Tuesday, February 16, 2016

#Wikipedia - Mrs Linehan professor in psychology & the DSM

Mrs Linehan is a professor in psychology at the University of Washington. She is a celebrated scientist; the list of awards on her biography is long and not complete. The point is, she knows what she is talking about and the Wikipedia article on her has one interesting detail.
Linehan was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In March 1961 she was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the Institute of Living in Hartford, Connecticut where she was an inpatient. Linehan was subjected to electroconvulsive therapy, seclusion, as well as Thorazine and Librium as treatment.[2] She has said that she feels that she actually had borderline personality disorder.[3] In a 2011 interview with the The New York Times, Linehan said that she "does not remember" taking anypsychiatric medication after leaving the Institute of Living when she was 18 years old.[4]
The point is that she was diagnosed with schizophrenia but that she actually had borderline personality disorder. There are several parts to it. Either Mrs Linehan was misdiagnosed, she does not know what she is talking about OR she had a schizorphrenic episode and has borderline personality disorder. This however is impossible according to the DSM, the prevailing methodology in the USA, because the DSM is categorical in its approach. It is either or and not both.

Except when it is both and Mrs Linehan is not alone in this observation. As long as the DSM is used as a standard vocabulary so that scientists can ensure that research is about the same subject, there is no problem. It is a wonderful tool that helps scientists do their work. It is different when it is mistaken for the gospel truth when this level of detail is accepted as truth. Mrs Linehan is just one example showing the error in this.

The DSM has been shown to be in need of change before and it is likely that it will again. As long as it is only a tool for scientists, that is not a problem. It became a problem when insurance companies made it their own and, made inferences that do not hold water. It is just an accident that Mrs Linehan's case is so prominently documented. Typically it is not documented at all because it is an inconvenient truth.

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