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5/20/13 2:22pm

New DSM Launches Amid Controversy


The New Testament. Photo via

At long last, the new DSM-5—the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, aka the psychiatrist's bible—has been unleashed on the world, and so far the controversy that engulfed it pre-publication shows no sign of abating. The much-debated, fifth-edition update to 1994's DSM-IV made its debut last Saturday at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in San Francisco. One of the most outspoken critics, Dr. Allen Frances, who headed up the DSM-IV revision—and who later lamented how that edition contributed to "false epidemics" of ADD, autism and childhood bipolar disorder—immediately came out with guns blazing, alleging that it exacerbates "overtreating people with everyday problems who don't need it, [while] shamefully neglecting the people with moderate to severe psychiatric problems who desperately do."

In redefining the diagnosis of addiction, the new DSM combines abuse and dependence—the former binary definition—into a single category called "substance use disorder." Individuals will continue to be diagnosed according to their symptoms, but those symptoms are now based on a spectrum from "mild" to "moderate" to "severe" substance use disorder, as Dr. Charles O'Brien, chair of DSM Substance-Related Disorders Work Group for the DSM-5, wrote for The Fix in April. In another first, a "behavioral" (i.e., non-substance) addiction—pathological gambling—was added to the list of addiction diagnoses. While many clinicians had clamored for the inclusion of other such compulsive behaviors, such as sex or Internet addiction, these disorders were put on hold pending further research. It remains to be seen whether the expanded "spectrum" definition of substance use disorder will lead, as proponents hope, to earlier, more effective and more cost-effective treatment, or, as opponents warn, to the massive overdiagnosis and overtreatment of essentially healthy people with the result that addicts most in need of care will be left out in the cold.

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By Hunter R. Slaton

celebrity recovery

5/20/13 1:11pm

Iron Man Actor Reveals Battle With Eating Disorders


Hamilton says food addiction is "not black
and white" Photo via

Ashley Hamilton, who plays the role of former military officer Jack Taggert in the current box office smash Iron Man 3, has spoken publicly for the first time about his ongoing battle with anorexia and bulimia. The son of famed actor George Hamilton also struggled with drug and alcohol addictions; but though he has been sober for over seven years, he says food addiction has been harder to beat. "I used the drugs and alcohol to control the food addiction," he tells People Magazine, "I've been free from bulimia for years but I still struggle with food, restricting or overeating. That's been the hardest for me in sobriety." The 38-year-old actor, who only sought treatment for his eating disorder within the past year, claims it's more heavily stigmatized than his other addictions—especially as a man. "It's almost like drug addiction is totally acceptable to talk about in Hollywood. But food addiction? Nobody wants to talk about that," he says, "It's really shameful as a man to have that." Hamilton, who was bullied for his weight and dubbed "Fatley" in high school, says his weight continues to fluctuate, and food remains an issue for him even after treatment. "With food it's not black and white. It's: 'Oh, my behavior around food has been better this month,'" he says, "You can't live without food. You're surrounded by food constantly and you have to eat. There are so many people in our country suffering from this. It's an emotional problem and that's been the struggle for me through sobriety." Hamilton says fellow Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr., who is also in recovery, has been a major part of his support system. "He said 'I can't do it for you, Dude,'" explains Hamilton. "I said, 'That's okay. I just need somebody to give me the opportunity to trust in me sober-wise and give me a shot of this magnitude.' I'll forever owe him for that."

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By McCarton Ackerman

boozy shopping

5/20/13 11:59am

Urban Outfitters: Soon Selling Booze?


Bo-urban Outfitters? Photo via

The Urban Outfitters that's scheduled to open soon in the heart of Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood will apparently be serving up more than just t-shirts and flasks; the new store, whose clientele skews towards "young and hip," reportedly plans to sell booze. At Monday night's CB1 Brooklyn meeting it was revealed that the chain retailer plans to file for a full liquor and restaurant license, though they have not yet officially done so. It's not yet clear what kind of store-restaurant-bar the franchise hopes to establish, but some Urban Outfitters in other cities have in-house cafeteria-style cafés and sandwich shops. And last year, the corporation merged shopping and eating at two of its Urban Outfitters Terrain stores, with restaurants offering "$36 striped bass, $39 ribeye and a $19 vegetable plate." Urban Outfitters Terrain's president Wendy McDevitt says customers who eat lunch or drink wine will typically stick around the store for twice as long. “Food is becoming bigger and bigger in terms of entertainment value,” she said. It's hardly a surprise that a company might think alcohol would help sales. But it may not be as easy as the company hopes. A local resident seemed skeptical of the idea: “I like their clothes sometimes,” says Sarah Fredette, who lives on Devoe Street. “But I don’t think a bar in clothing store will have a very chill vibe.”

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By Sarah Beller

the hangover

5/20/13 11:13am

Zach Galifianakis Quits Drinking After Spitting Fiasco


Nobody spits on this guy! Photo via

Zach Galifianakis, star of the Hangover I, II and III, has decided to lay off the sauce after "getting into too much trouble with the drinking.” An incident during a recent drunken night out in Manhattan was the final straw for the 43-year-old actor, he related on Conan last week. “I was taking a long walk home, I'd gotten into the whiskey that night, and was listening to my headphones," said Galifianakis, when "this guy in a Jaguar cut me off." The actor drunkenly retaliated by hitting the Jaguar "as hard as I could with my hand." Shortly after, he recalled feeling a tap on his shoulder: "I turn around, it's two huge 6-foot-6 guys [from the Jaguar]. They both, at the same time, spit in my face!" The actor, known for his antics on-screen as well as off, asked if host Conan O'Brien could relate. "I don't know if you've ever been spit in the face non-sexually," said Galifianakis, "But all I remember is being so stunned. I remember reaching into a trash can and grabbing a beer bottle and saying out loud, 'Nobody spits in Galifianakis' face!'" He then threw the beer bottle at the car, but said it did not make contact. “You decided to cut back?” asked O'Brien, to which the actor replied, “...Yeah, cut back.” The Hangover III hits theaters this month.

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By Valerie Tejeda


5/20/13 5:00am

Morning Roundup: May 20, 2013


Rob Ford denies everything. Photo via

By The Fix staff

art on drugs

5/17/13 5:20pm

London Gallery Drops Ecstasy Exhibition


The real thing. Photo via

A London art gallery has decided to drop ecstasy—"Ecstasy of Art" that is—upon realizing that some of the exhibit's artwork contained thousands of real tablets of MDMA. The weeklong showcase was set to open with a private viewing today at Art Republic Gallery, but was canceled at the last minute after the gallery consulted with lawyers and decided to avoid the potential legal ramifications of having illegal drugs on site. "We were under the understanding that they were fake," says the gallery's director, Lawrence Alkin, "[The artist] said this week that they're not fake. We spoke to our solicitors and we can't have anything illegal in our gallery." The exhibition involved two artworks created with over 12,000 multi-colored ecstasy tablets: "Love & Death", a six-foot high skull and crossbones, and "Taste the Rainbow", priced at $150,000 and $114,000. The artist, Chemical X, is perhaps best known for designing the Ministry of Sound logo over 20 years ago, and has worked with rapper Snoop Lion and popular brands including Vans, PlayStation, MTV, and Disney. His spokesman, Marc Woodhouse, says he understands the gallery's decision, but defends the use of real ecstasy, explaining that the purpose of the work was to challenge people's perception of the drug. Says Woodhouse: "These need to be viewed as works of art as they stop being drugs from the point at which [they] are permanently sealed into the pieces." The artist is now seeking a new venue to house the exhibition in London, Bristol or Amsterdam.

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By Victoria Kim


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