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Developing alternatives to the DSM: The challenge of overcoming ‘lock-in’

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Publication date14/12/2024
Host publicationTheoretical Alternatives to the Psychiatric Model of Mental Disorder Labeling: : Contemporary Frameworks, Taxonomies, and Models
EditorsArnoldo Cantu, Eric Maisel, Chuck Ruby
PublisherEthics International Press
ISBN (print)9781804412763
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is a classification that is currently much used, but not much loved. There have been many attempts to develop alternatives to the DSM, but it has proved very difficult for alternative classifications to achieve uptake. In this chapter I argue that the DSM is now difficult to replace because the classification has become ‘locked-in’. In the same sort of way that it has proved hard for typists to move on from QWERTY keyboards, though this layout is likely suboptimal, it has become hard for mental health systems to move on from the DSM. I finish with some suggestions as to how lock-in might be overcome, focussing particularly on the challenges faced by those who aim to produce an alternative classification that might be employed for clinical and administrative purposes.