Are your imperfect relationships a disease? Psychiatry thinks so

Saturday, May 05, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: relationships, disease, psychiatry

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(NaturalNews) The ever-expanding list of so-called psychiatric conditions included in the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) may soon include "relational disorders," or mental illnesses supposedly attributed to two or more people involved in a relationship together.

According to the official definition, relational disorders are "persistent and painful patterns of feelings, behavior, and perceptions involving two or more partners in an important personal relationship." A married couple, for instance, that continually fights would constitute a relational disorder, as would a troubled parent-child relationship.

If recognized and included in the manual, relational disorders will be the first psychiatric condition that involves more than one person. It will also be the first condition that exists only between two or more people, and not in a single individual.

"When couples go to counseling, trying to communicate, neither member is the 'sick' one," said Michael Frist, associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, to USA Today in reference to relational disorders. "It is the relationship that needs to be worked on."

While many psychiatrists see the potential acceptance and recognition of relational disorders as a breakthrough in psychiatric medicine, others see it as a ploy to sell more drugs and thus keep the flailing psychiatric profession in business.

"DSM certification of RD could prove to be a cash cow for all the professionals treating people from heartbroken marriages and feuding families," writes Ian Dowbiggin for the Huffington Post. "800,000 U.S. couples a year visit offices for marital and family help. Do the math. Some people stand to make a lot of money."

Modern psychiatry driven by pushing drugs for made-up conditions

A recent ABC News report highlights other glaring financial conflicts in the DSM as well. Set for official publication in 2013, the fifth edition of DSM contains "updated" treatment protocols for a host of psychiatric illnesses that are pharmacologically based, which means the modus operandi treatment guidelines entail a purely pharmaceutical drug approach (

The new DSM is also slated to dub everyday emotions like sadness and grieving as mental disorders in need of psychiatric drug treatments ( This is hardly surprising, as a study conducted by researchers from Tufts University revealed that more than half of the DSM's fourth edition authors had direct ties to drug companies (

"It is important to understand clearly that modern psychiatry -- and the identification of new psychiatric diseases -- began not by identifying such diseases by means of the established methods of pathology, but by creating a new criterion of what constitutes disease," writes Kelly Patricia O'Meara in her book

"[W]hereas in modern medicine new diseases were discovered, in modern psychiatry they were invented."

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