Monday, December 3, 2012

Psychiatric Diagnostic Changes

The American Psychiatric Association has just approved the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, also known as the DSM-V.  This project has been underway for years, and provides guidance for how all psychiatrists diagnose various conditions. Important changes include eliminating Asperger's Syndrome and adding a new disorder known as Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD).

Asperger's Syndrome has been a hot topic over the past several years, and is commonly known as a "mild" form of Autism among the lay population. The recent change involving eliminating Asperger's Syndrome actually moves toward creating an "Autism Spectrum." While this change will certainly cause some discord, it also allows professionals and patients to acknowledge that there is a group of common symptoms within Autism that can vary in degree among individuals.

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder is a new diagnosis that will be geared toward children. Previously, many children with disruptive behaviors and temper tantrums would prematurely or mistakenly be diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. However, this diagnosis did not always follow the course of Bipolar Disorder diagnosed in adolescents and adults. This new Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder serves as a separate diagnosis that can better identify mood problems in children without labeling them as "Bipolar."

These are a few highlights of the new DSM-V, but there are more changes slated to be revealed in the 2013 publication.

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