Submission for DSM-5

I write with concern that certain disorders, namely that known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, will be deliberately included under the proposed DSM-V revisions.

I deem in inappropriate that a condition classified as a neurological disorder under the World Health Organisation should be in any way classified as either somatic or psychiatric.

I am particularly troubled by the fact that the criteria set out under the new category of Complex Somatic Symptom Disorder means that any patient who suffers from complex long-term conditions where pain and fatigue are primary symptoms, could be labelled as misreading the signs of their disease therefore being diagnosed as somatic before further investigations have been carried out.

This revision could lead to further cases where people are excluded from being diagnosed with certain conditions and more people are misdiagnosed with psychiatric diseases they do not have.

Many experts in the M.E field know that certain symptoms such as neurally mediated hypo-tension are commonplace, yet if a patient is labelled as psychosomatic, then this treatable sub-condition will remain ignored as it has for myself for three years. I am also HHV6 positive but because of the British stance on ME, I remain untreated. Don’t let the American Psychiatry Association ruin more lives. You have enough good research coming out of America, listen to it. You CAN treat, you MUST treat. You don’t need to do this to people whose disease is classified as neurological.

The British Guidelines are based on the principle that M.E patients suffer physical symptoms that are not the consequence of underlying physical disease but are due to abnormal illness beliefs, and that these abnormal beliefs are responsible for the perpetuation of the perceived disability. The NHS Fatigue Services are based around this very principle.  It is clear that in clinical practice, certain psychiatrists would like to see the diagnosis of M.E replaced by a diagnosis of somatisation – the unproven beliefs of the psychosocial school have no relevance to complex organic disorders such as M.E.

One of the most compelling sources of hostility between patients and doctors in the UK is the hypothesis proposed in the “Lancet” by Professor Michael Sharpe in 1999, that M.E is a psychiatric condition, characterised by a history of emotional disorder and childhood abuse.33 (Wessely, C Nimnuan, M Sharpe, Functional somatic syndromes: one or many?, Lancet 1999; 354: 936-39, 11 September 1999.)

Given Professor Sharpe’s undeniable bias towards M.E patients and blatant disregard for the WHO classification, surely any suggestion that M.E be under the new DSM-V category be reviewed?

Gabrielle Lewis

Action Now




1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. sleepysunshine
    Jun 15, 2011 @ 05:33:50

    It would be unconscionable for any such proposal to proceed in the light of the many treatable diseases that people with ME Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have. If history writes this act against humanity into the permanent record God Help Us All !


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