Proposed revisions to the fifth edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” which is scheduled to print in May 2013, have many people with mental illnesses scrambling to submit feedback.
The DSM is published by the American Psychiatric Association, and its most current version, the DSM-4, was printed in 1994. The manual serves as a diagnostic tool for mental health professionals in diagnosing and treating patients with mental disorders.
According to DSM5.org, “These criteria for diagnosis provide a common language among clinicians. By clearly defining the criteria for a mental disorder, DSM helps to ensure that a diagnosis is both accurate and consistent.”
One proposed revision to the DSM-5 is to entry of Conversion Disorder, which is a somatic symptom disorder.
- Including the name Functional Neurological Symptom Disorder, or FNSD.
- Removing the need for psychological factors.
- Removal of previous criterion that symptoms are not intentionally being produced or feigned.
Bridget Mildon, the founder of the non-profit group FND Hope, said there are other revisions that should also be included:
“If someone doesn’t put enough anxiety into being sick, they are diagnosed with ‘la belle indifference’; however, now if there is too much anxiety it is another diagnosable illness,” she said. “This criterion is obviously being written by people that have little understanding of the frustration of this type of disorder of unknown causes.”
In addition, Mildon said the severity of physical disabilities regarding conversion disorder is not being recognized enough.
“This has severe impact on the social services that patients are receiving,” Mildon said. “Many are not receiving the benefits and services that are available to other disabled people because of the lack of clarification that this disorder has.”
Mildon wrote a petition that is open until June 1. She will be sending the signed petition to the APA board and the Somatic Work Group before the June 15 deadline.
“The APA Board has a real opportunity to provide a clearer and more accurate definition that would inform and assist clinicians and patients in their quest for appropriate and effective treatment strategies,” she said.
To read and sign the petition, go to http://www.fndhope.org/letter-to-apa/.
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