Without even watching this documentary 1 could imagine what it was going to be, I mean the title says it all doesn’t it, an expository film that would give us the truth on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and those behind it, the American Psychiatric Association. Although, within the first five minutes it struck me that this expository film was quite heavy-handed and in my personal opinion somewhat ham-fisted The overall tone of this documentary was almost cartoonish. Within the first minute of the video they displayed disorders from the DSM on decks of cards atop a poker table, while I can appreciate the symbolism behind it- allusion to the fact that the committee of psychologists who decide what to include in the DSM treat the process as though it is a game and they gamble with people’s lives» itjust came across as a joke and ridiculous. The worst thing of all in this overall metaphor was their portrayal of the psychologists playing poker with DSM cards and prescription chips, as though the filmmakers believed that by making those involved with the development and additions to the DSM seem like the villains from childhood cartoons we would instantly root against them. It was much too overt and honestly funny, i found it hard to take any of that seriously. Not to mention the over-the-top reactions and attitudes of the narrators guiding us through the many different points on why the DSM is the worst possible thing to happen to mental health care ever since its inception.
All expository documentaries are attempting to persuade the viewer to see a different perspective, but the filmmakers behind this documentary forgot anything they knew about subtlety and just went with an almost propagandist methodology instead of letting the source material speak for itself. The film had the testimony of many people who had experienced the suffering caused at the hands of psychologists using the DSM, as well as many experts in the mental health field revealing the way they truly felt about the DSM, I would say this was the best tactic this documentary employed. They obviously handpicked those they interviewed in order to find whoever would best fit their views on the DSM, but even so they implemented pathos by allowing those who have had poor or harmful experiences on medicine prescribed to them only after being unexpectedly diagnosed to speak about what they went through and how they felt, the filmmakers also included stories of those who could not cope with their illnesses and the drugs they were treated with and killed themselves. This could incite emotions in viewers so it was a well used “expository trick”.
There was even appeals to ethos and logos in the film by including statistics and specific data, as well as testimony from professionals who practice with the DSM, After carefully considering all the ways the video attempted to sway me, I’d have to argue that it wasn‘t very convincing. As I previously stated it came across as cartoonish and funny at times. Not only that but some of the things it was claiming seemed unfounded or ridiculous. While i understand where those behind this documentary are coming from, because there are some underhanded practices going on behind the scenes in terms of the DSM and mental health treatments, I feel it is misplaced animosity that fuels this documentary rather than a true desire to inform viewers. The DSM is a guideline that allows for standardization and increased and more efficient communication amongst psychiatrists. Most other medical fields have a plethora of clear cut journals and textbooks that can directly define the symptoms of a disease. Therefore, physicians can easily use these resources to diagnose a patient, However, psychiatric diseases do not follow this clear-cut pattern and are a lot harder to efficiently diagnose. Although the DSM does indirectly lead to over-diagnosis, the blame should be shifted to the actual psychiatrists rather than the manual itself. The discussion on the pharmaceutical industry was not entirely wrong either, of course money is what makes the world go round and thus companies are always looking for ways to exploit people and make more money, but we don’t live in a world where we are can’t do anything about it.