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January 1982

Diagnostic Discrepancies: A Reply to North and Cadoret

Author Affiliations

Bard College Box 13 Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1982;39(1):112. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1982.04290010084015

To the Editor.  — I would like to comment on the interesting article by North and Cadoret (Archives 1981;38:133-137) on literary accounts written by persons who had experienced a mental illness and had been given the diagnosis (incorrectly, according to North and Cadoret) of schizophrenia. The authors are correct in citing the impact that such accounts may have on the lay public. However, certain aspects of their analysis raise troubling questions.First, it would seem only fair that their own "rediagnoses" of these persons' conditions be subjected to at least the same degree of critical scrutiny that they apply to the authors of these autobiographical accounts (who were, of course, not professional diagnosticians). Specifically, in their analysis of the Mark Vorinegut account, they assert that he "more than fulfilled the DSM-III criteria for mania." Yet, curiously, in applying these criteria to Vonnegut's account, they fail to mention the first major criterion

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