DSM-5 Draft Organizational Changes Available for Public Comment

The American Psychiatric Association is seeking your comments on proposed changes to the organizational structure of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health and other health professionals for diagnostic and research purposes. This restructuring of the DSM’s chapters and categories of disorders reflects the latest scientific thinking about how various conditions relate to each other, and may influence care.

Proposed changes to the DSM-5 organizational structure and the latest proposed revisions to diagnostic criteria will be available for review and comment at www.DSM5.org from May 4 to June 15, 2011. Health professionals, consumers of mental health services and family members are invited to visit the site to review and comment. Last year’s period of public comment to proposed diagnostic criteria yielded more than 8,000 written responses, all of which were reviewed by the DSM-5 work group members. Based on last year’s web-submitted comments, the feedback we received supported a move to identify autism spectrum disorder as a single diagnostic category, add severity measures, and differentiate it from other developmental disorders. Additionally, the concerns we heard about the emotional trauma children suffer when exposed to extreme adversity informed the attention that DSM-5 will pay to developmental trauma disorders.

DSM-5 remains a work in progress. The DSM-5 Task Force and Work Groups have spent the past three years reviewing and refining diagnostic criteria based on scientific review and public comments. The first of two phases of field trials is now underway to test some of the proposed diagnostic criteria in real-world clinical settings. Publication of the final DSM-5 is expected in May 2013. For more information, visit www.DSM5.org.