woeNavigating Codes




By Gary Greenberg
Blue Rider Press, 403 pages, $28.95

Woe is right. While reading The Book of Woe – the DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry, this thought kept coming back to me. For those who aren’t familiar with the DSM, it stands for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. It’s a guide for clinicians, researchers, insurers, and patients to help navigate the path of psychiatry, disorders, and medications as well. Since its conception, it has gone through many changes, i.e. the newest manual DSM-5 came out May 22 and is up for debate. This book is not for the faint of heart – Greenberg states “Here’s the problem. There is no definition of a mental disorder. It’s bullshit. I mean you can’t define it.” He not only rips apart the newest DSM revision, but also the American Psychiatric Association, in general, and how they chose what to include or what not to include.

In my professional life, I work as a residential counselor at a residential treatment facility for clients who deal an ongoing mental health diagnosis and can see how both the DSM-5 and this book is relevant for me and the fields of psychology and psychiatry. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in this field or is new to the field.

Reviewed by Annie Hicks

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