Controversial changes to stay in DSM-5

The board of the American Psychiatric Association has approved the final changes to the "psychiatry bible"

By Prachi Gupta

Published December 2, 2012 4:51PM (EST)

    (Andrea Danti)
(Andrea Danti)

The board of the American Pyschiatric Association yesterday approved revisions that will comprise the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the diagnostic manual dubbed the "psychiatry bible." Health care professionals and policy makers have been watching closely, as the influential guidebook has not been revised since its fourth edition came out in 1994 (a text revision was made in 2000). Though the APA has stayed pretty quiet about the finalized revisions, MedPage's John Gever reported that some of the most controversial proposals, specifically within the Autism community, will appear in the new DSM:

  •  Children aged older than 6 who "show frequent bursts of anger along with chronic irritability" may be diagnosed with "Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder." This diagnosis seems problematic to Autism Speaks', Geraldine Dawson, who said they remained "concerned about the impact of the new DSM-5 criteria when they are used in real world settings."
  • Autism-related conditions will be lumped under the "autism spectrum disorder," an attempt to reorganize the current DSM by bunching them into a single category.
Additional controversial changes include the elimination of "Bereavement exclusion," which stated that people who suffered the death of a loved one could not diagnosed with depression until two months had passed. In DSM-5, patients suffering this loss may be diagnosed with depression sooner.
James H. Scully, MD, medical director and chief executive officer of APA, remained confident despite the controversy. He said, "At every step of development, we have worked to make the process as open and independent as possible. The level of transparency we have strived for is not seen in any other area of medicine."
The DSM-5 will be published in May 2013.
h/t Gawker

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at

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