Psychiatric Association Clears DSM-5 for Publication

By Nat'l Psychologist Editor
January 14, 2013

The American Psychiatric Association announced Dec. 1 that the diagnostic criteria of the controversial DSM-5 revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual has been approved by the association’s board of trustees.

That approval clears the way for the DSM-5 to be published in May to replace the current DSM-IV-TR. Since the draft of the DSM-5 was released last year, criticism from non-psychiatrist mental health providers has been rampant, and many of the proposed changes drew fire even from Allen Frances, M.D., the psychiatrist who headed the task force that prepared the DSM-IV.

A chief complaint is the emphasis on bio-medical diagnoses criteria, which many fear will lead to greater use of pharmaceuticals that some believe are already over-prescribed. Critics also contend field tests were poorly designed and in many cases lowered diagnostic thresholds could lead to “medicalizing” normal reactions to life experiences, such as labeling grief following the death of a loved one as a major depressive disorder.

Other widely criticized disorders included in the revision include disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, which could be diagnosed based on a child’s temper tantrums; redefining addiction to include behaviors not involving chemical substances, such as gambling, and lowering the standards for autism diagnoses.

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