In a letter to the editor of the Washington Post (5/4), John Oldham, MD, president of the American Psychiatric Association, writes in regard to the “April 29 Outlook article titled ‘When a diagnosis does more harm than good.'” Dr. Oldham observes, “Paula J. Caplan contended that many people are ‘arbitrarily slapped with a psychiatric label,’ which can ‘cost anyone their health insurance, job, custody,’ etc. I find this argument troubling, since overwhelming evidence demonstrates that stigma and misinformation about psychiatric illness prevent people from getting appropriate treatment.” Dr. Oldham points out, “Brain disorders are just as real as disorders of other organs in the body. The process of diagnosis is not an exact science, but a scientifically informed one, and scientific understanding of brain disorders is advancing rapidly.”
— “A psychiatric ‘label’ can save a life,”Edward Gogek, The Washington Post, May 3, 2012.