If you pick up the fifth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (often called the psychiatric bible) in the spring, don’t be shocked that Asperger’s Syndrome is not represented. The removal was decided after studies suggest that autism and Asperger’s syndrome are the same condition and differentiated only by level of impairment. Asperger’s will be replaced in the DSM-V by “Autism spectrum disorder.”
The much-debated exclusion of Asperger’s can be understood from both sides. On one hand, many medical professionals claim that an exclusion of the specific disorder might result in patients not receiving the treatment and services they need.
“Our fear is that…if kids don’t fit the criteria for an autism spectrum diagnosis,’ they are not going to get the supports and services they need,” says Lori Shery, President of the Asperger Syndrome Education Network.
However, on the other hand, not all Asperger’s syndrome patients agree with her. Take Joshua Muggleton, a psychology student who is diagnosed with Asperger’s says, “After looking at the research…I conclude that this is a big step in the right direction. For years, studies have suggested that autism and Asperger’s syndrome are the same condition, differentiated only by level of impairment.”
Further notable changes in the forthcoming DSM will include:
“Gender Identity Disorder” will be replaced by “Gender Dysphoria” to explain a condition where sexual organs don’t match their mental gender.
Binge-Eating Disorder and Hoarding Disorder are also among the exclusions in this edition of the DSM-V to be released in May 2013.
Source: McLeans Magazine