“Although diagnostic labels create the illusion of an explanation they are scientifically meaningless and can create stigma and prejudice. I hope these findings will encourage mental health professionals to think beyond diagnoses and consider other explanations of mental distress, such as trauma and other adverse life experiences.” Lead researcher Dr. Kate Allsopp explains in a release.John Anderer, “Study: Psychiatric Diagnoses Are ‘Scientifically Meaningless’ In Treating Mental Health” at StudyFinds
From the release:
The main findings of the research were:
• Psychiatric diagnoses all use different decision-making rules
• There is a huge amount of overlap in symptoms between diagnoses
• Almost all diagnoses mask the role of trauma and adverse events
• Diagnoses tell us little about the individual patient and what treatment they need
The authors conclude that diagnostic labelling represents ‘a disingenuous categorical system’ …
Professor Peter Kinderman, University of Liverpool, said: “This study provides yet more evidence that the biomedical diagnostic approach in psychiatry is not fit for purpose. Diagnoses frequently and uncritically reported as ‘real illnesses’ are in fact made on the basis of internally inconsistent, confused and contradictory patterns of largely arbitrary criteria. The diagnostic system wrongly assumes that all distress results from disorder, and relies heavily on subjective judgments about what is normal.”
Professor John Read, University of East London, said: “Perhaps it is time we stopped pretending that medical-sounding labels contribute anything to our understanding of the complex causes of human distress or of what kind of help we need when distressed.” More.
Paper. (open access)
People can certainly derive help from their relationship with a psychiatrist but that is an entirely different matter from saying that the science is sound. As science buckles under the strain of trying to be a secular religion, it pays to get things like this straight.
See also: Tom Gilson: Psychology almost never gets religion right Some of us remember back when religious figures were urged to make some sort of accommodation with psychology. Now that psychology has largely become one big Sokal hoax, it’s hard to see why anyone would bother.
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