Mental Health Experts Say New Manual is "Dangerous" for the Profession

Photo of the book, "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders."

A number of mental health experts say a new diagnostic manual could mislead professionals and students looking to add a psychology degree to their resume.

More than 11,000 health care professionals have signed a petition calling for the latest edition of the international Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), to be stopped and re-worked, according to Reuters.

Critics said some diagnoses in the book risk devaluing the seriousness of mental illnesses and may wrongly label behaviors that some people would consider normal or "mildly eccentric."

David Pilgrim of Britain's University of Central Lancashire told the news agency that its hard to avoid the fact that the DSM will help serve the interests of drug companies.

Madness and misery exist but they come in many shapes and sizes, Pilgrim noted. "We risk treating the experience and conduct of people as if they are botanical specimens waiting to be identified and categorized in rigid boxes."

The APA has not commented on the petition.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for psychologists are expected to increase by 12% through the end of the decade. 

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