Is The 'DSM' Destroying Local Crazy?

“In order to suggest the global effects of this American manual, I’ll examine one particular disorder…. Andrew Lakoff writes about gene-hunting drug companies which want lots of spit and blood samples so they can try to match up a disease with DNA, devise a way to detect the malady through DNA markers and then find a new drug that will ameliorate the symptoms. Mental disorders have to be identifiable by means of the DSM, because the US is the biggest market for medications. Partly to avoid ethics committees, and partly to keep a global net in place, the gene-hunters often go to impoverished places. In one case, a French drug company wanted DNA from bipolar patients. There was an underfunded mental hospital in Argentina, but it was psychodynamic in practice. Bipolar disorder is Kraepelinian, not Freudian, and so the hospital had no patients diagnosed as bipolar. The drug company made an offer the hospital could not refuse. So it reclassified its patients to DSM standards; doctors rethought and the patients experienced the symptoms in new ways. Such are the mechanisms of cultural imperialism.”