The DSM is the 'bible' for mental health practitioners around the world. It is used to diagnose disorders affecting mood, personality, identity, development and cognition. It has recently undergone a major revision from the previous edition, the DSM-IV (released in 1994), and is set to be released in May 2013.
There have been many significant changes from the previous edition. Keep reading to find out about some of the most important changes.
New or amended diagnoses
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
This is one of the most important changes, given the prevalence and severity of ASD in the community. ASD is characterised by communication deficits, difficulties interpreting nonverbal communication, social difficulties, issues coping with change to routines, and intense focus or obsessions with inappropriate items. Some symptoms must be shown from early childhood. The symptoms fall on a continuum, with some individuals showing mild symptoms and others having much more severe symptoms. ASD is a single umbrella disorder which incorporates four separate disorders from the DSM-IV: autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.Researchers from the DSM-V workgroup found that these separate diagnoses were not consistently applied across different clinics and treatment centres, and that a single disorder improves diagnosis of ASD.
Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder
This is characterised by severe outbursts or tantrums and prolonged irritable mood in children. It was included to capture children who display these characteristics and are misdiagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and/or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Public interest in hoarding, the compulsive collection of possessions that may or may not have monetary value, is demonstrated by the popularity of reality television shows and docu-dramas dealing with this issue. Hoarding will now be listed as a separate condition from obssessive compulsive disorder in recognition of its unique symptoms and effects.
The complex multiaxial system with five 'levels' or axes of disorders will be removed. The DSM-V will instead present a simplified list of 20 chapters by grouping related disorders.
A number of proposed diagnoses were subsequently rejected and will not be included as separate disorders in the DSM-V. These include: Anxiety Depressive-Syndrome, Attenuated Psychosis, Hypersexual Disorder, Parental Alienation Syndrome and Sensory Processing Disorder.
Certain specifics of the DSM-V will not be made public until its release. However, more details about what has been publicly released can be found at the DSM-V development website.
While various websites publish diagnostic criteria from the DSM-IV (and likely the DSM-V once its released), a trained, experienced psychologist, neuropsychologist or psychiatrist is the best person to help you clarify or confirm a diagnosis of a psychological disorder. If you would like more information about our neuropsychological services, please contact us.