Response to Letter from DSM-5 Task Force and the American Psychiatric Association
David J. Kupfer, M.D., Chair of DSM-5 Task Force
Darrel A. Ragier, M.D., M.P.H., Vice Chair of DSM-5 Task Force
John M. Oldham, M.D., President of the American Psychiatric Association
Dilip V. Jeste, M.D., President-Elect of the American Psychiatric Association
Roger Peele, M.D., Secretary of the American Psychiatric Association
To the DSM-5 Task Force and the American Psychiatric Association:
Thank you for your response to the Open Letter that was composed by the Society for Humanistic Psychology (Division 32 of the American Psychological Association) and endorsed by over 4,600 individuals and 17 organizations, including nine other divisions of the American Psychological Association. In this context, it should be noted that the American Psychological Association itself has not taken a position on this matter other than to encourage its members to participate in the DSM-5 development process. It is our understanding that President Melba Vasquez will be responding to your letter separately on behalf of the American Psychological Association. We are writing on behalf of the Society for Humanistic Psychology Open Letter Committee to express our gratitude that the Task Force has opened a public dialogue about these issues and to let you know that we are happy to share your letter with our membership. We are pleased that the Task Force will consider the issues we described in our Open Letter as well as those raised by others in the mental health field.
However, we remain deeply concerned about the issues we raised and find that your response did not adequately address them. Our main concerns include:
(1) The lowering of diagnostic thresholds, which may artificially inflate the prevalence of numerous disorders. By increasing the number of people who qualify for a diagnosis, DSM-5 may lead to the excessive medicalization and stigmatization of normative or transient distress.
(2) The potential consequences of lowered thresholds and new disorder categories on vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly. These populations are already at risk for excessive and inappropriate treatment with medications that have dangerous side effects. We are particularly concerned about the overuse of medications for “Attenuated Psychosis Syndrome,” “Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder,” “Mild Neurocognitive Disorder,” Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.