The DSM-5 as Poetry


This morning I was trying to make fun of the DSM-5. My strategy was to read passages from the DSM-5 Introduction to Rita after breakfast. Somehow, I must have read them slowly and poetically because Rita really liked the passages . . . which I didn’t expect.

Rita’s response inspired me to place the DSM passages into an appropriate poetry format. And so although I’ve taken the liberty to title and format the words based on my own judgments, the words themselves are taken directly from the DSM-5 (with page numbers cited, so you can find them yourselves).

 Diagnosing Peter Piper

The symptoms in our diagnostic criteria

are part

of

the relatively limited repertoire

of

human emotional responses to

internal

and

external stresses

that are generally maintained in a

homeostatic balance

without a disruption in normal functioning.

It requires clinical training to recognize

when the combination

of

predisposing,

precipitating,

perpetuating,

and

protective

factors

has resulted in a

psychopathological

condition in which

physical signs and symptoms exceed

normal

ranges. [From the DSM-5, p. 19]

 

Shifting Boundaries and Thresholds

The boundaries between normality and pathology

vary

across cultures

for specific types

of behaviors.

Thresholds of tolerance

for specific symptoms

or behaviors

differ

across cultures,

social settings,

and families.

Hence,

the level at which an experience becomes problematic

or pathological

will differ. (DSM-5, p. 14)

 

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