Monday, May 07, 2007

"Nymphomania" in the DSM-IV

Nymphomaniacs were once believed to be have a psychological disorder. In men the disorder was called satyriasis (from the word satyr.) "Nymphomania" and "satyriasis" are no longer listed as specific disorders in the DSM-IV, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, about which the mere idea of having a manual for mental disorders actually seems ridiculous to me. It is a book full of simplistic and arbitrary distinction between normal personality, personality traits and personality disorder. The most commonly diagnosed personality disorder is 301.9, or "Personality Disorder not Otherwise Specified." The whole project is institutionally biased. An article published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics pointed out that "every psychiatric expert involved in writing the standard diagnostic criteria for disorders such as depression and schizophrenia has had financial ties to drug companies that sell medications for those illnesses."

In the United States, health insurance typically will not pay for psychological or psychiatric services unless a DSM-IV mental disease diagnosis accompanies the insurance claim. This has obviously encouraged the ever-expanding number of disease categories. It may also cause people to be labeled with "illness" for the purpose of reimbursement. All physician services in the United States require an "ICD code" for health insurance payment, regardless if the patient has a definable illness or not. This is equally true of mental or physical complaints.

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