The new fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) will cause “confusion, chaos and distress” mental health charity Anxiety UK has claimed.
Anxiety UK is the latest organisation to criticise the DSM-5, which was published earlier in May by the American Psychiatric Association. In the UK, the Mental Health Foundation has already voiced its concerns [www.mentalhealthtoday.co.uk/mental_health_foundation_calls_for_balanced_debate_on_mental_health_diagnosis_79762.aspx], calling for a “balanced debate” about mental health diagnosis.
The DSM-5 aims to provide a common language for describing psychopathology. While it is US-based it is influential around the world. The latest edition – the first update since 1994 – has caused controversy, with critics saying that it turns normal behaviour such a childhood temper tantrums and grief into mental illness.
Met with universal astonishment'
Meanwhile, other conditions, such as Asperger’s syndrome, have been dropped altogether. It is now part of the wider ‘autism spectrum disorder’.
Nicky Lidbetter, CEO of Anxiety UK, said: “On the one hand DSM-5 expands the range of mental health issues that are classified as disorders while at the same time omitting others such as Asperger’s.
“There doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason to the manner in which there decisions have been made, conclusions reached and recommendations given.
“In our view this will lead to confusion, chaos and distress. It’s no surprise that the publication of DSM-5 has been met with such universal astonishment.”