APA Board Approves Changes to DSM-5

5 StencilThe American Psychiatric Association (APA) has officially finalized the changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Will these changes affect your child? If so, in what ways? Here’s a brief review of some of the changes that have been made.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Medical Disorders, or DSM, is the book that psychiatrists use to determine a diagnosis of a specific mental disorder. Every so often, it becomes necessary to review the contents of the current DSM, and to determine if anything needs to be revised, updated, or removed. There have been a total of four versions of the DSM.

The changes that the American Psychiatric Association has approved will be in the new version. The DSM-5 is due for publication in May of 2013. It will replace the DSM-4, (which is the version that is being used right now).

There have been changes made to autism spectrum disorder. This diagnosis will now include autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, and persuasive developmental disorder (not otherwise specified).

This means that if your child has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, PDDNOS, or childhood disintegrative disorder, his or her official diagnosis could soon be changed to autism spectrum disorder. The purpose of the change was to help psychiatrists to accurately and consistently diagnose kids with autism. This should also make the qualifying factors for assistance at school more consistent than before.

The DSM-5 will have some new disorders added to it. Excoriation is a diagnosis that will appear in the DSM-5. It will be listed in the Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders chapter.

It is often referred to as “skin picking”. People who have this disorder have a history of picking, digging, or scraping their skin. They start an incident of picking and do not become aware that they are doing it until later. Some will continue to pick until they can pull material from their skin.

Hoarding disorder is another new addition to the DSM. Hoarding is characterized by a persistent difficulty discarding possessions even if the items have no value. The disorder has harmful social, financial, physical, and sometimes legal, effects for both the hoarder and his or her family members.

In the DSM-5, Specific Learning Disorder will be broadened. It will now include criteria to represent distinct disorders that interfere with the acquisition of or use of specific academic skills. Those skills are: oral language, reading, written language, or mathematics. It groups them together in a way that is similar to the grouping done with autism spectrum disorder.

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