23 March 2012, 18.00 – 20.00

Mind–Brain Lecture: Allen Frances (Duke)

“Diagnostic inflation in psychiatry: Can we save ‘normal’?”

Publication of the fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) in May 2013 will mark one the most anticipated events in the mental health field. Allen Frances was the chairman of the task force that created the current DSM-4. The DSM is psychiatry’s only official way of deciding who has a “mental disorder” and who is “normal.” The quotes are necessary because this distinction is very hard to make at the fuzzy boundary between the two. If requirements for diagnosing a mental disorder are too stringent, some who need help will be left out. If they are too loose, normal people will receive unnecessary, expensive and perhaps harmful treatment. Frances is one of the most outspoken critics of the proposed changes. He laments that DSM-V will lead to a “diagnostic inflation” in psychiatry by reducing thresholds for existing disorders (e. g., for depression), and by introducing new high prevalence disorders at the boundary with normality (e. g., “apathy syndrome,” “Internet addiction disorder” and “parental alienation syndrome”)

The lecture is followed by a panel discussion:

Professor em. Allen Frances (Duke University)
Professor Henrik Walter (Charité, Berlin)
Professor Peter Zachar (Auburn University Montgomery)

Contact information:
Professor Geert Keil, Institute of Philosophy, Humboldt-Universität



Berlin School of Mind and Brain
Festsaal, 2nd Floor
Luisenstraße 56
10117 Berlin


Professor Geert Keil, Institute of Philosophy
geert.keil-please remove this text-@hu-berlin.de