Can You Change the Definition of Mental Disorders?

For the first time in more than a decade, the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders," used by psychiatrists, health-insurance companies and others, is being revised. Read how your input can influence the upcoming edition.

For the first time since 1994, the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” used by psychiatrists, health-insurance companies and others, is being revised, reports The Los Angeles Times. Medical professionals use the manual to diagnose and treat mental illnesses. It is also used as a source in courtrooms and schools.

DSM-5, the task force of psychiatrists responsible for the new edition, has made a draft of the upcoming manual available for public reading and comments on its web site. The input will be considered in the revision of the manual. Individuals and organizations are encouraged to provide feedback until April 20.

The new edition, which will be the fifth, will be published in 2013. DSM-5, which included 13 subcommittees in different areas of psychiatry, began work on the project nearly 10 years ago.

The draft, released by the American Psychiatric Association, includes many new diagnoses and changes to old diagnoses that are being criticized by patient groups and medical professionals. Many older diagnoses will be grouped into single categories based on similar origins and symptoms.

Autism, for example, used to include autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. In the new manual’s format, they will be grouped and referred to as autism spectrum disorders. Some professionals feel that taking away the sub-labels is insensitive to those who identify with them.

One patient group, The Treatment and Research Advancements Association for Personality Disorders, which has placed emphasis on focused research of borderline personality disorder, is also taking issue with the grouping of personality disorders. Valerie Porr, founder and president of the New York–based organization, said: “This will be a disaster. It kind of trivializes the personality disorders.”

Suggestions for additions to the list of disorders in the manual include gambling and binge-eating. Recognition and inclusion of “new” disorders would allow for health-insurance companies to consider covering treatment.



  • The more we learn the better. But it would be good if all the the “factions” would meet and discuss how these changes should be done. Surely some agreements can be reached. We all want what’s best for the human race don’t we?

  • IQ , PSYCHOSIS, AGGRESSION vs ANXIETY needs to be added as diagnostic factors.

    PERSONALITY DISORDERS vs Self Advocacy, as i have seen in research and in county MH agencies BORDERLINE is a most often misused “diagnoses” to block ADA supports and used against referring to self advocacy vs the agency a positive trait (or to undermine it.)

    Many Veterans and others with MST or PTSD wihout violent tendencies are blocked form employment and other govt assistance for being too disabled and often wrongly considered potentially violent or psychotic.

    IS DEPRESSION from chemical imbalance or environmental or self worth or personality or issues?

    CLARIFICATION is needed about environment and physical disability and social agency supports and
    their temp or permanent effects on diagnoses and prognosis and treatment.
    to begin..

  • I am a female veteran with 100% disability rating for ptsd. one month to the day that i disclosed my struggles with PTSD my supervisor fired me. she began a diciplinary write ups paper trail to even include that i was seen sleeping in my car on my OWN lunch time!! Needles to say he continued to write me up for more various “so called violations” that were not even substianted in the company policy procedure manual!! Other employees were not written up for same violations as I was!! How can i fight these claims to get my rightful unemployment benefits!!?? this is llegal!! How do employers get away with such things??!!

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