The Hard Problem of Schizophrenia: BPS Response to DSM-5

Today the Society for Humanistic Psychology blog posted an excerpt of the British Psychological Society “Response to the American Psychiatric Association DSM-5 Development”  (they also provide a link to pdf). Regarding schizophrenia, on the positive side the BPS supports the use of a severity scale in the DSM-5 for the following dimensions: hallucinations, delusions, disorganization, abnormal psychomotor behavior, restricted emotional expression, avolition, impaired cognition, depression, and mania, “not only because it focuses on specific problems . . . but because it introduces the concept of variability more fully into the system.” But the BPS has significant concerns about the validity and utility of the diagnosis more generally (“it is entirely possible for two individuals with the diagnosis to share no characteristics or symptoms”). They also recognize the “hard problem” for DSM-5 (and beyond), the need to consider “the relational context of problems and the undeniable social causation of many such problems.” As Kwame McKenzie and others (Morgan, McKenzie, & Fearon, 2008) have recently argued social risk factors (e.g., the stress of being an immigrant) interacting with genetic and epigenetic processes may play a significant role in etiology.

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This entry was posted in schizophrenia by Constance A. Cummings. Bookmark the permalink.

About Constance A. Cummings

Constance A. Cummings, PhD, is Project Director of the non-profit Foundation for Psychocultural Research, which supports and advances interdisciplinary research and scholarship at the intersection of brain, mind, culture, and mental health and illness. She is co-editor (with Carol Worthman, Paul Plotsky, and Dan Schechter) of Formative Experiences: The Interaction of Caregiving, Culture, and Developmental Psychobiology (Cambridge University Press, 2010) and (with Laurence Kirmayer and Rob Lemelson) the forthcoming Re-Visioning Psychiatry: Cultural Phenomenology, Critical Neuroscience, and Global Mental Health (Cambridge, 2015). She received her doctorate in theoretical linguistics from New York University.

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