Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is the text for diagnosis the array
of mental illnesses. The manual
covers everything from an overview to lists of specific symptoms individuals
must meet in order to be given a diagnosis by a licensed professional. The publication of the new DSM-5 (the
DSM-IV TR, or text revision, is the one in current use) is the most anticipated
document in the mental health field.
The DSM-5 makes some significant changes, including
diagnostic criteria for:
- Autism and other Neurodevelopmental Disorders
(intellectual, communication, learning, and motor disorders, and ADHD)
- Anxiety Disorders
- Depressive Disorders
- Obsessive-Compulsive and related disorders
- Personality Disorders
- Trauma and Stressor-related Disorders (including
RAD and PTSD)
- Sexual Dysfunction and Gender Dysphoria
- Somatic Symptom Disorders
Other areas of the DSM are being revised as well, and it
seems like no stone is being left unturned with this new manual. Many people are in support of the
revision, but others are very concerned about the changes.
One of the biggest changes of the DSM-5 that causes concern
is the revision of the autism definition.
The diagnoses of Asperger’s and PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder,
Not Otherwise Specified) are being eliminated, and everything will fall under
the umbrella of the “Autism Spectrum Disorder.” The New York Times published an article earlier in 2012
about a panel of experts who say many individuals with autism will be left out
of this diagnosis. The DSM-5 does
have the Autism Spectrum broken down into levels of severity, which should help
encompass all these individuals.
Supporters say the diagnosis for autism is even clearer with the DSM-5
revisions -- check the list of revisions for yourself before jumping into the
“extremely concerned” pool.
The American Psychiatric Association is giving you the
chance to voice your concerns and leave comments regarding the proposed
changes. Remember the changes are
not set in stone, and the APA has already made some additional revisions in
response to prior comments.
To post your comments about the DSM-5 revisions, visit the
APA’s DSM-5 Development page.
First check out the “Proposed Revisions” tab to see what changes are planned. Click on a section (Autism is covered
under “Neurodevelopmental Disorders”) to review the changes. When you reach the bottom of the page,
click on “Login or Register Now” after “Want to comment on this proposal?” You will have to login or register to
submit comments; type your comments in the box provided and submit your
The DSM-5 website also hosts a wealth of information about
the DSM, research, resources, and news, in addition to explaining the proposed
revisions. You may comment on the
changes through June 15, 2012. The
final manual will be submitted to the board by December 31, 2012, and the APA
Annual Meeting in San Francisco, May 18-22, 2013, will mark the official
release of the DSM-5.
Photo by Thought Broadcast