Harm should not be a necessary criterion for mental disorder: some reflections on the DSM-5 definition of mental disorder

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 40 (4):321-337 (2019)

Authors
Elisabetta Lalumera
Università Di Milano-Bicocca
Abstract
The general definition of mental disorder stated in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders seems to identify a mental disorder with a harmful dysfunction. However, the presence of distress or disability, which may be bracketed as the presence of harm, is taken to be merely usual, and thus not a necessary requirement: a mental disorder can be diagnosed as such even if there is no harm at all. In this paper, we focus on the harm requirement. First, we clarify what it means to say that the harm requirement is not necessary for defining the general concept of mental disorder. In this respect, we briefly examine the two components of harm, distress and disability, and then trace a distinction between mental disorder tokens and mental disorder types. Second, we argue that the decision not to regard the harm requirement as a necessary criterion for mental disorder is tenable for a number of practical and theoretical reasons, some pertaining to conceptual issues surrounding the two components of harm and others pertaining to the problem of false negatives and the status of psychiatry vis-à-vis somatic medicine. However, we believe that the harm requirement can be maintained among the specific diagnostic criteria of certain individual mental disorders. More precisely, we argue that insofar as the harm requirement is needed among the specific diagnostic criteria of certain individual mental disorders, it should be unpacked and clarified.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s11017-019-09499-4
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 46,355
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Health as a Theoretical Concept.Christopher Boorse - 1977 - Philosophy of Science 44 (4):542-573.
A Second Rebuttal On Health.Christopher Boorse - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (6):683-724.
A Rebuttal on Health.Christopher Boorse - 1997 - In James M. Humber & Robert F. Almeder (eds.), What is Disease? Humana Press. pp. 1--134.
Disease.Rachel Cooper - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 33 (2):263-282.

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Mental Disorder and Values.Bengt Brülde - 2007 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 14 (2):pp. 93-102.
ADHD Drugs: Values That Drive the Debates and Decisions. [REVIEW]Susan Hawthorne - 2007 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 10 (2):129-140.
The Concept of Mental Disorder: A Proposal.Alfredo Gaete - 2008 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 15 (4):327-339.
Free Will and Mental Disorder: Exploring the Relationship.Gerben Meynen - 2010 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 31 (6):429-443.
Harm and the Concept of Medical Disorder.Neil Feit - 2017 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 38 (5):367-385.
Why the Mental Disorder Concept Matters.Dusan Kecmanovic - 2011 - Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences 4 (1):1-9.
Mental Disorders as Lacks of Mental Capacities.Alfredo Gaete - 2008 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 15 (4):345-347.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2019-09-19

Total views
12 ( #691,527 of 2,286,119 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
12 ( #71,353 of 2,286,119 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature