DSM-5 and you!

Responding to a suggestion from one of our members (thanks Candida) I thought I would bring the whole subject of the DSM-5 up for discussion by our members.

Now being someone who lives in Ireland but who is by nationality English and being from a military family the collective initials DSM speaks to me of the Distinguished Service Medal, awarded for meritorious service to military personnel in the UK and by other countries (USA, Australia, Ireland, Mexico etc) to their military personnel.

But no, this being a mental health blog, the collective initials ‘DSM’ in this context is one used by the ‘American Psychiatric Association’ (APA) referring to their ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’ and the ‘-5’ part refers to the soon to be published and highly observed, discussed and anticipated 5th edition of this publication.

A publication which is claimed will happen in May 2013 and which is heralded by the APA as marking “one the most anticipated events in the mental health field.” 1

The APA has now made the DSM-5 or at least the preliminary draft revisions to the current diagnostic criteria for psychiatric diagnoses available for public review as part of the development process and it can be found here.

What I would very much like to know from members, and anyone else reading this blog, is…

  1. Are you aware of the DSM-5?
  2. What have you personally heard?
  3. Have you written about this on your own personal blog?  And if so would you be willing to comment below with link and allow me to reblog that piece here?
  4. What if any was your opinion of the previous edition of the DSM  what, if any, gaping holes or gray areas  did you notice in it which you would like to see addressed in this next edition the DSM-5?
  5. What is your personal opinion of the forthcoming DSM-5 or its development process?  (I understand that it is currently being trialed).  And, very importantly, are those your opinions as a mental health client, a mental health practitioner or someone else?

Whatever you have heard, or not heard, for that matter how about sharing your opinions, knowledge or position on this (what is I am sure going to prove to be an) incredibly important forthcoming publication.

Many thanks

I look forward to reading all your comments.

Kind Regards,


9 comments on “DSM-5 and you!

  1. Well, here goes, Kevin–and you’re well out of it over there, with the luck of the Irish clinging to you in this case. Yes, I am extremely aware of the the DSM-5 and the uproar surrounding it, enough so that answering #2 could cover pages. I’ve written extensively about it on my blog (I’ll only share a few with you, so as not to overwhelm, but if anyone wants more info, it’s there), and you of course are free to re-blog. I think I had just come to accept and work with the DSM-IV to the extent that I developed a comfort with it, and was able to use it to diagnose and guide treatment in a very reasonable way. I’ve been quite disappointed in the DSM-5 development process, as a mental health professional. My pieces explain why this is so, but additionally because of the somewhat closed way the process is being handled.

    So pick your poison. There’s:
    1. “Perish the Paranoid: Personality Disorders Pulverized in New Mental Health Manual” at http://wp.me/p22afJ-ZP
    2. “Money Motivates Mental Health Moves: DSM-5, Meet Makers of Medicine” at http://wp.me/p22afJ-Zk, or
    3. “Pathologizing Grief–Just For Starters: The DSM-5 and My Tripartite Expression of Displeasure, Part II” at http://wp.me/p22afJ-X7

    I hope those are helpful in opening dialogue–I’d love to hear what other people’s reactions are.
    Thanks for picking up on this timely topic. Best, Candida

  2. Existentialism and the DSM-5: Humanizing Mental Health
    Donna Rockwell, PsyD
    Coalition for DSM-5 Reform
    Hope you find this a comprehensive explanation of proposed DSM-5 and the position of many in the psychological community.

  3. I have heard stuff here and there…but I am not one to … read the news and keep up on things. Most of what I have learned is from reading Candida’s blog – solid info anyways.. I have been kind of of the mind that the pharmaceutical companies have too much say in it… but I don;t know if that is a valid thought.

  4. Aware of it, mostly the highly criticized consideration of “medicalizing” grief, which I think is a bunch of BS.

    I see some pretty big holes in the DSM-IV in terms of the lack of understanding for bipolar disorder, but that’s just the part I’m most familiar with of late. In particular, the criteria of mixed episodes being only Bipolar I, and a lot of the stuff about cycle duration are just not in sync with what people actually experience. More clarity on where the line is between mania and hypomania would help un-confuse a lot of people.

    I still don’t see the use of “current or most recent episode manic” types of classifications – I mean really, what does that do for treatment? It just means a constantly changing diagnostic code. The “with anxiety” subtyping does seem useful, since it co-occurs so often for Bipolar. Adding “mixed features” to Bipolar II is a big improvement.

    The addition of “Temper Dysregulation Disorder” sounds like a poor excuse for badly behaved children. Perhaps there’s a real issue I don’t recognize, but I don’t seem to remember this being an “issue” when I was a kid.

  5. Yes, I’m aware of the DSM-5 and most of the controversy that goes with it. Candida wrote some great posts on the topic (see her links above), and like DeeDee, as of late I’ve been reading about their amusing proposals regarding grief. If this work weren’t going to profoundly affect my life, I would find it and all of the committee’s shenanigans hilarious. However, sigh, I’m observing the whole kit-n-caboodle with shock and awe. I think we should take bets as to whether the DSM-5 will, in fact, be released in May of 2013 – on schedule – or if there will be some miraculous 11th hour delay so the committee can try to straighten out some of the more controversial messes they’ve created. I hope everyone is doing well! MM

    • Hi MM,

      I can’t believe some of the stuff that I am reading about in respect of this.

      This is such a serious issue as this publication has the potential for far-reaching ramifications.

      I hope and pray there will be some sort of eleventh hour rethink (although I have to ask why wait until then?)

      Really appreciate your comments and I will publish it as part of the main discussion when more comments come in.

      Kind Regards


  6. Way down in New Zealand I have to say I know very little about DSM-5 apart from its existence and hear very little about it.

    I’ve heard there is general dissatisfaction over it but couldn’t give you the details.

    As such I have yet to blog about it, but no doubt that will come when
    I educate myself (I need more than 24 hours in a day). As for DSM-IV I am so used to it, it is like a old book on my bookcase.

    That said, I’m not very good with labels, diagnoses and the like. There are so many variances in real life that I tend to take what is probably a simplistic approach of what it actually feels like rather than what it is supposed to look like.

    Hope that makes sense 🙂 Cate

    • Hi Cate,

      I think you and I are or were very much in the same boat when it comes to the DSM-5.

      With it being an American thing and with me being an English thing (albeit one living in Ireland) it is not something I was very familiar with either.

      I also am like you in respect of labels etc.

      Hope you are well.
      Kind Regards


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