Tuesday, December 04, 2012

DSM-5 drops Asperger syndrome

The shrinks are busy voting on diagnostic definitions for the DSM-5, and here is the latest:
CHICAGO (AP) - The now familiar term "Asperger's disorder" is being dropped. And abnormally bad and frequent temper tantrums will be given a scientific-sounding diagnosis called DMDD. But "dyslexia" and other learning disorders remain.

The revisions come in the first major rewrite in nearly 20 years of the diagnostic guide used by the nation's psychiatrists. Changes were approved Saturday.

Full details of all the revisions will come next May when the American Psychiatric Association's new diagnostic manual is published, but the impact will be huge, affecting millions of children and adults worldwide. The manual also is important for the insurance industry in deciding what treatment to pay for, and it helps schools decide how to allot special education.
In case you think that they have become more enlightened about pathologizing normal behavior, that is not what happened. It is just a scheme to get more funding.
And some Asperger's families opposed any change, fearing their kids would lose a diagnosis and no longer be eligible for special services.

But the revision will not affect their education services, experts say.

The new manual adds the term "autism spectrum disorder," which already is used by many experts in the field. Asperger's disorder will be dropped and incorporated under that umbrella diagnosis. The new category will include kids with severe autism, who often don't talk or interact, as well as those with milder forms.
That's right, they just change the labels to get more govt money. It is just the vote of 20 guys looking to get more business for the profession.
Other changes include:

-A new diagnosis for severe recurrent temper tantrums - disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. Critics say it will medicalize kids' who have normal tantrums. Supporters say it will address concerns about too many kids being misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder and treated with powerful psychiatric drugs. Bipolar disorder involves sharp mood swings and affected children are sometimes very irritable or have explosive tantrums.

-Eliminating the term "gender identity disorder." It has been used for children or adults who strongly believe that they were born the wrong gender. But many activists believe the condition isn't a disorder and say calling it one is stigmatizing. The term would be replaced with "gender dysphoria," which means emotional distress over one's gender. Supporters equated the change with removing homosexuality as a mental illness in the diagnostic manual, which happened decades ago.
Again, this is mainly politics, and not science. Parents want to blame something for the tantrums, and they do not want to admit bad parenting. If a boy thinks that he is a girl, that seems like a disorder to me. But I guess the LGBT crowd does not like that.

The NY Times Sunday Magazine just had a long article on The Autism Advantage. It says that autistic workers can excel at jobs that are suited to their talents, but they often get tripped up by unwritten and unpredictable office rules of behavior. No mention of the term Asperger Syndrome.

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