First published in madinamerica.com
The Great "Crazy" Cover-up and Its Human Costs
Paula J. Caplan
Psychiatric diagnosis is fiction sold to the public as fact.
-- Gary Greenberg (2013, p.333)
[Psychiatry] has something rotten at its foundation: its have-it-both-ways, real-until-it-isn't diagnostic manual.
--Gary Greenberg (2013, p.351)
Is anything less regulated than the financial giants that have so damaged the United States economy? The enterprise of psychiatric diagnosis.
matter? Aren't those who seek help in the mental health system safe in the
hands of people who have committed their lives to being helping professionals?
The tragic answer is "no."
People whose version of history is considered true wield enormous power. The great journalist I.F. Stone (1907-1989) rigorously checked a person's claims and statements against what they had said previously and against the facts. Those who maintained power by rewriting history had much to fear from Stone. His approach is too much missing  from the DSM-5 debate (APA, 2013), its absence especially alarming because the previous edition, DSM-IV, led for nearly two decades to psychopathologizing of millions more people than ever before in history, and the consequences for many have been tragic ( Caplan, 2012a, 2012b).
This article is less about the specific people who do the rewriting -- although some are especially culpable -- than about the forces they embody and the power they have to invent history that becomes the basis for wrong assumptions, for misplaced outrage, for lack of outrage where it is justifiable, and for failure to take action aimed to prevent harm.
It is a major and dangerous myth to assume that psychiatric diagnosis is scientific and always or usually helpful and never harmful and that the traditional approaches of psychotherapy and drugs are the most effective and safe ways to reduce suffering. That combination of myths is used to justify depriving psychiatrically labeled people of their human rights on the grounds that it is good for them, for society, for both (Caplan, 2013b).