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Analysis Is Watchword at American Psychiatric Association Meeting in Philadelphia

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(About 11,000 people are attending the annual conference of the American Psychiatric Association, being held this year in Philadelphia.  Credit: Pat Loeb)

(About 11,000 people are attending the annual conference of the American Psychiatric Association, being held this year in Philadelphia. Credit: Pat Loeb)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The annual conference of the American Psychiatric Association, being held this week in Philadelphia, has brought some 11,000 people to town including a group adamently opposed to the whole profession of psychiatry.

This is a significant moment for the APA, as the ten-year process of revising its essential diagnostic guide, known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (“DSM”), is coming to a close.

That process is dominating much of the discussion at the conference, especially by those with an interest in what will be included in the new edition.

As psychiatrists discussed changes in the substance abuse section, for example, Philip Werdell leafletted participants at the Pennsylvania Convention Center about including food.

“Food addiction is a very large problem in the country but it isn’t in the diagnotic criteria,” he tells KYW Newsradio, “so it’s being missed by enormous numbers of people.”

Meanwhile, two blocks away, a Scientology-sponsored group was denouncing the entire DSM as not much better than witchcraft.

anti psych Analysis Is Watchword at American Psychiatric Association Meeting in Philadelphia

(A presentation by a group opposed to the practice of psychiatry. Credit: Pat Loeb)


“The first DSM occurred during the inquisition of people labeled as witches, and was called the Malleus Maleficarum” [“Hammer of the Witches”], said Jeffrey Schaler, a psychologist and assistant professor in Department of Justice, Law, and Society at American University.

That group, calling itself the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, is sponsoring a ten-day exhibit on Chestnut Street called “Psychiatry: An Industry of Death.”

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