This prompted the committee to write their latest Statement of Concern.

The following are some sentiments from this Statement of Concern:

  • The Response Committee feels that publishing profits and media goals have been put before the best interest of clients and the public in general
  • The lowering of diagnostic thresholds could result in an increase in non-clinical diagnoses and overmedication, reducing the resources to those with genuine and scientifically based clinical needs
  • The evidence supporting the revisions are scientifically unsound, have not been researched sufficiently, and have not been scrutinized by an unbiased independent review board

The Response Committee is calling on practitioners, researchers, healthcare professionals and members of the pharmaceutical industry to avoid use of the DSM-V until these concerns have been addressed. Further, the committee is entreating all professional counselors, nurses, academic professors, and administrators to rely on other means of diagnoses, education, and evidence as they feel that the methods used to support the changes in the DSM-V are unethical and unreliable. “We are merely asking people to endorse our statement of concerns, and to respond in an ethical and proportionate manner consistent with their contractual obligations and their conscience,” said Dr. Kinderman. The Statement of Concern will be released on March 20, 2013. encourages all its members and readers to view the original open letter for further information as this highly debated issue continues to remain at the forefront of the psychological landscape. You can read the open letter here.

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  • ted

    March 1st, 2013 at 10:55 PM

    theres been so much hue and cry about the new dsm since several months.and yet nothing has been addressed.whether the concerns are accurate or not coming out with proper answers settles the doubts and will be a breather for all people who will be affected by it.

  • becca

    March 2nd, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    This seems pretty serious. I guess I wasn’t aware that there was this much contention going on the therapy community over the new DSM especially since this is the basis upon which so many seek guidance to solicit the best diagnosis for their patients.

  • shamonique

    March 2nd, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    There are probably some very valid concerns here, but will any of this squabbling really help anyone in the throes of mental illness receive better or more intensive help? I think that someone who is good at what they do will use the manual as a guide, a tool to refernce but not as something that is the end all and be all when it comes to a proper diagnosis for a patient. I think that a smart therapist knows that this is not the only think to use to determine what kind of help someone may need or what they are suffering from. It is merely something to try to keep everyone kind of focused and on the same page. There will always be disagreements over whether this is this or this is that. We all have to have a little wiggle room and I guess I am just perplexed that there are others who do not necessarily see things this way,.

  • Lynn Somerstein

    March 3rd, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    Thanks, GT and thanks, Noah for publicizing this important reaction to the DSM-5. It’s heartening to learn that people are joining together to take action.

    I am grateful to the many people who worked to put the DSM-5 together, but it has many problems (as did the previous versions), including diagnostic criteria.

    An independent review board should always be part of any changes made to this very fallible document.

  • Tressa

    March 3rd, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    I guess I don’t know that much about this, but is this reform committee an offshoot of the APA or are they something that is separate?

  • Michelle

    March 3rd, 2013 at 11:44 PM

    It is not about who is right and who is wrong. But it is about WHAT is the best method and what would yield the best results for the clients of mental health. That should be the concern and I just hope this does not become a turf war. And that the issues are ironed out through a discussion and at the earliest.

  • lee

    March 4th, 2013 at 3:44 AM

    You would have thought that if there was still this much dissent and concern then the DSM changes would have never received final approval.


    March 4th, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    If there are concerns,if there are modifications to be made, then why didn’t it happen earlier? The new DSM is going to be released in the next couple of months and we are still talking about fixing it.If this is so unorganized then how are all the professionals and all the people being treated going to be able to have faith in this document?

    It surprises to me that a professional community is doing this in such an unorganized way. It does need some real quick decisions, and changes, to be made!

  • roy

    March 6th, 2013 at 4:02 AM

    How is a boycott going to make a difference? Isn’t the manual now complete and to be used, if not now then soon? And why should so many of these modifications really make a difference in the patient care that you offer if you know that what you are doing is the right thing for somebody?

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