False Positive Epidemics, DSM-V & Autism

| by Val

Parents and professionals have very strong feelings with regard to the upcoming publication of the fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The newest revision of the DSM (aka psychiatric bible) seems to put significant focus upon concern for treating those who are less in need of treatment - by creation of new conditions. An abundance in reporting has already pointed out that the new and upcoming DSM will have so great a variety of new disorders as to drastically shrink the number of those who might be considered normal. Doing such lends to medicating individuals when it might not be necessary. What also might happen is neglect of those in most need of care.

History shows that small changes to the DSM can cause paradigm shifts for the diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues. The DSM-4 might be responsible for creating three false positive epidemics...

Changes to the previous version (DSM-4) seem to have contributed to three false positive "epidemics"* – high rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autistic disorder, and childhood bipolar disorders.  Other factors also contributed to fanning the flames – in particular, drug companies marketing drugs for these diagnoses not just to doctors, but also to the general public.  During the last decade, how many doctors were harangued by worried parents into giving drugs like Ritalin to children who didn’t really need it? (link)

New Autism Spectrum Disorder DSM-5 (Opposing Views) Gives points and analysis on this subject and gives insight about how the DSM revision can hurt those who are in need of help the most.

In the Brave New World of the DSM-5 everyone will be happy except the severely disabled, low functioning persons with Autistic Disorder and Intellectual Disability, the "classic" autistics ... and the parents and family members who are the only ... the ONLY ...  ones fighting on their behalf.  Members of the APA will be busy slapping each other on the back and congratulating themselves for solving the Autism Crisis in the way they know best ... by defining it away.   (link)

The author also points out how success rates for those who work with autistic subjects will climb because the New Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis includes those without Intellectual Disability. However, the autism cases with Intellectual Disability will be hidden away in institutions because psychologists most likely will defer most of their time and care for treating those in the spectrum who have no Intellectual Disability and are high functioning. I would say that the author might be seeing the future that DSM-5 has in mind for those severely affected by autism. 

Families press on in any way that they possibly can, but the obstacles are already great. This makes me wonder why a DSM is being created that might hurt far more than it will actually help?