Illinois Task force to investigate the Criteria for the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

By Maria Mangicaro

Chicago, IL:  Allegations of deceptive practices among mental health care professionals is a concern for Illinois House of Representatives by Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago).  Flowers has introduced a resolution calling for the establishment of a “Task Force on Mental Diagnosis and Illinois Law.” HR0898 is co-sponsored by Rep. La Shawn K. Ford (D-Chicago).

The task force was formed in response to allegations of deceptive practices pertaining to the formulation and diagnostic criteria of psychiatric definitions for mental disorders by the American Psychiatric Association that has resulted in “at least 3 false epidemics causing countless persons to be prescribed expensive, unnecessary, potentially dangerous psychotropic drugs.”

By consensual agreement within the American Psychiatric Association psychiatric diagnoses are descriptive labels only for phenomenology, not etiological or mechanistic explanation for syndromes. Thus, a psychiatric diagnosis labels a pattern of signs and symptoms, but offers no hypothesis concerning the mechanism(s) of the clinical phenomena.(Davidoff et al.,1991).

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) classifies psychotic illnesses as “Psychosis Due to General Medical Conditions”, and “Substance Induced Psychosis”. (DSM-IV Codes 293.81 & 292.11). Distinguishing medical conditions and substance-induced psychosis from schizophrenia or Bipolar disorder through clinical presentation often is difficult.  Law makers must consider the treatment of mental disorders must include accurate assesment and best practice standards of care.

 

Short Description:  CREATES-TASK FORCE MENTAL DIAG House Sponsors Rep. Mary E. FlowersLa Shawn K. Ford Last Action

Date Chamber Action
  3/28/2012 House Referred to Rules Committee

Synopsis As Introduced Creates the Task Force on Mental Diagnosis and Illinois Law within the Office of the Governor. Actions

Date Chamber Action
  3/27/2012 House Filed with the Clerk by Rep. Mary E. Flowers
  3/27/2012 House Chief Co-Sponsor Rep. La Shawn K. Ford
  3/28/2012 House Referred to Rules Committee
HR0898 LRB097 20749 KXB 67264 r
1 HOUSE RESOLUTION
2     WHEREAS, Mental illness is a critical underlying concept in
3 various areas of our law affecting mitigation of criminal
4 responsibility and fundamental rights to property, individual
5 liberty, and personal privacy; and
6     WHEREAS, For at least 2 generations, mental illness has
7 been presumed to be brain disease which is best confronted as a
8 treatable medical problem; and
9     WHEREAS, Vast amounts of State resources and tax monies,
10 not to mention the creative energies and work of our citizens
11 and civil servants, are continuously expended in accordance
12 with Illinois laws and regulations dependent upon derived
13 psychiatric definitions, formulations, and diagnostic criteria
14 for mental disorders, in particular upon those definitions,
15 formulations, and criteria which are found in the American
16 Psychiatric Association's nearly 20-year-old Diagnostic and
17 Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition
18 (DSM-IV); and
19     WHEREAS, The head of the task force which developed DSM-IV
20 recently admitted that since it was published in 1993, that
21 manual has resulted in at least 3 false epidemics causing
22 countless persons to be prescribed expensive, unnecessary,
HR0898 – 2 – LRB097 20749 KXB 67264 r
1 potentially dangerous psychotropic drugs; and
2     WHEREAS, A professor of psychiatry and author of a leading
3 reference book on psychopharmacology recently called the
4 entire chemical imbalance theory of mental disorders an urban
5 legend; and
6     WHEREAS, Experts in the field of mental health are
7 currently in major and substantial disagreement about the
8 general validity of psychiatric diagnosis itself; and
9     WHEREAS, Despite explicit admonitions in DSM-IV against
10 the use of psychiatric diagnosis for such legal purposes as
11 establishing competence, criminal responsibility or
12 disability, Illinois courts and agencies have nonetheless
13 habitually relied upon the formulations and criteria in the DSM
14 for the precise expertise which the text itself disclaims; and
15     WHEREAS, A new edition of the American Psychiatric
16 Association's manual, DSM-5, is scheduled for publication in
17 May of 2013, but proposed changes for this upcoming DSM are
18 provoking intense criticism from a diverse range of mental
19 health experts, more than 12,000 of whom have signed a petition
20 protesting the secretive and unscientific character of the
21 APA's proposals to expand concepts of mental disorder to a
22 point where normal human emotions and coping behaviors will be
HR0898 – 3 – LRB097 20749 KXB 67264 r
1 falsely pathologized as illness; therefore, be it
2     RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE
3 NINETY-SEVENTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that
4 the Task Force on Mental Diagnosis and Illinois Law be created
5 within the Office of the Governor, and jointly supervised by
6 the Comptroller and the Attorney General, to
7     (1) thoroughly survey the Illinois Compiled Statutes and
8     Administrative Code to identify all instances where our
9     laws and government functions depend upon purported
10     understanding of mental illness or disorder, mental
11     capacity, mental health, behavior or psychology, which may
12     be recently discredited, or reasonably considered
13     incorrect or arbitrary in light of the current confusion
14     among mental health experts over the possible absence of
15     scientific validity in psychiatric diagnosis;
16     (2) forward initial recommendations of urgent legislative
17     actions which may be needed to avoid gross injustice or
18     waste of public resources to the General Assembly as soon
19     as possible; and
20     (3) produce a final report summarizing the task force's
21     findings and detailing recommended statutory or
22     constitutional strategies to correct negative impacts of
23     concepts and nomenclature now discredited or inconsistent
24     with current medical science, and to avoid future
25     immoderate scientism in our laws and public policy; and be
HR0898 – 4 – LRB097 20749 KXB 67264 r
1     it further
2     RESOLVED, That the task force shall consist of the
3 following members: 3 members appointed by the Speaker of the
4 House of Representatives, one of whom shall be appointed
5 co-chairperson; 3 members appointed by the minority leader of
6 the House of Representatives, one of whom shall be appointed
7 co-chairperson, one member appointed by the Comptroller; and
8 one member appointed by the Attorney General; and be it further
9     RESOLVED, That in appointing members of the task force, the
10 Speaker and minority leader shall consider that professional
11 experience in diverse mental health-related fields may be a
12 positive qualification; and be it further
13     RESOLVED, That the task force shall take voluntary
14 assistance and testimony from individuals and professional
15 organizations and institutions; and be it further
16     RESOLVED, That the members of the task force shall serve
17 without compensation but may be reimbursed for actual expenses
18 while serving on the task force from funds appropriated to the
19 Office of the Governor for that purpose; and be it further
20     RESOLVED, That the task force shall submit its final report
21 to the Governor and the General Assembly no later than December
HR0898 – 5 – LRB097 20749 KXB 67264 r
1 31, 2013.


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