Update on the Development of the DSM-5

One of the most anticipated events in the mental health field is nearing completion. In June 2012, the third and final public comment period for the DSM-5 draft criteria closed for public comment. Between now and May 2013, the anticipated release date of DSM-5, changes will be made upon the final set of public recommendations as well as recommendations of several subcommittees and findings of the DSM-5 Field Trials.

Why the anticipation? The DSM, short for the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, is to varying degrees influential in the ways people are diagnosed, what diagnosis people are given, how people are reimbursed, and often, how people are treated. Although additional changes to the released drafts are expected, it is clear that the strong effort to make the DSM-5 more scientific has, to some extent, been accomplished. It’s important to note that the changes are not being accepted with universal joy; we can expect a spirited dialogue between those who applaud the efforts and those who feel it is a step backward.

One of the major changes was the workgroup’s decision to move away, unless additional changes are made in this area, from the DSM-IVR Axes classification scheme to one that will include a list of 20 chapters representing disorder categories [families]. One of the more controversial recommended changes is the proposed major change in Substance Abuse classification, merging the separate “Abuse” and “Dependency” diagnoses under a single “Substance Use Disorders” diagnosis.

Although various reports of what will be in the final version have surfaced, the most current, official, information is available on the American Psychiatric Association DSM-5’s dedicated website, www.DSM5.org. As more information becomes available, we will continue to bring you updates.