October 19, 2010


Thesis, antithesis, synthesis: The way diseases of the psyche are diagnosed is changing rapidly. Doctors are struggling to keep up (The Economist, Oct 14th 2010)

WHAT good is a diagnostic tool if it is too complicated for doctors to use? This is the dilemma facing psychiatry. In the United States the release back in February of a draft version of the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) has triggered a furious row over whether this tool has become too complex. Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) points out that more than three-quarters of people with brain disorders in the developing world are not being treated, and on October 7th it released simplified guidelines for diagnosis and treatment designed especially for use by the front-line in medicine: primary-care doctors.

These developments highlight a revolution in psychiatry, the last bastion of symptom-based medicine. In no other medical domain is the symptom (say, anxiety) also the diagnosis.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at October 19, 2010 6:23 AM
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