When you visit a mental-health practitioner in the U.S., exercise extreme caution. Realize that the official guidelines now in force are not guidelines at all, but rather a license to diagnose anybody with anything.”

– Dr. Leonard Sax, physician and psychologist

One of the most frequent criticisms leveled at the American Psychiatric Association and it’s diagnostic manual is that it’s grown so vague and all-encompassing that it can be used to diagnose anyone with just about anything. What started out in 1952 as a spiral bound pamphlet has grown into a 947 page monstrosity with the latest publication of the DSM-5. Volume isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As an author, I know all too well how page count can quickly climb as you try to present research and case studies to firmly establish your position. but rather than becoming more precise, it’s only become more vague, and the increase in size has been mostly due to a vast expansion in the number of official mental illnesses. Several things have happened to loosen the diagnostic criteria: