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Latest Edition of Psychiatry's 'Bible' Launched Amid Controversy

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) -- As the American Psychiatric Association unveils the latest edition of what is considered the "bible" of modern psychiatry this weekend, the uproar over its many changes continues.

"This is unprecedented, the amount of commentary and debate and criticism," said Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association (APA). "It's been an interesting phenomenon, but the evidence is what it is. You have to evaluate it and then make your own determination of how compelling it is, and what would be best clinical practice."

The APA believes that changes made in this fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) will allow for more precise diagnoses of mental illnesses in patients, because this edition better characterizes and categorizes disorders.

But it has drawn fire from critics who are concerned that the revised version will lead to the diagnosis of mental illness in people who are simply being challenged by life.

More than 1,500 experts from 39 countries representing a wide variety of medical fields contributed to the new DSM-5, which was more than a decade in the making. Drafts of the manual were made available online as part of three open-comment periods that drew more than 13,000 responses.

One of the most notable naysayers has been Dr. Allen Frances, chairman of the task force that created the DSM-4, the previous version of the guide that has been in use since 1994.

In a commentary released the day of the DSM-5's release, Frances wrote that this latest revision introduces "several high-prevalence diagnoses at the fuzzy boundary with normality," and predicted that the changes "will probably lead to substantial false-positive rates and unnecessary treatment."

"In DSM-5, normal grief becomes a major depressive disorder, temper tantrums become disrupti

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