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Mental health guide DSM-5 updated
May 24, 2013, 1:44 pm


An update to one of the most important manuals in mental health - known as the bible of psychiatry - has been unveiled. Controversy and criticism has surrounded work on the fifth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

Critics say the rulebook turns normal behaviour, like grief or childhood temper tantrums, into mental illness. It is used mainly in the US, but is influential around the world.

This is the first update to the volume since 1994. Experts in mental health have been taking account of the latest scientific developments to update ways of diagnosing mental disorders.

The changes were presented at a meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

There are new categories including binge eating disorder, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (previously known as childhood bipolar disorder) and hoarding disorder.

Meanwhile Asperger's syndrome is one of four previously separate conditions that have now become part of a single condition called autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

ASD now encompasses autism as known previously, Asperger's disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder which has not been specified.

The main symptoms of ASD are deficits in social communication and social interaction and restricted repetitive behaviours, interests, and activities.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been modified to emphasise that this disorder can continue into adulthood.

Some experts believe that the DSM-5 will lower many diagnostic thresholds and increase the number of people in the general population seen as having a mental illness.

Normal grief would now be classed as a major depressive disorder and childhood temper tantrums would be a symptom of disruptive mood dysregulation disorder.

Furthermore, a wide range of unfortunate human behaviours, the subject of many new year's resolutions, will become mental illnesses - excessive eating will become 'binge eating disorder', and the category of 'behavioural addictions' will widen significantly to include such 'disorders' as 'internet addiction' and 'sex addiction'.

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