Monday, May 6, 2013

David Kupfer, M.D., Responds to Criticism of DSM-5 by NIMH Director

Responding to recent criticism of DSM-5 and its previous iterations by NIMH Director Thomas Insel, M.D., the chair of APA's DSM-5 Task Force, David Kupfer, M.D., issued a statement emphasizing that the diagnostic manual "provides clinicians with a common language to deliver the best patient care possible" and is "the strongest system currently available for classifying disorders." Insel had charged that the system that DSM uses to classify diagnoses is reliable but lacks validity, since the diagnoses "are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure," such as those used to make diagnoses in other fields of medicine.

Kupfer stated that “efforts like the National Institute of Mental Health’s Research Domain Criteria [RDoC] are vital to the continued progress of our collective understanding of mental disorders." He continued by noting that Insel's vision of a system based on biological and genetic markers "remains disappointingly distant" and "cannot serve us in the here and now." It "merely hand[s] patients another promissory note that something may happen sometime. Every day," he said, psychiatrists must respond to patients who are suffering. "Our patients deserve no less."

The complete text of Kupfer's statement is posted at


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