release of DSM-5 draft

Submitted by bobb on Wed, 17/2/2010 - 11:01


This week saw the release of a draft of the next edition of the main diagnostic bible used in psychiatry, the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

The long process ‘by committee’ has been controversial, and in a first for the American Psychiatric Association (APA), a draft has been made public for people to read and feedback on here. They even have a Facebook page, with a call for fans.

Here’s what the chairs of the APA’s DSM-5 taskforce have to say to you:

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the DSM-5 Development Web site.  This site provides information culminated from over 10 years of revision activities, made possible thanks to the generous dedication of more than 600 global experts in the field of mental health.

The DSM-5 Task Force and Work Group members are working to develop criteria for diagnoses that not only reflect new advances in the science and conceptualization of mental disorders, but also reflect the needs of our patients. We encourage you to delve into the wealth of information contained within this site to become familiar with some of the advancements in scientific and clinical knowledge that will assist in making diagnoses more accurate, valid, and clinically useful.  We also hope that this knowledge will pave the way for further research in these important areas.

Your input, whether you are a clinician, a researcher, an administrator, or a person/family member affected by a mental disorder, is important to us.  We thank you for taking part in this historic process and look forward to receiving your feedback.

David J. Kupfer, M.D., DSM-5 Task Force Chair

Darrel A. Regier, M.D., M.P.H., DSM-5 Task Force Vice-Chair

I am yet to look at it in detail, but various folk with considerably more expertise than I have been busy working through the draft document and commenting on it publicly, including:

UK based clinical psychologist Dr Vaughan Bell, who writes “It’s a masterpiece of compromise - intended to be largely backwardly compatible...”.

New York Times health journalist Benedict Carey covers the draft in some detail here.

Read the original here.

a piece in the New York Times (see says ...

IF you ask my daughter, Isabel, what autism means to her, she won’t say that it is a condition marked by impaired social communication and repetitive behaviors. She will say that her autism makes her a good artist, helps her to relate to animals and gives her perfect pitch.

The stigma of autism is fading fast. One reason is that we now understand that autism is a spectrum with an enormous range. Some people with autism are nonverbal with profound cognitive disabilities, while others are accomplished professionals.

Many people with milder symptoms of autism have, for the past 20 years or so, received a diagnosis of Asperger’s disorder. Some autistic adults call themselves “Aspies” to celebrate their talents and differences. And many parents have embraced the label because they have found it less stigmatizing, and so it has eased their sense of loss.


We no longer need Asperger’s disorder to reduce stigma. And my daughter does not need the term Asperger’s to bolster her self-esteem. Just last week, she introduced herself to a new teacher in her high school health class. “My name is Isabel,” she said, “and my strength is that I have autism.”