The reception to the new DSM-5 has been mixed. The British Psychological Society (BPS) published a largely critical response in which it attacked the whole concept of the DSM. It stated that a “top-down” approach to mental health, where patients are made to “fit” a diagnosis is not useful for the people who matter most – the patients.
The BPS said: “We believe that any classification system should begin from the bottom up – starting with specific experiences, problems, symptoms or complaints.
“Since – for example – two people with a diagnosis of ‘schizophrenia’ or ‘personality disorder’ may possess no two symptoms in common, it is difficult to see what communicative benefit is served by using these diagnoses. We believe that a description of a person’s real problems would suffice.”
The UK mental health charity Mind took a more positive approach. The charity’s chief executive, Paul Farmer, said: “Mind knows that for many people affected by a mental health problem, receiving a diagnosis enabled by diagnostic documents like the DSM-5 can be extremely helpful. A diagnosis can provide people with appropriate treatments, and it could give the person access to other support and services, including benefits.”