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  • 1952 - The first edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) was published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). It detailed the diagnostic criteria for 106 psychiatric disorders including classified homosexuality as a “sexual deviation disorder”.

  • 1962 to 1979 - A form of Deep Sleep Therapy - where patients were put into extended barbiturate induced comas and given repeated electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) - was practised at Chelmsford Hospital in Sydney. Led by psychiatrist Dr Harry Bailey, Deep Sleep Therapy was supposed to treat a range of conditions; including schizophrenia, depression, obesity, premenstrual stress and addiction. However it caused the death of at least 26 patients (possibly as many as 85) and permanently disabled many others (including Stevie Wright the lead singer of the Easybeats). In 1985 Bailey - who had been highly regarded and influential - committed suicide by ingesting barbiturates thereby avoiding criminal prosecution over the death of one of his patients.[i]

  • 1968 - DSM-II was published. It listed 182 disorders including “Hyperkinetic Reaction of Childhood” a forerunner of ADHD.

  • 1973 - Following public pressure the APA voted to modify DSM-II so that homosexuality was no-longer classified as a psychiatric disorder (no other “disorder’ has been demedicalized by the APA).[ii]

  • 1973 - The results of the Rosehan Experiment were published highlighting concerns about the validity and reliability of psychiatric diagnosis. Eight ‘normal’ people briefly feigned auditory hallucinations in an attempt to gain admission to psychiatric hospitals in the US. All were admitted and after admission, they acted ‘normally’ and told staff that they felt fine and had no longer experienced any additional hallucinations. All were forced to admit to having a mental illness and had to agree to take antipsychotic drugs as a condition of their release. Seven of the eight were diagnosed with schizophrenia "in remission" before their release.


[i]     Watson M. Deep sleep therapy and Chelmsford Private Hospital: have we learnt anything? Australasian Psychiatry 21(3):206-212 June 2013 file:///C:/Users/177421E/Downloads/deepsleeparticle.pdf

[ii]    Drescher J, Out of DSM: Depathologizing Homosexuality, Behavorial Science (Basel). 2015 Dec; 5(4): 565–575. Available at (accessed 2 June 2020)

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