DSM V Controversy — Silencing Critics?

So what’s the big deal?

Well, that’s the really a subject of a slightly longer post. Since there really is no single controversy, but a whole complex of them. I just wanted to draw your attention to a post on the almost-defunct Carlat Psychiatry Blog. Apparently the American Psychiatric Association threatened to sue a blogger, Suzy Chapman [no relation], for her blog about the revisions of DSM-V. It’s a short post, so I include it in full here:

I just read Bernard Carroll’s interesting post on the Health Care Renewal Blog about the latest DSM-5 brouhaha. It appears that the American Psychiatric Association has sent a “cease and desist” letter to a website critical of the DSM-5. The site was called “dsm5watch,” but the APA argues that using DSM-5 in the blog title is an infringement of their trademark. The owner of the blog, Suzy Chapman, having no funds to tussle with APA lawyers, simply changed the name of her site to dxrevisionwatch, which, she says, has resulted in much less traffic.

Is the APA simply protecting its ownership of a lucrative franchise, or is it engaging in something more insidious, what Dr. Carroll calls the “SLAPP maneuver,” an acronym for “strategic lawsuit against public participation”? I’m guessing that APA would have had little problem with the site if it were cheerleading the DSM-5 process. It all seems rather heavy-handed to me. After all, the New York Times appears to have no problem with the anti-Times site called TimesWatchIn a democratic society, healthy dissent and debate is part of the package. It may be annoying, but that doesn’t excuse the bullying tactics that the APA has chosen.

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