The British Psychological Society still has concerns over DSM-5

The British Psychological Society has responded to the final consultation on the DSM-5 diagnostic framework. You can read our full response on this website.

Dr David Murphy, Chair of the Society’s Professional Practice Board, says:

The Society applauds the American Psychiatric Association for engaging in this level of public consultation, and we welcome some of the changes from the previous iteration, such as the deferment of the decision to include the category of ‘attenuated psychosis syndrome’  and to recommend further research.

However we continue to have serious concerns about many aspects of the framework. In our response we have argued that the categorical framework of DSM-5 is flawed in that it fails to take account of the evidence for the dimensional spectrum of psychiatric symptoms such as low mood, hearing voices, unusual beliefs etc in the general population.

We have also highlighted significant concerns about lowering of diagnositic thresholds and the validity ‘catch all’ diagnostic categories that exist within DSM-5 such as ‘ADHD not elsewhere classified’, which we are concerned have poor inter rater reliability.

We are concerned that both of these aspects lead to the risk of overdiagnosis and thereby potentially unnecessary and potentially harmful treatment with medication.