Q: What do you think of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) classifications?
A: DSM is a classification for diseases and disorders that is helpful for describing patients’ symptom presentations, for the disbursement of medication, and for insurance claim and reimbursement purposes. Today, this science based on a disease paradigm is outliving its usefulness–not because it is wrong, but because it is too narrow a worldview.
Mental maladjustment and suffering is serious and deserves care comparable to all other physical illnesses. However, the disease paradigm has its limitations and inhibits an advance in our understanding of how to build health both for those who are ‘sick’ and those in the general population. Most limiting, the disease model does not attempt to do what all natural sciences must: effectively explain, predict, and measure experiences that build health.
Natural science has already gone through such a paradigm shift over the last century, having been liberated from the Newtonian worldview that dominated science for 350 years. Relativity, quantum mechanics, and Bell’s theorem have provided the world with a far more inclusive and useful paradigm that has led to the rapid advancement of science.
After 150 years of domination by the ‘disease model’ psychiatry must undergo a similar transition. The Lifetrack model is one attempt to define a science of wellbeing. Naturally, all models must be continuously challenged, tested, refined or replaced (criteria for Health Models by Jahoda). They are mere tools that are a means to accompany the experience of well-being and a means to measure happiness.
Copyright © 2010 Lifetrack Corporation
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DSM Classifications, Disease model, Mental Illness
Dr. Yukio Ishizuka, a Japanese psychiatrist discusses DSM classifications, the disease model, mental illness and the necessity to move to a model of happiness and health.