Document Type


Publication Date



This essay addresses recent controversies surrounding the forthcoming fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5—the first major revision of the DSM since 1994), as well as questions regarding the safety and efficacy of psychotropic medications discussed in the public domain. Mental health professionals across a wide range of professions have signed a petition to the DSM-5 Task Force protesting changes in the new edition, and critiques of psychiatric medications are increasingly disseminated in the media. These issues have particular relevance for children in foster care, who receive diagnoses and medication at high rates. The general public is increasingly exposed to information on these topics through the media; as advocates and clinicians, it is important that social work practitioners be informed regarding these issues.


This article was originally published in Families in Society (print ISSN 1044-3894; electronic ISSN 1945-1350) and is made available here with permission of the publisher. Copyright © 2012 the Alliance for Children and Families.