This is how psychiatry works.

I had to share this with you all. (Forgive typos please)

When the DSM-III was being revised in the mid-80s (in the preparation of DSM-III-R), Robert Spitzer, the effective God of Prescriptive Psychiatric Policing and Supreme Arbiter of Crazy (Bitches), got dead gung-ho about trying to include a new disorder, Masochistic Personality Disorder, to the manual. This was what was written in the October 1985 draft:

301.89 Masochistic Personality Disorder

Feelings of Martyrdom and Self-Defeating behavior as indicated by at least six of the following:

  1. remains in relationships in which others exploit, abuse or take advantage of him or her, despite opportunities to alter the situation
  2. believes that he or she almost always sacrifices own interests for those of others
  3. rejects help, gifts or favours so as not to be a burden on others
  4. complains, directly or indirectly, about being underappreciated
  5. responds to success or positive events by feeling undeserving or worrying excessively
  6. always pessimistic about the future and preoccupied with the worst aspects of the past and present
  7. thinks only about his or her worst features and ignores positive features
  8. sabotages his or her own intended goals
  9. repeatedly turns down opportunities for pleasure

I hope you all can see how this “diagnosis” is objectionable. And on hearing about it, people (other than white men, who fucking loved it) did object. 

These objections began with Jean Hamilton, who was part of the work group revising DSM-III, resigned in protest. Teresa Bernadez, who was then the chair of the APA*’s Committee on Women (which was meant to be consulted on all matters concerning/affecting women) was not told about the proposal for MPD (or another “disorder”, “Coercive Rapism”, which was also proposed in the same revision). Nobody on the committee was informed. At all. But she found out and rallied some feminists to begin opposing the plans.

And the APA started freaking out, so they planned some hearings on the topic for November 1985. So Spitzer invited reps from the APA’s Committee on Women and the AP-logA** Committee on Women in Psychology and he also got together his own committee who were in support of the new “diagnosis”. The only woman on Spitzer’s committee was his wife; the rest were men. The committee only allowed six women critics to speak.

"Spitzer opened the hearings by explaining that they were trying through the DSM revision to make diagnosis more scientific. Then he offered as evidence his study of eight patients of psychiatrists in his department of psychiatry at Columbia University. Richard Simons, the president of the [AP-analA] and a longtime proponent of [MPD] then presented a historical overview in which he argued that similar diagnoses had been used in the past and were therefore valid….

Then the women critics were allowed to speak. Lenore Walker, a psychological researcher who had done extensive research on battered women, explained to the panel that domestic violence often causes women to behave in the very ways that were now being considered as eveidence of [MPD]. She explained that the reason battered women do not strike back or leave their husbands is that they fear even worse battering and the possibility of being murdered, not that they seek punishment. She based her remarks on research. Lynne Rosewater, a forensic psychologist who was chair of the Steering Committee of the Feminist Therapy Institute, described how each of the proposed criteria was a behavior typical of victims of abuse. She indicated to the panel that her institute would file a lawsuit if the APA passed the proposed diagnosis.

The panel members were not impressed. They told the women that they [the women] had never looked at any of their [the men’s] studies and that the domestic violence research presented was “irrelevant”. The hearing ended at noon, although it was scheduled to last all day. Spitzer said that he had heard enough from the women, that the panel would start drafting diagnoses, and that the women should leave. The women protested their dismissal and they were allowed to stay—but only if they did not speak. In the afternoon session the panelists discussed among themselves how to define masochism; they made little reference to research. Diagnostic criteria were discussed and keyed into a computer. Lynne Rosewater recalled that during the discussion of a criterion of [MPD] Spitzer’s wife said, “I do that sometimes,” and Spitzer says, “Okay, take it out”. “You watch this”, said Rosewater, “and you say, ‘Wait a second, we don’t have the right to criticize them because this is a “science”?’ It was really frightening”.

From Making Us Crazy: DSM: the Psychiatric Bible and the Creation of Mental Disorders by Herb Kutchins and Stuart A Kirk. London: Constable, 1999. 140-141.

( link)
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* APA = American Psychiatric Association

** AP-logA = American Psychological Association
*** AP-analA = American Psychoanalytic Association 

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    This is some scary shit.
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    This is why I am SO hesitant to seek further help for my anxiety and the depression that comes with my PMS. Seriously....
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