Disorders diagnosed to suit any condition
IN RADICAL changes to the way mental health conditions are diagnosed, what was once considered an unruly child's temper tantrum could soon be labelled ''disruptive mood dysregulation disorder''.
If a widow's grief lasts longer than a fortnight then she might be diagnosed with ''major depressive disorder''. When the mother in a bitter custody battle tries to turn a child against the father, it might create ''parental alienation disorder''.
These are among new conditions proposed for the fifth edition of the psychiatrist's bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is due to be finalised next year.
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The proposed changes have caused an international outcry. The Association for Psychological Science, the American Counselling Association, the British Psychological Society and leading psychiatrists are calling for the draft of the new edition to be subject to independent scientific review.
They fear it is so inclusive it risks mislabelling millions of healthy people as mentally ill, potentially leading to increased stigma and medication.
Doctors in Australia are also concerned, some arguing the revised manual - which has been produced by the American Psychiatric Association since 1952 and is used globally by psychiatrists and psychologists to diagnose mental disorders - is turning unhappiness into a disease.
''It's such a narrow and limited view of human experience to want to reduce every bit of suffering to medical diagnosis,'' University of Adelaide psychiatry professor Jon Jureidini said.
''Whenever you promote a new mental illness or a new medical way of understanding people's suffering, the impact of that is almost always going to be increased prescribing.''
The controversy over the new manual reflects division within the mental health community over a global rise in the use of drugs such as antidepressants, stimulants and antipsychotics.
The inclusion of conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism in previous editions of the manual is believed to have contributed to increased prescribing.
The changes in the new manual would mean children only have to display six of 13 possible symptoms for a diagnosis of ADHD, compared with six out of nine in the previous manual.
New ADHD symptoms that have been added to the manual include acting without thinking, being often impatient, being uncomfortable doing things slowly and systematically, and finding it difficult to resist temptation.
Under the new edition's criteria, the diagnosis threshold for some existing disorders is also being lowered so that grief over the death of a loved one can qualify as a major depressive illness.
However, the authors have defended the move, saying the previous criteria potentially prevent people who need treatment from receiving help.
''A broad range of evidence … shows that there are little to no systematic differences between individuals who develop a major depression in response to bereavement and in response to other severe stressors, such as being physically assaulted and raped,'' Kenneth Kendler, a member of the DSM-5 mood disorders group, said in a statement.
The executive director of the Brain and Mind Research Institute at the University of Sydney, Ian Hickie, said concerns over the manual were more relevant to the US, where patients relied on medical diagnosis to qualify for insurance to access healthcare. He rejected claims that the new manual would define unhappiness as a medical condition.
''When people are in pain and suffering elsewhere, we don't say people are pathologising that. We say, 'Let's try and do the best we can to relieve that and get them back to function in the appropriate way,''' Professor Hickie said.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/healt...#ixzz1fXw8jB34
all this is gonna do is make it real easy for lazy bum's to get welfare as they are "sick" not lazy