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1984 Revisted, II: Big Brother on the Run

January 04, 2012

The American Psychiatric Association keeps on undermining its credibility, or more to the point, plays a mean big brother.

Just before the new year, the APA charged Suzy Chapman, a patient advocate from England, with trademark infringement and obliged her to shut down her website, To quote from an excerpt that Allen Frances published in his January 3rd blog, Ms. Chapman was informed by American Psychiatric Publishing "that the domain name my site operates under was infringing upon the DSM 5 trademark and that my unauthorized actions may subject me to contributory infringement liability."

She goes on to say, "Given my limited resources compared with APA's deep pockets, I had no choice but to change my site's domain name to Hits to the new site have plummeted dramatically just at the time when crucial DSM 5 decisions are being made."

Big brother's been busy--frightened by one lone woman.

Coincidentally, over 10,000 individuals and professional organizations have signed the American Psychological Association's petition calling for changes in the DSM 5's methodology and for a review by professionals independent of the DSM 5 Task Force. A growing number of psychiatrists, including Dr. Frances, past editor of two previous DSM revisions, are also expressing their disillusion at the prospect of an increasingly biomedically-biased DSM serving all-too-obviously the interests of Big Pharma. Frances put it succinctly when he titled his January 3 blog,"Is DSM 5 a Public Trust or an APA Cash Cow?"—

Big brother's on the run and there's a lot at stake. For all of us.

So if you haven't signed the petition calling for a halt to the compilation of the new DSM, sign it now! Ask your friends and colleagues to sign. Ask your professional organizations to endorse it. Particularly you social workers: where is the NASW in all of this?

I'll close this short blog with an apt quote from John LeCarre's latest, Our Kind of Traitor (2010): "Would Orwell have believed it possible that the same overfed voices which had haunted him in the 1930's, the same crippling incompetence, addiction to foreign wars and assumptions of entitlement, were happily in place in 2009? If he had, [he] would have smashed some serious glass.

Or as our old friend, Joe Hill, would have said, "don't mourn, organize." 


Frances, Allen, "Is DSM 5 A Public Trust Or An APA Cash Cow?, January 3, 2012

LeCarre, John, Our Kind of Traitor, Viking Press, New York, 2010

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