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The Risk That DSM-5 Will Affect the Way We See Ourselves

[ Vol. 8 , Issue. 4 ]


Gary Greenberg   Pages 287 - 289 ( 3 )


Because illness is a social construction, doctors are inescapably agents of social control, and diagnoses are inescapably a means to exercise power. Psychiatric diagnoses therefore shape identity according to whatever ideology provides the definition of mental health and illness, and they do so with the authority of science. This function of diagnosis is ambivalent. A disease label can be a ticket to social resources, but it can also be a means of oppression, leading people to attribute external ills to internal problems such as "chemical imbalances." A DSM that acknowledges its shaky scientific foundation can minimize the harm of the latter, but only at the expense of its power to provide the former.


Psychiatric nosology, Antipsychiatry, DSM-5, Mental illness, Social construction, Personal identity, Asperger's disorder, Reification, Deviancy, Thomas Szasz, Peter Sedgwick


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