However unfortunate Caplan’s story is, it does not validly discredit the DSM. There is a large amount of variables that could have affected this woman’s life and caused all her grief. Take how the woman in the article is diagnosed after a quick assessment by a doctor. She could have had a very bad doctor who often made irrational decisions, or perhaps she did actually have bipolar disorder. The article makes no mention of whether the woman was correctly diagnosed or not. It certainly makes no mention of the DSM being consulted by the doctor. The woman’s problems after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder could not necessarily have all been due to her diagnosis cut could have stemmed from other problems. I feel as though Caplan’s criticisms should be directed to problems in psychiatric diagnosing procedure instead of at the DSM. Perhaps the diagnosing procedure should be better regulated. Similarly, due to the negative connotations often associated with mental illnesses, several psychiatrists should be consulted to ensure that a person is not diagnosed unnecessarily. I feel as though these measures would more efficiently reduce mistreatment of patients than disregarding the DSM would.
What Caplan does not mention are the benefits that are provided by having such a standardize method of diagnosing mental disorders. The DSM provides psychiatrists consistency in diagnosing and recognizing mental illness. Although the system is still susceptible to human error, it can still be considered better than a system where psychiatrists have isolated and potentially differing opinions on mental illnesses. The APA should work towards making the DSM as accurate and scientifically based as possible as well as work to eliminate the effects of racism, sexism, and classism in the modern diagnosing of mental illnesses.