Patient advocacy and DSM-5

Dan J. Stein, Katharine A. Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

12 Scopus citations


The revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) provides a useful opportunity to revisit debates about the nature of psychiatric classification. An important debate concerns the involvement of mental health consumers in revisions of the classification. One perspective argues that psychiatric classification is a scientific process undertaken by scientific experts and that including consumers in the revision process is merely pandering to political correctness. A contrasting perspective is that psychiatric classification is a process driven by a range of different values and that the involvement of patients and patient advocates would enhance this process. Here we draw on our experiences with input from the public during the deliberations of the Obsessive Compulsive-Spectrum Disorders subworkgroup of DSM-5, to help make the argument that psychiatric classification does require reasoned debate on a range of different facts and values, and that it is appropriate for scientist experts to review their nosological recommendations in the light of rigorous consideration of patient experience and feedback.

Original languageEnglish
Article number133
JournalBMC Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 17 May 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Consumer advocacy
  • Diagnosis
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Nosology
  • Obsessive-compulsive and related disorders
  • Patient advocacy
  • Psychiatric classification


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