Its publication marks “the end of a trip of more than a decade in the review of the criteria for diagnosis and classification of mental disorders,” says the website APA DSM-5.
The manual sets out the criteria used by mental health professionals to diagnose patients, and is used by insurers, schools and others responsible for covering and create special provisions for individuals with mental or developmental disorders. The last time it was updated was in 1994.
But the new version did not come without criticism, including major organizations like the National Institute of Mental Health United States (NMHI, for its acronym in English).
Last month, the NMHI said it would launch a project to lay the foundation of a new classification system and “reorient their research away from the categories of the DSM”.
Here are five ways in which DSM changes may affect you:
Being transgender is no longer a mental disorder
The DSM-5 eliminates the term “gender identity disorder”, seen as stigmatizing by mental health specialists and activists of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT).
The new version mentions “gender dysphoria,” which focuses attention only on those who are troubled by gender identity.
“I think it’s a significant change,” he said late last year Jack Drescher, a member of the APA group that recommended the change. “It is clinically justified, but reduces the amount of stigma and harm existed,” he said.
Some LGBT activists applauded the change, while others questioned whether enough.
Homosexuality was removed from the DSM in 1973 and it changed the global perspective on the matter.
Binge eating is a disorder of eating behavior
Binge eating is a new category of eating disorders in the DSM-5.
They are defined as “recurrent episodes of eating, in a short period, significantly more food than most people would eat under similar circumstances, with episodes marked by feelings of lack of control.”
According to the APA, this measure aims to “increase awareness of the substantial differences between binge eating disorder and as a common phenomenon of overeating.” While overeating is a challenge for many people, says the Association, recurrent binge “are less common, more severe and are associated with physical and psychological problems.”
Bereavement or depression??
Before, specialists could not diagnose depression in a person until two months after the death of a loved one was called “grief exclusion”
But research showed that, for some people, the death of someone close can trigger a depression, like other stress factors like losing a job, according to the APA.
The “Grief is the only event in the life and stress factor specifically excluded diagnoses of depression” in previous manuals, the organization said.
The elimination of exclusion “helps prevent severe depression is ignored and makes it easy to provide appropriate treatment, including therapy or other interventions.”
Binge drinking can lead to a diagnosis of alcoholism
The new manual eliminates the medical distinction between having a drinking problem and alcoholism.
Some experts warn that this could lead to young people who get drunk are wrongly labeled as alcoholics, a diagnosis that could haunt to adulthood.
Previous editions of the DSM included “alcohol abuse” with “dependency”, which is more serious. But the DSM-5 considers the “alcohol disorder” as a single condition.
Changes “reflect the best science in the field and offer a new clarity on how to diagnose these disorders,” said Dr. David Kupfer, director of the task force of DSM-5, in a statement in February. Added that in the last two decades of research has been an explosion in the abuse and substance addiction.
Asperger syndrome becomes autistic spectrum disorder
The proposal to group Asperger syndrome and other developmental conditions and concerns generated controversy.
In 2010, when the proposed change, the Asperger’s Association of New England (in the U.S.), a non-profit organization with over 3,000 members, wrote a letter to the APA in which he emphasized that the syndrome should remain separate .
But according to the website of the DSM-5, “revised diagnosis represents a new, more accurate, and medically and scientifically useful to diagnose individuals with autism-related disorders.”
The working group recommended the change says that “a single disorder encompassing all diagnostics improve ASD without limiting the sensitivity of the criteria, or substantially change the number of children who are diagnosed”.
In a statement on its website Tuesday, Asperger Association told its members that “regardless of your diagnosis or label, we will still be a meeting place where members of the community with Asperger syndrome can connect with each other”.
Elizabeth Landeau, Miriam Falco, Moni Basu and mental health expert Charles Raison, contributed to this report.