Allan Horwitz: A History of Psychiatry’s Bible


Allan Horwitz

Allan is a professor and author who earned a doctoral degree in Sociology from Yale University where he was trained in psychiatric epidemiology and in deviance and social control. He has studied a variety of aspects of mental health and illness, including the social response to mental illness, family caretaking for dependent populations, the impact of social roles and statuses on mental health, and the social construction of mental disorders.

He published over 100 articles in the main journals in his field. In addition, he has published twelve books, including The Social Control of Mental Illness, Creating Mental Illness, The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Misery into Depressive Disorder, All We Have to Fear: Psychiatry’s Transformation of Normal Anxieties into Mental Disorders, PTSD: A Short History, and more. His latest book, DSM: A History of Psychiatry’s Bible, does a fantastic job unpacking the history of the DSM. 

We talk about…

  • What the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is
  • Who influences what goes in and out of the DSM
  • Where the DSM started and where it is today
  • The pros and cons of the DSM
  • Whether or not Allan believes the DSM is credible
  • Why Allan believes the DSM is a straitjacket
  • The increase of people self-identifying with their diagnosis
  • Why premenstrual dysphoric disorder was so controversial
  • The subjectivity in diagnosing
  • The lack of validity with the current DSM
  • What role pharmaceutical companies play in diagnosing
  • Why clinicians depend on the DSM

More from Allan Horwitz…

Buy Allan's book, DSM: A History of Psychiatry's Bible

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If you loved this episode, be sure to listen to Episode 72: Rethinking Mental Health with David Cohen

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