Skip Navigation LinksHome > June 2012 - Volume 200 - Issue 6 > Diagnostic Inflation: Causes and a Suggested Cure
Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease:
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e318257c4a2
Original Article

Diagnostic Inflation: Causes and a Suggested Cure

Batstra, Laura PhD*; Frances, Allen MD

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Abstract

Abstract: There have been a striking diagnostic inflation and a corresponding increase in the use of psychotropic drugs during the past 30 years. DSM-5, scheduled to appear in May 2013, proposes another grand expansion of mental illness. In this article, we will review the causes of diagnostic exuberance and associated medical treatment. We will then suggest a method of stepped care combined with stepped diagnosis, which may reduce overdiagnosis without risking undertreatment of those who really need help. The goal is to control diagnostic inflation, to reduce the harms and costs of unnecessary treatment, and to save psychiatry from overdiagnosis and ridicule.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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