The Artist's Guide to Understanding the DSM-V

. . . the future is bright and we are embarked on perhaps the most exciting of mankind's intellectual explorations. The brain is by far the most complicated thing in the known universe and our field is central in accumulating an understanding of the ineluctably complex processes by which it creates mind, consciousness, and behavior. Psychiatric practice requires you to be a combination of doctor, scientist, shaman, philosopher, and healer. It is a good life and a high calling. . . 

Those are the remarkable words of Allen Frances, M.D., professor emeritus at Duke University School of Medicine . . . Dr. Frances was the chair of Psychiatry at Duke and the DSM-IV Task Force, which makes his article Why Psychiatry Is Wonderful - Even If DSM-V Isn't far more special!

DSM stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - published by the APA, it's essentially the Bible of Mental Healthcare. 

I want whoever is reading this to create their own opinion on the subject, so I will leave you with these quotes artfully written by Dr. Frances -
". . . It is essential for clinicians to know the DSM language lest they be completely idiosyncratic and unable to communicate meaningfully. It is equally essential that clinicians not worship DSM as some kind of bible or see it as the end, rather than just the beginning of the clinical conversation. The DSM is an essential, but a very small, part of the rich enterprise of clinical psychiatry. . . "
Cleverly ending his article with thought-provoking last words . . .

" . . . I fear DSM-5 because it threatens to further medicalize normality and spread psychiatry too thin. Psychiatry is wonderful when done well and within its appropriate limits. . . "

You can learn more about the changes in the DSM-V from their website, here are few of the highlights my artisan friends:

  • Re-categorizing learning disorders, including changing the term "mental retardation" to "intellectual disability"
  • Getting rid of "Substance abuse/dependence" and creating "addiction and related disorders"
  • "Behavioral Addictions" including Gambling, but not Internet or Sex
  • New tool to assess suicide risk
  • A new category called "risk syndromes" for mild forms of psychosis & cognitive impairment
  • Children disorder "temper dysregulation with dysphoria" aka constant negative mood with bursts of rage
  • Altering the "eating disorder" category and creating a "binge eating disorder" separate from bulimia
  • "Dimensional assessments" for the severity of symptoms that appear in multiple disorders
Never stop learning Mad Hatters -

The Mad Boy

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