Ray Moynihan, who has written quite a bit about the disease-mongering of female sexual dysfunction, now writes in the BMJ (subscription required for full access):
“The definitions of female sexual dysfunction and its disorders of desire, arousal, orgasm, and pain are facing a major overhaul as part of the current revision of the influential Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
A working group for the American Psychiatric Association, which produces the manual, has proposed new definitions that give greater acknowledgment to the relationship context of women’s sexual difficulties and new criteria to raise the threshold for diagnosis.”
Moynihan writes that one working group member described current criteria for “hypoactive sexual desire disorder” as being “highly problematic,” and that a woman’s lack of sexual desire may sometimes be a “normal reaction to a problematic context and therefore should not be pathologized.” He writes that another working group member stated that in order “to avoid pathologizing normal variation in sexual experiences” women’s mild and passing sexual problems should not be regarded as symptoms of a medical dysfunction.
“The group has proposed abandoning the two existing disorders of desire and arousal and merging them into a new entity potentially labelled “sexual arousability disorder.” Under its proposals, symptoms may have to be of a certain severity and to present for more than six months before a woman qualifies for a diagnosis.
It is unclear how the proposal to move away from the label “hypoactive sexual desire disorder” will affect drug companies–including Boehringer Ingelheim–that are currently testing products to treat the condition. Boehringer Ingelheim recently released abstracts suggesting that its drug flibanserin could offer woman an extra 0.7 “satisfying sexual events” per month, over and above the effects of a placebo.
For more than a decade some researchers have claimed that the condition called female sexual dysfunction affects 43% of women, though others believe the true prevalence is far less.”
The American Psychiatric Association has now posted all the proposed revisions online.
The Wall Street Journal had a good overall look at the DSM draft revisions.
ABC had a piece that at least raised the question, “Are We Over-Diagnosing Mental Disorders?”