On Dec. 2 USA Today reported that a panel of psychologists have approved changes to the diagnosis manual which is used like a bible in diagnosing mental illness and disorders. Some of these changes are rather disturbing while others seem senseless or much needed to many, leaving thousands scratching their heads. The last time the manual was updated was 1994, so, it was time for an update, however, some of the changes made– especially those regarding childhood mental disorders are appalling to most.
With these changes will also come the change in health care coverage once the new manual is published in May of 2013. Many illnesses that were in the book originally that have been removed likely won’t be covered any longer leaving thousands of people without care because they are now being looked at as a “non-issue”. Other recognized illnesses such as PTSD or shell-shock, are now part of their own category instead of lumped under anxiety as they were before.
One of the biggest changes being made to the new manual that has many people up in arms is the removal of Asperger’s Syndrome from the manual and lumping it under a new category called “autism spectrum disorder”. While Asperger’s is a form of autism it is considered highly functioning and a more mild case than “classic autism”. This could mean that funding and programs that kids with Asperger’s need and use will likely no longer be available. Sensory Processing Disorder– a disorder where children have trouble coping with over stimulation, bright colors, or loud noises has been removed from the diagnosis book, however, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder which is the new diagnosis for children that have more than three tantrums a week over a year’s time or longer has been added.
Other disorders that have been added include; binge eating, hoarding, and death induced grief. One Portland woman has this to say about the new changes;
“I don’t binge eat because I have a mental disorder. I binge eat (without purging) because I like food and I stress eat. I have two children, one with Asperger’s and another that is just a drama queen. Under these new changes, I can medicate my drama queen for throwing fits about everything but I likely won’t be able to get help for my son that actually needs it. This makes perfect sense.”
It seems as if there may be a little hint of sarcasm there, but that is a lot of the general thought that is circulating around these changes. What is your take on these new changes? Do you think that it will effect you or a loved one? How will it effect society as a whole? Share your thoughts below.