Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today


A New Blog Title and a New Mission: 'Saving Normal'

DSM 5 still in distress but now already in press

DSM 5 is a done deal—the final proofs were just sent off for printing with a mid May publication date.

I began writing this blog almost three years ago hoping to warn the people working on DSM 5 off their worst decisions.

For the most part I failed. About one third of my targets were dropped, but DSM 5 remains a reckless and poorly written document that will worsen diagnostic inflation, increase inappropriate treatment, create stigma, and cause confusion among clinicians and the public.

APA is betting cynically that, when the dust of controversy and opposition settles, DSM 5 will still have a captive audience forced to buy and use it. Some of my most knowledgeable friends think they are right and that I have mostly wasted my time on a fool's errand.

I don't agree. My view is that DSM 5 has taken a fatal hit internationally and is greatly discredited in US. But I may be self deluded.

My mission now changes. The people working on DSM 5 are no longer my primary audience and the DSM 5 changes are no longer my primary topic.

My main job now is to alert the public and clinicians on ways to contain diagnostic exuberance and to fight back against excessive and misdirected treatment for people who are essentially normal.

Equally important, I will be advocating that resources be redirected towards those who are really ill and who now are shamefully neglected.

The blog will also pick up on larger themes in psychology and psychiatry.

The new blog site has the same title as the book I have written for the general public—Saving Normal—and is located at

All of the blogs in the DSM 5 in Distress series will remain online and readers will still be able to comment on them.

I have also written another book for clinicians—Essentials of Psychiatric Diagnosis—that provides a convenient summary of how best to make accurate diagnoses and to avoid the DSM 5 pitfalls.

Part Three in the series on DSM 5's 'Somatic Symptom Disorder' can be found at 'Saving Normal':…

I am a techno-idiot, but have been shamed by my grandchildren and publishers into entering the Twitter world and will be tweeting at @AllenFrancesMD

Allen Frances, MD

Author of Saving Normal and Essentials of Psychiatric Diagnosis

More from Allen J Frances M.D.
More from Psychology Today
More from Allen J Frances M.D.
More from Psychology Today