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Podcast: Allen Frances, MD – A psychiatrist’s take on the DSM, Pharma, and Donald Trump

Michael Joyce produces multimedia for HealthNewsReview.org and tweets as @mlmjoyce

Is President Donald Trump mentally ill?

Do we really need over 500 psychiatric diagnoses?

What do the changes in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (or ‘DSM’ for short) over the past 60+ years say about psychiatry? The influence of industry? Us?

This conversation with renowned psychiatrist, Allen Frances MD — although just over 10 minutes long — touches on all of the above and much more. Trust me, he’s not shy.

A central theme in my conversation with Dr. Frances is the DSM. This diagnostic guide — published by the American Psychiatric Association — lists standardized criteria that psychiatrists use in making diagnoses. Frances chaired the revision of the 4th edition, and was an outspoken critic of the 5th edition.

In many ways the DSM is not just a barometer of psychiatry, but a litmus test of many of the issues we feel quite strongly about, including: over-diagnosis and over-treatment, as well as the minefield of conflicts of interest to be found at the intersection of industry and academic medicine. Here is some of our previous writing on these topics:

We’ve also written on whether it’s appropriate for the media to speculate on whether or not Donald Trump has a psychiatric illness.

Finally, if you are someone who is concerned that our medical culture is becoming too closely aligned with the notion of ‘a disease for every drug, and a drug for every disease,’ then you might enjoy our publisher Gary Schwitzer’s take on a New York Times op-ed entitled: ‘Diagnosis: Human.’


You can find all the Watchdog Podcasts HERE

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