Feds to Move Away from DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)

Just weeks before a new version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is scheduled for release, the head of the National Institute of Mental Health says it’s time to change how mental conditions are categorized.

The agency will be redirecting its research focus away from the symptom-based diagnostic criteria of the DSM toward more scientifically verifiable standards, the mental health agency’s director, Thomas Insel, wrote in a recent blog post.

By shifting away from thinking about mental disorders as they are currently classified in the DSM, Insel says researchers will be able to establish a new diagnostic system based on emerging science.

“Unlike our definitions of ischemic heart disease, lymphoma or AIDS, the DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure,” Insel wrote. “Patients with mental disorders deserve better.”

The DSM update has been met with significant controversy, particularly surrounding changes to the definition of autism. The new version is expected to eliminate Asperger’s syndrome and fold it as well as childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified under a broader diagnosis of “autism spectrum disorder.”

Separately, the new manual is also expected to replace “mental retardation” with the more commonly accepted term “intellectual disability.” What’s more, the definition of the disorder is being tweaked to put less emphasis on IQ score and allow more consideration for clinical assessment.

The DSM is relied on by mental health professionals, researchers, insurers and others to determine what symptoms merit a clinical diagnosis. The current edition was originally released in 1994 and was updated in 2000.

Full Article and Source:
Feds to Move Away from DSM

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2 Responses to “Feds to Move Away from DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)”

  1. Thelma Says:

    The psych industry and their Big Pharma pals need updating, too!

  2. Norma Says:

    Finally!

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