DSM 5 (courtesy psych.org)

I’m just funnin’ with y’all. The New York Times cares about gun rights like the Mayor of Bikinis, Texas cares about political correctness. Even so, we can connect these dots without the Gray Lady’s help. “Gun owners Patients and parents concerned about mental illness have every right to be confused,” the Times’ Editorial Board admits. “The head of the federal agency that finances mental health research has just declared that the most important diagnostic manual for psychiatric diseases lacks scientific validity and needs to be bolstered by a new classification system based on biology, not just psychiatric opinion. The hitch is that such a biology-based system will not be available for a decade or more.” To be clear . . .

The [American] psychiatric association’s diagnoses [contained within the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders] are mostly based on a professional consensus about what clusters of symptoms are associated with a disease, like depression, and not on any objective laboratory measure, like blood counts or other biological markers. The [National Institute of Health] says scientists have not produced the data needed to design a system based on biomarkers or cognitive measures. To fill the gap, the agency started a program two years ago to finance research in biology, genetics, neuroscience, cognitive science and other disciplines with the ultimate goal of helping scientists define disorders by their causes, rather than their symptoms.

Translation: mental illness is what the American Psychiatric Association (APA) says it is. That would be the same association that met with Vice President Joe Biden’s post-Newtown Task Force to devise new legislation to prevent “gun violence.” And we all know how that turned out.

To be fair, APA liaison Dr. Paul Appelbaum called for “developing sensible, nondiscriminatory approaches to keeping firearms out of the hands of dangerous people.” Oh wait. “He noted as an example of a commonsense approach an Indiana statute that empowers law enforcement officers to seize weapons from persons who by their behavior indicate a likelihood of committing violent acts.'”

So the APA, the org that literally wrote the book (such as it is) on what constitues mental illness, is happy to leave the definition of mental illness to local law enforcement. Even though “evaluation of the statute’s operation has shown that although a majority of people whose weapons are seized are perceived to have a mental illness, many do not.”

The man sounds conflicted. But here’s one thing for sure: trusting these eggheads with gun rights is like letting the [now defunct] Texas Bikini Team perform surgery on a cerebrovascular disorder. Or trusting politicians and newspaper editors to establish a balance between mental health, gun rights and public safety.

34 Responses to New York Times: “Psychiatric Bible” Highlights Threat to Gun Rights

  1. Wow. I’m first in line to comment on one of my favorite bugbears: “mental illness”.

    As much as it pains me to agree with the TIMES’ Editorial Board, they are absolutely right on this call!

    In doing so, they have struck a powerful, perhaps crippling blow to the Mental Health Mafia’s once-untouchable DSM series. At worst, it’s a temporarily crippling blow, and that’s fantastic news.

    And Robert, now that you’ve put “y’all” in print, you need to know the plural form: “all y’all”.

    • Y’all is plural. It’s a contraction of “you all”, and in my 36 years I have never heard a native southerner use it in the singular. “All y’all” is what you use if you’re speaking to everyone in earshot.

    • Yet this whole “biological classification” is not only dead-end bullshit but ripe for more misinformation and abuse than the current APA criteria. It is the outward actions of an individual that best predicts future actions and the tools to deal with the folks that show a repeated and marked inclination to violence are already there but are not taken advantage of.

      Folks have biological markers for all kinds of traits that may or may not manifest. While we’re at it why not bring back phrenology to identify killers? Almost all the jerkoffs that have committed mass murders had broadcast red flags to all that know and/or deal with them but it is a broken and inconsistent system that they slid through. Authorities need to be more concerned and parents should at some point eschew protection for being proactive in getting their loved one help. A potential hospitalization and some hard feelings are certainly preferable to dealing with mass media asking you why your kid slaughtered people.

      In this day and age we have glory killers wanting the worldwide media attention they eventually get and it would behoove our society to make our current system work to its potential and ensure that it is not only fair to those who may be reported but are deemed by experts and peers to not be a threat but to intervene on behalf of those that are deemed a real threat.

  2. So a bunch of kooks with a mental disorder called hoplophobia will decide whether or not we are sane. What could go wrong?

  3. As a mental health professional I understand concerns about potential violence, but the hardest thing to understand is why can’t I carry at work? I have taken care of a lot of people that would do some very bad things if armed and that’s why they are not living independently. There is a very good point those that shouldn’t be trusted with firearms shouldnt be trusted in society. DSM isn’t the golden standard it used to be but its all there is.

    • Jeff, I was a psych major in college (back in the DSM-IIIR days, so this was a little while ago), but I left school before graduating. What I’m wondering is this – the incentive to define 75% of the population of a state as somehow crazy to some extent or other is simply irresistible in large part because there’s so much money involved. Can this devil’s bargain ever be undone and how?

      • @misery: I went to school for psych as well. After graduation, I just threw it out the window. I wanted nothing to do with it. It had become clear that the direction it was taking was a classification of the entire range of human emotion as some sort of illness of different levels and I’m not shocked one bit that we are that point today.

    • +1

      I work with a lot of felons and when I was employed as a probation officer, carry was not only allowed, it was encouraged. Take away my involvement in the punitive side of things and suddenly these people are teddy bears apparently.

      • I’m a nurse, so there are only very slight differences between a “healthy” and an ill person as far as measurable biology factors, mainly hormone activities in the brain. I firmly believe that a person should be judged only by there actions. And yes the newest dam is so largely driven by “the almighty dollar” its a few years late coming out due to all the new billable diagnosis they are adding. IMHO if the anti’s keep pushing their common sense on us we will probably require an EEG, a MRI and a blood test to prove we are able to safely own firearms.

  4. As a mental health professional I have to say the DSM-V is probably one of the most ill considered revisions of text the APA has undertaken to date. NIH and other regulatory bodies are not the only ones that are put off by the newest iteration of the DSM; as a counselor this makes my job much more difficult because this was the go to guide. Like the rest of you I can only watch and wait to see what will happen with regard to our Second Amendment rights. Hopefully very little…

    • Weelll… the medical community does occasionally find use for leeches, so one can never tell what is or isn’t a good idea.

      Hindsight’s 20/20 – except in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, Калифорния…

  5. Yes, you are a non felon, law abiding citizen, now step up & lets check your blood? Do I understand them correctly? Our Forefathers would have laughed untill their powdered wigs fell off, then they would have got a rope. Yes, we sure need to protect ourselves from the mentally ill, that would be your gun grabbing neighbor, Randy

  6. Every time someone tells me they need to prevent the mentally ill from having guns I ask them who gets to make that determination. I usually get funny looks and the responses are ” the courts” ” a doctor” ” a judge” or my favorite “people in authority”

    • Don’t you remember? We’re second-class, inferior citizens now, subject to the whims of our betters.

    • In MI it takes a person to petition (anyone, usually a nurse, social worker, LEO, or family member), Certification 2 Dr’s one of them has to be a psychiatrist, and a trial… The person being tried has a choice the judge or jury trial.

  7. Gee, gang, at this point there are no “biological markers” or lab tests (body fluid analysis, DNA analysis) for most of the disorders with which mental health professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers) deal, and it seems to me unlikely that any such markers of lab tests will be available any time soon. Consequently, the psychiatric/diagnostic process leaves plenty of room for the operation of personal biases. Nonetheless, I will probably purchase the DSM-5, just to keep abreast of the current state of superstition in my chosen field.

  8. I love how you can be so dangerous that you’re prohibited from owning a firearm, as if the firearm were a catalyst to mayhem, but you can walk among us, raise children, drive cars, buy fireworks, buy knives, etc, etc…

    Someone here said it best, “if you can’t be trusted to own a gun, you can’t be trusted loose in society”

  9. My mom was a nurse and knew many psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, ad nauseum, through her hospital. I can say, with no hesitation, 98% of them were nutso: down in the dirt, weird, fetish obsessed, crazy. One psychiatrist had every room in her home decorated in red, white, & black because those were the only colors she liked. Another had his 6 year old son still sleeping in a crib because “he needs the security”. Example after example of people who were so enthralled with analyzing every single movement, perceived hidden agenda, or simply power tripping over another person’s life that they could control. Orwellian to say the least. Done with “the best of intentions”. It is all just ground cover for controlling and manipulating the public.

  10. The considered opinion of many in the profession is that the DSM V (and actually starting with the DSM III) is a politically correct mess of anecdotes. I wouldn’t know as I majored in hard science, not hearsay.

    Charlie

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