7). And until today, the question as to what defines normality from abnormality, remains debatable. But it was also in defining and categorically classifying mental disorders that psychiatry – which was under a decade severe attack in the 70’s – won its bid for professional legitimacy and authority in this field, as brought about by the third edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostically based Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, commonly referred to as DSM-III (Mayes & Horwitz, 2005, p. 249; Kirk & Kutchins, 1994, p. 71). As Robert Spitzer, the primary force in the development of DSM-III, stated “[W]hether we like it or not, the issue of defining the boundaries of mental and medical disorder cannot be ignored. Increasingly there is pressure for the medical profession and psychiatry in particular to define its area of prime responsibility” (cited in Healy, 1997, p. 233).
However, although DSM-III had given so much influence to psychiatry, it did not actually resolve old-age questions regarding mental health, especially so that “Psychiatric diagnosis provides the fundamental rubric for discourse about mental illness” (Kirk & Kutchins, 1992, p.10). Additionally, although it is now widely used as a biblical text not only by psychiatrists but even by lawyers, federal agents, insurance agents, pharmaceuticals, it is on the other hand criticised in different fronts, which when analysed, such criticisms essentially attack DSM’s integrity as to its true intention, as to its scientific claims, and as to its usefulness. Whether such criticisms hold water could be scrutinised from critically evaluating DSMs origin and contemporary role.
The development of DSM from its very beginning to its latest version has consistently compromised with other political and financial interests shrouding its validity as a scientific, diagnostic instrument for