DSM-5: Courtroom Folly?

Having taken Phil Resnick's AAPL forensic psychiatry course twice I can tell you one of the concepts that sticks in my mind best relates to the DSM: According to Dr. Resnick expert witnesses should cite this work, and this work alone, as an "authoritative text" in psychiatry.

Will that hold true for DSM-5 after all the attacks, controversy and challenges to its validity? I can easily imagine a courtroom erupting in laughter after an expert witness admits (Yes, Phil, I recall your comments about the use of that word in testimony.) to reliance upon the new edition. In the past most of the conversation remained in professional circles, but even judges and many jurors will likely have read of the questions raised very publicly.

What of cases in progress? Reports written prior to release of DSM-5 will likely include multiaxial diagnoses made in accordance with DSM-IV TR and will be obsolete by the time the expert takes the stand.

Will you cite DSM-5 as THE authoritative text next time you testify? We may be in for a wild ride with some interesting attempts at back pedaling during cross examination. I predict that plaintiffs and defendants alike will attack the credibility of our latest attempt to classify mental disorders.

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