For the first time in almost 20 years, the American Psychiatric Association is rewriting its diagnostic manual, and it could affect millions of people. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5 is used by psychiatrists to classify mental disorders in patients, and the new version changes the classification of certain symptoms, and adds new ones. Notably, Asperger’s Disorder is being reclassified under the broader term autism spectrum disorder.
The board of trustees of the American Psychiatric Association voted Saturday to approve the changes to the manual. The classifications derived from DSM-5 are used by insurance companies to decide what treatments get paid for, and by schools to determine which students may need additional resources. The reclassification of Asperger’s under autism spectrum disorder does not necessarily mean students previously diagnosed will lose any additional help in school. The measure is meant to simplify what is now a wide range of diagnoses.
Among the changes to the DSM-5 are also a host of new classifications. Hoarding, for example, is now considered a mental disorder. The APA said it’s decision to include hoarding disorder to the manual is “supported by extensive scientific research.” We’re pretty sure that just means they watched a Hoarders marathon on A&E, but we also think that counts as valid research.
The full extent of the revisions will not be known until DSM-5 is published in May of next year, but some of the changes have been on the table for more than a decade.
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