By Martin Sturman, MD, FACP, reproduced with permission
On Naming and Billing Codes
The “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM-5) is the latest in a long list of DSM’s going back to 1952. Seeking diagnostic perfection, doctors and patients alike feel comfort in the thought that naming is knowing and knowing is curing. “We see this” rarely reduces anxiety. Yet, by attempting to give a name to every clinical presentation, especially types of behavior, physicians and particularly psychiatrists, have caused a constellation of unintended disasters. The growth of new and unreliable designations resemble a kind of unrestrained systematic orthodoxy creating millions of new patients, and contributing dangerously to exploding medical costs. The National Institutes of Mental Health reports that one in five Americans over 18 has a “mental disorder! According to the CDC about half of Americans will meet the criteria for a DSM-IV disorder sometime in their life, with first onset usually in childhood or adolescence!” Can you believe this?