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DSM-5 panel decides against two controversial diagnoses, keeps proposed autism definition

Heather Rudow May 11, 2012

(Photo:Wikimedia Commons)

The American Psychiatric Association panel tasked with completing the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5, has decided against two proposals that would have expanded the number of people identified as having either psychotic or depressive disorders. However, the panel has decided to retain a controversial proposed definition of autism that would streamline the disorder.

As The New York Times reports, the panel concluded that “attenuated psychosis syndrome,” proposed to identify people at risk of developing psychosis, and “mixed anxiety depressive disorder,” a hybrid of the two mood problems, were not supported by the evidence.

The panel also altered the proposed definition of depression so the normal grief that people experience after a loss – whether of a loved one, a job or a painful divorce – would not be construed as a mental disorder.

However, the panel remained firm on its proposal for a new definition of autism that would, according to CBS News , “delete [the] diagnoses for Asperger’s syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder and combine severe cases into the broader definition of autism.” As The New York Times reports, mental health experts and parents alike have been deeply critical of this proposal.

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The comment period for the DSM-5 revisions ends June 15. Feedback can be submitted at http://www.dsm5.org. Additionally, The American Counseling Association is asking members to submit comments to the ACA DSM Task Force by June 1 for possible inclusion in a letter to the American Psychiatric Association. Please email your comments to DSM-5Comments@counseling.org. Comments will be collected and collated, and many will be included in the official ACA comment letter.

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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