The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a psychiatric watchdog group, said that a study published in this month’s journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics revealing the incestuous financial relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) “billing bible,” The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), is a vindication. For over a decade the group has called on governments to eliminate the DSM as a valid diagnostic manual for insurance reimbursement or for the basis of any legislation or court testimony. “It is an unreliable, pseudoscientific document with enormous power to damage lives, while being used to rake in $76 billion a year in international psychiatric drug sales,” CCHR’s national U.S. president Bruce Wiseman stated.
The study by Lisa Cosgrove, a psychologist from the University of Massachusetts and Sheldon Krimsky, a Tuft University professor, documents how pharmaceutical companies who manufacture drugs for “mental disorders” funded psychiatrists who defined the disorders for the manual. One hundred percent of the “experts” on DSM-IV panels overseeing so-called “mood disorders” (which includes “depression”) and “schizophrenia/psychotic disorders” were financially involved with drug companies. These are the largest categories of psychiatric drugs in the world: 2004 sales of $20.3 billion for antidepressants and $14.4 billion for antipsychotic drugs alone.
Dr. Tana Dineen, the author of Manufacturing Victims that debunks the DSM, says that unlike medical diagnoses, DSM disorders are “voted” into existence by APA members. They can also be removed if they are too much trouble. In 1973, the APA voted—5,584 to 3,810—to cease calling homosexuality a mental disorder after gay activists picketed an APA conference. The DSM wields enormous power for a document that is so fickly determined and is, as Dr. Cosgrove says a “political process.”
The manual is used in decisions to remove a child from the custody of his or her parents, to deprive a person of his or her right to vote in some countries, decide if a defendant is fit to plead “guilty” in a criminal trial or to excuse criminal conduct, and has been used to invalidate a person’s will, break legal contracts and override a person’s wishes regarding business or property. Schools and Child Protective Services can receive additional funds for a child labeled with a DSM disorder while parents have been forced to administer violent- and suicide-inducing drugs to their children and threatened with criminal charges if they refused—all because the child was said to be “disordered” based on the DSM. New York psychiatrist Ron Leifer says that the way in which psychiatrists diagnose is an “arrogant fraud” and to claim that DSM is a “scientific statement is damaging to the culture."
Dr. Cosgrove also raised crucial points about the lack of science behind the DSM, stating, “No blood tests exist for the disorders in the DSM. It relies on judgments from practitioners who rely on the manual.”
The Parental Consent Act, a federal bill introduced into the House of Representatives last year and supported to date by 40 congressmen, seeks to prevent government funding for mental health screening of students based on the DSM because of its lack of scientific validity. House Bill 181 states: “Authors of…the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual admit that the diagnostic criteria for mental illness are vague, saying, ‘DSM-IV criteria remain a consensus without clear empirical data supporting the number of items required for the diagnosis. . . . Furthermore, the behavioral characteristics specified in DSM-IV, despite efforts to standardize them, remain subjective….”
CCHR says that people need to be protected from the risks and human rights violations that can occur because of the DSM, and which are now heightened because of the vested influence of pharmaceutical interests on the decision making process for mental disorders. CCHR, established by the Church of Scientology, has interviewed hundreds of experts about the DSM and psychiatry for its documentaries featured in its Los Angeles museum, “Psychiatry an Industry of Death.” To view videos of doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists working with CCHR to expose the fraud of psychiatric diagnoses, go to http://www.cchr.org