This new version promises to transport us into a brave new psychiatric world — one that takes account of all the enormous progress that has been made in recent decades in neuroscience and psychopharmacology ... Or so DSM 5’s architects, and the American Psychiatric Association that employed them and makes millions of dollars a year peddling that enormous tome, would have you believe. But perhaps all is not quite so rosy. Certainly Gary Greenberg (a PhD psychotherapist) and Michael Taylor (who prefers to call himself a neuropsychiatrist) think not.
Imagine a world like the one (head of the NIMH) Insel seems to invite, in which psychiatrists actually leveled with us about the limits of their knowledge. Greenberg has outlined such a thought experiment:
What would happen if [psychiatrists] told you that they don’t know what illness (if any) is causing your anxiety or depression, or agitation, and then, if they thought it was warranted, told you that there are drugs that might help (although they don’t really know why or at what cost to your brain, or whether you will be able to stop taking them if you want to; nor can they guarantee that you (or your child) won’t become obese or diabetic, or die early), and offer you a prescription [for these substances].