NOTE TO READERS: When this project lost substantial funding at the end of 2018, I lost the ability to continue publishing criteria-driven news story reviews and PR news release reviews - once the bread-and-butter of the site going back to 2006. The 3,200 archived reviews, while still educational, are getting old and difficult for me to technically maintain on the back end of the website. So I am announcing that I plan to remove these reviews from the site by April 1, 2021. The blog and the toolkit - two of the most popular features on the site - will remain. If you wish to peruse the reviews before they disappear, please do so by the end of March 2021. After that date you may still be able to access them via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine -

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

Michael Joyce produces multimedia for 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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