Skip to content

    Mental Health Center

    Font Size

    Big Changes in Psychiatry's 'Bible' of Disorders

    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    Dec. 3, 2012 -- A major revision to the diagnostic "bible" -- which defines what is and what is not a mental illness -- has the final approval of the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

    The approval means the final draft of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5, will be official when it is published in May 2013.

    Ten years in the making, the rewritten manual has been embroiled in controversy. One outspoken critic is Allen J. Frances, MD, chair of the task force that developed the previous edition, DSM-IV.

    In a critique published online by Psychology Today, Frances calls the DSM-5 "deeply flawed," with "changes that seem clearly unsafe and scientifically unsound."

    The APA defends the DSM-5 as the work of more than 1,500 experts in all fields of psychiatry and psychology from 39 countries.

    "We have produced a manual that best represents the current science and will be useful to clinicians and the patients they serve," Dilip Jeste, MD, president of the APA, says in a news release.

    Something called "psychotic risk syndrome," one of the most controversial proposed diagnoses, was dropped from the final draft. "Hypersexual disorder" (sex addiction) was also rejected, although the new manual opens the door to "behavioral addictions."

    Today on WebMD

    Differences between feeling depressed or feeling blue.
    lunar eclipse
    Signs of mania and depression.
    man screaming
    Causes, symptoms, and therapies.
    woman looking into fridge
    When food controls you.
    Woman standing in grass field barefoot, wind blowi
    senior man eating a cake
    woman reading medicine warnings
    depressed young woman
    man with arms on table
    man cringing and covering ears

    WebMD Special Sections