The 'Bible' of Psychology Gets an Update

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual is being updated for the first time in almost 20 years. How are psychiatrists are looking mental health issues today?

People love to throw the word “crazy” around all willy-nilly, but psychiatric disorders are real, and their symptoms can be debilitating. As many as 20 percent of the U.S. population will be treated for mental health disorders in any given year, according to Forbes.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) -- the text that dictates every psychological diagnosis -- has been approved to print its fifth addition, its first major overhaul since 1994.

Philosophically, the DSM attempts to keep up with and reflect  societal changes over time, but everything is voted on by committee, so it's inherently flawed. And the DSM isn’t meant to define disease, but rather to determine if mental healthcare providers and patients can submit bills to insurance companies for treatment.

So what disorders are in and which are out? Here are a few highlights:

Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome is finally among the recognized disorders, providing an opportunity for anyone affected by a traumatic situation, like veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, to get treatment that is covered by insurance.

Binge eating is also now considered a disorder. Psychology recognizes that binge eating is not simply about drowning your feelings in a pint of Chubby Hubby after a breakup; it's a continuing compulsion to overeat. Hoarding is another new disorder on the list. If you've seen an episode of Hoarders on A&E, it seems clear that hoarders need help. Maybe classifying hoarding as its own disorder will create less of a stigma, triggering earlier intervention and treatment.

Gender identity disorder -- the one-time "diagnosis" for transgender people – was deleted from the DSM, considered a win by the LGBT community. Meanwhile, hypersexual disorder (sex addicts), was originally slated to be included in the new DSM, but voted out. Perhaps most controversial change is moving Asperger's syndrome under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Some fear the change in classification with change diagnosis and treatment for the disorder. You can review the final DSM list here.

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