Moving the Chronically Ill to Being Mentally Ill – A Boon to Gun Control Proponents?

A friend of mine who is a Doctor of Psychiatry (“Dr. X”) recently alerted me to an article she read regarding the American Psychiatric Association  and the reclassification of hundreds of physical illnesses to being attributed to mental disorders.  Already disgusted by what the think-tanks are doing in her field and how Obamacare is practically tying a noose around practicing therapists necks, Dr. X stated if the current changes are adopted, she will call it quits.

This publication that Dr. X called out is the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).  The DSM standardizes diagnoses by psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, and other health professionals (such as such as primary care doctors), and it also informs research, public health policy, education, reimbursement systems, and forensic science.  The manual is used to decide if people have a psychiatric disorder or not.

The very troubling issue with the latest edition currently being drafted and set to be published in May, 2013, is the inclusion and vague definition of a new mental illness labeled as a Somatoform disorder:  “Physical symptoms that mimic physical disease or injury for which there is no identifiable physical cause.”   According to the one estimate, the unnecessary tests and waste of other medical resources caused by this cost the United States $40 million per year.

Bottom line is that if the ailment cannot be explained fully by a general medical condition, it will be clumped under the Somatoforn umbrella.   Why should you care?  Millions of people who suffer from chronic illness will soon be subject to diagnosis as mentally ill.    That may be your mother, father, sister, brother or even you.

From the on-line version of Psychology Today,  ‘Your Physical Illness May Now Be Labeled a Mental Disorder:’

People can be diagnosed with Somatic Symptom Disorder if, for at least six months, they’ve had one or more symptoms that are distressing and/or disruptive to their daily life, and if they have one [only one] of the following three reactions:

  1. Disproportionate thoughts about the seriousness of their symptom(s); and/or
  2. A high level of anxiety about their symptoms or health; and/or
  3. Devoting excessive time and energy to their symptoms or health concerns.

Can you see how this diagnosis potentially includes everything from a stomach ache to cancer?

To repeat, this time using a hypothetical: For six months, you’ve had bad gastrointestinal symptoms that have been ‘disruptive to your daily life’ because you can’t be far from a bathroom. In the subjective view of a health practitioner, you’ve spent ‘excessive time and energy devoted’ to trying to figure out what to do about it (criteria #3). The result:  You may well be diagnosed as suffering from a mental illness called Somatic Symptom Disorder.”

Any of the current patients who currently see specialists such as Neurologists, Infectious Disease Specialists, Gastronologists, etc. would no longer be allowed by their insurance companies to be under their care.  The patients could only see a Psychiatrist or Psychologist for treatment!

In a related article, Bad News: DSM 5 Refuses to Correct Somatic Symptom Disorder, the author points out:

SSD is defined so over inclusively by DSM 5 that it will mislabel 1 in 6 people with cancer and heart disease; 1 in 4 with irritable bowel and fibromyalgia; and 1 in 14 who are not even medically ill.
,,,The American Psychiatric Association has proven itself incompetent to produce a safe and scientifically sound diagnostic system. Psychiatric diagnosis has become too important in peoples’ lives to be left in the hands of one small and insulated professional organization.  It is time for a change.
….My heart goes out to all those who will be mislabeled with this misbegotten diagnosis.

How many would needlessly be put on psychiatric drugs?

Erick Rush wrote an article earlier in February, Obamacare and the DSM-5: Be Afraid; Be Very Afraid.  He made some astute observations regarding the DSM-5:

So, what new diagnoses, designations, and revisions might be included in the DSM-5? We won’t know for certain until May, but given the history of the APA, I believe Americans have reason to be afraid. I believe that we shall see an increasing incidence of sinister provisions in Obamacare coming to light, and conflict within the medical and legal communities as to the government’s latitude in these areas.

In the area of mental illness, given the administration’s totalitarian bent, this could mean an era of atrocities galore. Have you ever suffered from anxiety? Depression? Had “anger issues?” Have you ever been treated for drug addiction or alcoholism? Had trouble sleeping? Any of these and a host of others might be used as a pretext for one’s designation as a mental defective. One might suddenly discover that due to some benign neurosis or psychological episode, perhaps in their distant past, their constitutional rights have been nullified overnight.

Such individuals may be detained by the government for an indeterminate length of time, “assessed,” and designated as suffering with some form of mental illness. They might then find themselves barred from owning or possessing a firearm, or obtaining driver’s or pilots licensees. Perhaps they will not be allowed to serve in the military or law enforcement, to work in government service, schools, day care centers, hospitals or medical clinics. And forget ever surviving an employment background check that requires security clearance.

There have been several pundits , including Second  Amendment supporters, discussing the merits of a database of those taking certain certain psychiatric drugs.  After all, a number of  killers had been taking or coming off medications such as Cymbalta, Trazadone, or Zoloft to name a few.

If the DSM-5 includes Somatic Symptom Disorder, I would agree with my friend Dr. X that 90% of the population will be diagnosed with it at some point in their life, and most probably treated with an anxiety and/or depression medication.   That’s a way to keep arms out of the hands of law-abiding citizens.  You never know what a person with IBS is going to do next.

I would be remiss if I did not point out all the tie-ins with Obamacare.  Review all the stipulations and call-outs regarding Mental Health in the 905 pages of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act .

Once again,


PS   Like most issues of the day, there is a “Petition for That.”


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