Mental Disorder Diagnosis Changes with New Guidelines

Merely Me Health Guide
  • The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is going to be publishing its fifth edition in May 2013.  Nothing is written in stone yet but they are looking to overhaul many of the accepted diagnostic labels for mental disorders as well as their criteria.  The proposed draft revisions to the DSM disorders and criteria may be found on the American Psychiatric Association DSM-5 Development web site

    There you may not only view the proposed changes but you can also add your comments until April 20, 2010.  

    It is fascinating to read about what surprises are in store for those of us who suffer from any type of mood disorder or mental health challenges.  

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    Here are just some of the highlights:

    • Some mental health advocacy groups and mental health professionals are suggesting new conditions be added to the revised diagnostic manual. Some of these suggestions include: Apathy Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Melancholia, Internet Addiction, Complicated Grief Disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and Sensory Processing Disorder.


    • They are proposing the addition of a new mood disorder classification called Mixed Anxiety Depression.  The criteria would include: The patient has three or four of the symptoms of major depression (which must include depressed mood and/or anhedonia), and they are accompanied by anxious distress. The symptoms must have lasted at least 2 weeks, and no other DSM diagnosis of anxiety or depression must be present, and they are both occurring at the same time.

      Anxious distress is defined as having two or more of the following symptoms:  irrational worry, preoccupation with unpleasant worries, having trouble relaxing, motor tension, fear that something awful may happen.


    • They wish to exclude this particular Bipolar Disorder diagnosis from the manual. 296.6x Bipolar I Disorder - Most Recent Episode Mixed



    • For those children who do not meet the criteria for adults for Bipolar Disorder a new category, called "temper dysregulation disorder with dysphoria," will be created in order to accommodate children who are aggressive and irritable.


    • The diagnostic term of Learning Disabilities will be added as a new classification. The DSM-IV formerly used the term "Learning Disorder (and before that it was called Academic Skills Disorders)" to describe what we commonly now call Learning Disabilities.


    • Asperger's Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Otherwise Not Specified are both going to be excluded from the new manual and will be subsumed by the umbrella diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.


    • They are changing the way addictions are formally labeled as in "Alcohol Dependence" will now be called "Alcohol-Use Disorder." In fact any label with the words "dependence" or "abuse" has been changed to a "use disorder."  They are also adding new labels such as Cannabis Withdrawal. 
    • The group is recommending that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder be included under a grouping of Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders.



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    These are just some of the potential alterations to the existing DSM-IV.  It is still possible that some of these changes may not take place or that further revisions will be considered. 


    What are your thoughts on all of this?  Will these changes affect you in any way?  Do you feel that these revisions will improve mental health care and treatment or make no difference in the big picture?  Let us know your thoughts on this.  We want to hear from YOU!


Published On: February 16, 2010