Psychiatrists Begin Revising Diagnostic Manual for Mental Illnesses
Over the next 18 months, psychiatrists will revise the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is used to determine how U.S. residents' mental health is assessed, diagnosed and treated, the Los Angeles Times reports. Since the manual was last updated in 1994, technologies such as brain imaging and new understandings of the biological and genetic causes of many disorders have "almost guaranteed alterations" in the number of mental disorders included in fifth DSM volume, which is scheduled to be published in 2012, the Times reports.
While some psychiatrists argue the manual should be broad enough to determine treatment for those who need it, others are concerned that if too broad, the manual will diagnose conditions that would otherwise be considered normal human behavior. David Kupfer, a psychiatrist at the University of Pittsburgh's Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinics and chair of the DSM-V task force, said the DSM-V will recognize variations of disorders that have not been seen as part of "classic" illnesses, and will describe disorders in more detail, including how they differ based on race, gender, age, physical health and culture. Health insurance companies use the manual to determine coverage options for certain treatments.
People involved in the revisions said the manual will be a better reflection of mental conditions of "real" people, rather than just those with the most severe cases of disorders or obvious diagnoses, the Times reports (Roan, Los Angeles Times, 5/26).