Asperger’s Growth Presents Dilemma For New DSM
When Asperger’s syndrome gained entry to psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, or DSM, it was considered rare. Now the disorder is regularly diagnosed and the man behind the current DSM says that growth ought to be a lesson for those crafting the manual’s next edition.
Allen Frances edited the latest edition of the DSM — known as the DSM IV — and says he regrets the explosion of Asperger’s diagnoses that followed the disorder’s inclusion in that version. Now, as psychiatrists consider changes to the manual ahead of a new edition due in 2013, Frances is warning that unintended consequences may linger.
While Frances believes that Asperger’s is a real issue, he says it’s radically over diagnosed. The reason: children with the disorder are eligible for a menu of special services at school.
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Similarly, Frances says that a loosening of the definition of bipolar disorder in the current DSM opened the door for drug companies to peddle more psychiatric medications.
With that in mind, Frances is urging those shaping the new manual to exercise restraint. However, others in the field worry that an abundance of caution could stifle research and prevent those in need from receiving treatment, reports NPR. To read more click here.