DSM Manual Revised

CBC News

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM5) might not be on your bedside table, but for working psychiatrists, it’s the book they use to diagnose and treat mental disorders.

It’s a publication of the American Psychiatry Association (APA), but it’s also used by the Canadian mental health profession.

The book hasn’t been updated since 1994. That’s going to change in May 2013 when the fifth edition of the manual is due to be released.

On Feb. 10, 2010, the APA released a series of proposed changes to the manual. They come out of the work of 13 expert groups that consulted with more than 200 outside advisers, including psychiatrists, neurologists and psychologists, in their review of the latest scientific research in the field.

One of the proposals — to drop the term Asperger’s syndrome — has already generated heated debate. The APA is recommending broadening the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders to include a range of conditions, from mild social impairment to the more severe repetitive behaviours, instead of the current distinctions between autism, Asperger’s syndrome and “pervasive developmental disorder.”

Other proposed changes include:

  • Eliminating the term “mental retardation” and replacing it with “intellectual disability.” The APA says this would bring the manual’s definition in line with terminology used by other disciplines.
  • Eliminating the current categories such as “dependence” and replacing them with the new category “addiction and related disorders.” The category will include disorders, with each one identified in its own category. The category will also include gambling disorder. The APA adds that “other addiction-like behavioral disorders such as internet addiction/gaming disorder will be considered as potential additions to this category as research data accumulate.” For now, internet addiction will be included in the manual’s appendix to encourage further study.

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