A New Foundation for Psychiatry?

Robyn Bluhm photo

Can neuroscience revolutionize psychiatry? This is what the National Institute of Mental Health hopes and why it has introduced its new Research Domain Criteria (RDoC). These criteria are to replace current diagnostic categories (as set out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM) as the way to identify different patient groups for research purposes. The criteria reflect different domains of functioning, whether interpersonal, cognitive, or affective; studies should aim to understand the underlying neural mechanisms. While the NIMH is clear that these criteria are to be used for research, not clinical, purposes, the ultimate purpose of RDoC is to provide a foundation for a completely new system of psychiatric classification. In this talk, Dr. Bluhm briefly describes the origins of RDoC and situates it in within the broader project of biological psychiatry. Dr. Bluhm then considers some of the assumptions underlying RDoC and their possible ethical implications.
Robyn Bluhm, PhD
Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University
Recorded January 27, 2016


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