Terms Dropped From New DSM
December 2, 2012

Asperger’s, Dyslexia Among Terms Stricken From New DSM

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports — Your Universe Online

The guidebook used by psychiatrists to diagnose mental illnesses is undergoing a radical overhaul, with Asperger's syndrome and dyslexia being dropped and a condition describing frequent and severe temper tantrums being added to the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

According to AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner, these changes and others were approved by the American Psychiatric Association board of trustees on Saturday and will be incorporated in the DSM-5 when it is published next May.

"The trustees made the final decision on what proposals made the cut; recommendations came from experts in several task force groups assigned to evaluate different mental illnesses," Tanner said. "Board members were tightlipped about the update, but its impact will be huge, affecting millions of children and adults worldwide."

The DSM "defines what constellations of symptoms health care professionals recognize as mental disorders and more importantly ... shapes who will receive what treatment," Dr. Mark Olfson, a Columbia University psychiatry professor who was not among those considering the changes to be incorporated in the book's fifth edition, told the AP reporter. "Even seemingly subtle changes to the criteria can have substantial effects on patterns of care."

The last complete revision of the manual came in 1994, and more than 1,500 experts have spent over a decade considering potential changes to include in the DSM-5, said USA Today's Sharon Jayson. Among the revisions include the elimination of Asperger's, which will now be included as an autism spectrum disorder, and the addition of binge eating, hoarding and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD).

Critics say that the inclusion of DMDD will "medicalize kids' normal temper tantrums," while those in favor of its addition to the DSM-5 claim that it will "address concerns about too many kids being misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder and treated with powerful psychiatric drugs," Tanner said. "The new diagnosis would be given to children and adults who can't control their emotions and have frequent temper outbursts in inappropriate situations."

The new version of the manual will also eliminate "gender identity disorder," a term that has been used to describe individuals who firmly believe that they are females who were incorrectly born as males or vice versa. According to Tanner, "many activists believe the condition isn't a disorder and say calling it one is stigmatizing." The term "gender identity disorder" is going to be replaced with "gender dysphoria," describing a condition of emotional distress a person has over his or her gender.