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New Diagnostic Guidelines for Mental Illnesses Proposed
Date:2/10/2010

titative measures, is improving with treatment," Dr. Darrel Regier, vice chair of the DSM-5 Task Force and director of research for the American Psychiatric Association, said during a Tuesday teleconference announcing the proposed changes. "We're trying to address this with more quantitative measures on a continuum with a cut-off to decide mild, severe, very severe."

This time around, experts say they are giving "careful consideration" to how mental health disorders might vary according to race, gender and ethnicity.

Some of the other proposed changes:

  • A diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders would compress into a single category several disorders that used to be considered separately. Also, one diagnosis for intellectual disability would replace separate categories of profound retardation and a new, overarching category of learning disabilities that merge dyslexia (related to reading) and dyscalculia (related to mathematics).
  • The diagnoses "substance abuse" and "substance dependence" will now become "addiction and related disorders," including "substance use disorders" such as "alcohol use disorder" and "cocaine use disorder." A new category, "miscellaneous discontinuation syndrome" covers instances of "normal" responses of withdrawal from a drug. "This also fits the category of caffeine," said Dr. Charles P. O'Brien, chair of the Substance-Related Disorders Work Group and a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
  • A new category of "behavioral addictions" has been created which, at this point, includes only gambling. Internet and sex addiction so far merit only inclusion in the appendix. "We couldn't find enough scientific evidence for the existence of sex addiction, but we did feel that gambling merited inclusion and we seriously considered Internet addiction," O'Brien said. Both sex and Internet addictions are included in the appendix "to stimulate research
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