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October 13, 1993

The Selling of DSM: The Rhetoric of Science in Psychiatry

Author Affiliations

The Sheppard & Enoch Pratt Hospital Baltimore, Md

JAMA. 1993;270(14):1749-1750. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510140111043

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Let me state my biases up front. I am a psychiatrist who has strongly supported the development of a psychiatric nosology that has value to the clinician, to research on the etiology and epidemiology of mental disorders, and, ultimately, to the patient. I have participated in the development of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Third Edition) and have a particular interest in the impact of the diagnostic manual on reimbursement. I believe that DSM-III, its revision, and the soon-to-be-published DSM-IV represent progress and a great improvement over what existed prior to 1980, when DSM-III was published.

The authors of The Selling of DSM do not state their biases up front. It does become clear to the reader, however, that these professors of social work cast an extremely skeptical eye on current concepts in psychiatry, the medical or diagnostic model, and share (if not exactly, certainly closely) the