Do we need an 'easy to use' DSM-5 app?
The nature of our concern as child psychologists and mental health workers against the APA who publish this DSM-5 app is as follows:
- The potential for an increasing trend in 'false positive' diagnoses for a wide range of mental health conditions particularly in children e.g. social anxiety disorder (shyness); mood dysregulation disorder / intermittent disruptive disorder (temper tantrums) and temporary bereavement disorder (grief) all previous socially acceptable descriptors (in brackets) that have been redefined by DSM-5, which may lead to inappropriate potentially toxic medication for a child, who may only need an initial and NICE recommended psychological intervention.
- The potentially major 'Safeguarding of Children' risk that this poses to our society now and in the future. We feel that both short and long term physical and psychological damage could ensue on a frightening scale from this "convenient and easily accessible" hand held device.
- The potentially dangerous rise in 'self-diagnosis' by the client themselves or by their parents using the 'checklist', where they rehearse symptom lists off the app, add a narrative and then re-present these 'stories' to a doctor to obtain a diagnosis and in some cases, gain financially , due to qualifying for DLA.(Disabled Living Allowance = top level of £600 per month) This symptom rehearsal phenomenon has been evidenced in the U.S. by the recent deregulation of drug advertising on TV which now dominates and influences viewer perceptions of their mental health needs in a similar way. Patients go to their doctor and recite the checklists in a different order, to avoid suspicion, in order to get their desired outcome of a named 'disorder' + psychoactive drugs.
- The potential long-term harm of unnecessary mental health labels with the consequent effects of stigmatisation and disempowerment of an individual (based on Attribution Theory) will have an adverse impact on an individual's view of their own resilience and their ability to develop more naturalistic coping strategies which are not reliant therefore on psycho-pharmaceutical interventions.
- Our current society will be judged by future generations from the way in which we as child care professionals and citizens have chosen to deal in the here and now with the mental health needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable groupings, like children. Surely we do not want to collude with this Orwellian and biomedical 'quick fix' mentality of providing simplistic and often probably wrong solutions to the very complex and dynamic situations that a client finds themself in. This we feel would clearly be a systemically dysfunctional response by the Mental Health System.
- To end with an aposite quote from Jacqui Dillon(Prominent Mental Heath Campaigner),
"In mental health work it is not a matter of diagnosing what is wrong with a person but rather finding out what has happened to that human being that is important."
Is the use of an APP ethical for diagnosing complex and potentially long-term conditions?
Who Safeguards Children from lax and over-zealous medical practitioners + 'amateur diagnosticians?'
Does the lack of 'Registration of User' for such an important and life changing task expose its true intent - the MAXIMISATION OF PROFIT for the APA?
Are the APA proud of going mobile and 'easy access?' -see article below.
READ BELOW FROM APA WEBSITE AND ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS ABOVE:
- INFORMATION FROM APA OFFICIAL WEBSITE:
• Robust disorder, acronym, code and symptom search functionality
• Keeps track of recently researched topics and allows the user to bookmark frequently used information
• iPad specific interface with side-by-side reading and navigation screens
• Social media integration for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+
• Does not require registration, subscription or software downloads
American Psychiatric Publishing, a division of the American Psychiatric Association, is the world’s premier publisher of books, journals, and multimedia on psychiatry, mental health and behavioral science. We offer authoritative, up-to-date, and affordable information geared toward psychiatrists, other mental health professionals, psychiatric residents, medical students, and the general public."
SHOULD DIAGNOSIS BE THIS EASY APA?
DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria
By American Psychiatric Association
Compatible with: iPhone iPad
The official DSM-5™ app for iPhone and iPad The American Psychiatric Association`s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Disorders..