Well Being

Proposed Changes to the DSM-5

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DSM stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Yeah, you can see why it's referred to as DSM. That's a mouthful.

The DSM, the standard used for classifying mental disorders, is put together by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) with the help of hundreds of international research investigators. The fifth edition is expected to be published in May of 2013, but draft revisions have been presented by the APA.

The changes represent 10 years of work by the APA, but the DSM-5 is still a work in progress. The changes mentioned below aren't final. In fact, they're available for public comment until April 20. After that time, the changes will be reviewed and refined for two years, and field trials will be conducted to test some of the proposed changes in real-world clinical settings.

Some of the proposed diagnostic criteria in the DSM-5 include:

  • A new category for “behavioral addictions” may be added. Gambling will be the only behavioral disorder included. The APA considered adding Internet addiction, but decided more research is needed. They added Internet addiction in the appendix to encourage additional studies.
  • Binge eating disorder could be recognized, and improved criteria for anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa may be included.
  • New suicide scales for adults and adolescents might be added to help clinicians identify those people most at risk. The scales may include research-based criteria like impulsive behavior and heavy drinking in teens.
  • New categories for learning disorders may be added. The APA proposed a single diagnostic category, “autism spectrum disorders,” to incorporate autistic disorder, Asperger's disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder.
  • The diagnostic term “mental retardation” could be changed to “intellectual disability.”

Get detailed information about all of the proposed changes to the DSM at DSM5.org.

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