Task force outlines changes to psychiatry’s “bible”

The American Psychiatric Association task force responsible
for creating the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders held a conference call Tuesday to discuss the changes they are
planning, as reported in the New York Times,
and elsewhere. The call is just one step on the long, closely
watched process of updating the DSM, which outlines official diagnostic
criteria for psychiatric illnesses.

Members of the task force include four co-authors of a 2009 Cerebrum article  that addresses the challenges faced by the
editors of the manual, which is scheduled for publication in 2013.

Among the notable changes the task force discussed:
Asperger’s syndrome would be folded into the broader category of autism
spectrum disorder. Earlier hints of that idea sparked controversy, as I noted
in a Nov. 11 post on
this blog
. One change that had not been discussed previously is the
proposed addition of a childhood disorder called temper dysregulation disorder
with dysphoria, designed to reduce the diagnosis of bipolar disorder in
children who do not have it.

Here at home in Arlington, Va., after our second major
snowstorm in four days, I can’t help but think that the task force should
consider adding cabin fever to the manual, too. (My roommate actually had a
strange, short-lived fever this afternoon.) I won’t actually suggest that new
entry, but if you want to have your say, comments are welcome at DSM5.org.

—Dan Gordon

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