Constructing Madness. Discourse analysis of changes in the DSM
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Understandings of mental disorders have changed over time and related concepts are often contested and definitions. This project used discourse analysis to analyse how the official definition of substance related disorders have changed in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in comparison with the previous fourth edition (APA, 2000, 2013a). In particular, the analysis focused on how the changes are presented as justified in academic discourse. Three recurrent themes were identified: (a) presenting the previous version as problematic; (b) presenting the benefits of implementing certain changes; and (c) presenting the changes as being based on strong scientific evidence. The analysis of the themes revealed that the justifications are built up through various discursive and rhetoric features within the text, such as consensus formulation and empiricist discourse. The implications of the findings are discussed and future research directions are also discussed.