The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has just finalized the new version of its Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the most important reference for mental health disorders. The changes included in this new version of the manual have the potential to impact anyone who is diagnosed with a mental health disorder.
The manual of disorders, which is commonly referred to as the DSM, defines and categorizes more than 300 mental health issues. The APA spent 13 years on the fifth revision of the DSM (also known as DSM-5), with more than 1,500 mental health experts contributing to the revision process. This is the most significant revision of the manual since 1994.
Deciding which disorders would be included and which excluded was frequently controversial. Once disorders are officially recognized in the DSM, they receive a code that can be used by mental health professionals when seeking insurance reimbursement for treatment. The National Institutes of Health also uses DSM codes for funding research grants.
These are some of the most notable revisions included in DSM-5:
Binge-eating disorder, which was previously only mentioned in an appendix, is now treated as a full-blown diagnosis.
Substance abuse and substance dependence have been combined into a single category known as substance use disorder.
Compulsive hoarding, which previously had been defined as a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), is now classified as a mental disorder.
Excoriation (skin picking), also previously associated with OCD, has been classified as a separate disorder.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a serve form of premenstrual syndrome, has been added.
Asperger’s syndrome and autism have been combined into a single category known as autism spectrum disorder.
Several disorders that were recommended for the manual did not make the cut, including sex addiction, gaming disorder and non-suicidal self-injury. This makes it unlikely that insurers will provide coverage for treatment for these disorders.
The committee that was responsible for the DSM revision has decided to avoid lengthy revisions in the future. Instead, they approved a new policy to update the book continually as new research changes the mental health community’s perception of mental disorders. The DSM will go forward as a “living document” that is revised on an ongoing basis.
DSM-5 will be published in May, 2013.