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Without a biological basis, how reliably can we diagnose and treat mental illness? (Rebroadcast)

The DSM — "psychiatry's bible" —has long been the subject of controversy.
The DSM — "psychiatry's bible" —has long been the subject of controversy.

We have MRIs for the brain and spinal cord, and EKGs for the heart. But when it comes to pinpointing depression or anxiety, the tools for precision are limited.

That’s why for the last 70 years, “psychiatry’s bible” has been the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).”

It’s a collection of criteria for psychiatric illnesses that’s updated periodically. But it’s long been the subject of controversy — from its ties to the pharmaceutical industry to concerns about overdiagnosis.

In her new book, “Pathological: The True Story of Six Misdiagnoses,” author Sarah Fay chronicles her uphill battle to find a reliable diagnosis.

We talk with Fay and a panel of experts about how we diagnose mental health.

Copyright 2022 WAMU 88.5

Kathryn Fink
Kathryn Fink is a producer with NPR's All Things Considered.