The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual is now in its fifth edition and it is not getting any smaller. In fact, new mental health disorders continue to be added to the manual. Some of these newbies cause controversy.
Just like anything else, there are supporters and non-supporters of the revised edition, commonly called the DSM-5. But with the input of many mental health experts from around the world, the revisions were made with great thought and discussion.
Today, we’re going to take a closer look at the updated disorders in DSM 5.
Mental Disorders In DSM 5
The DSM-5 is a requirement for making a diagnosis when evaluating a person for a mental health disorder. For example, if you are diagnosed with mild major depressive disorder, your DSM-5 diagnosis code would be 296.31.
The psychiatric manual helps clinical workers to narrow your symptoms to one specific category. This category describes you, based on what you have told your counselor or doctor.
The psychiatric manual also helps professionals decide how to best treat your disorder. The psychiatric manual can be found in every single mental health and addictions treatment centers in Los Angeles County as well as all of California and the United States.
The coding in the DSM-5 not only helps Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals working on your case, it helps insurance companies with billing processes.
One of the newest codes in the psychiatric manual includes 296.99 or disruptive mood dysregulation disorder.
Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder
In the mental health field, there are strong supporters of disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD). There are also strong opponents.
The National Institute of Health describes DMDD as a child, 18 years and younger, having extreme anger and temper outbursts. This sounds a lot like a temper tantrum, which is why many professionals are not happy. They feel this excuses a child’s negative behavior and a parent’s need to discipline.
Other professionals, however, feel it is a way to help children get the right diagnosis rather than being wrongly diagnosed with similar disorders. For instance, some children have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder when their mood swings are due to other causes.
Supporters of the new disorder claim this is a way to help children get the treatment they need, without being labeled “moody” or “spoiled”.
To prevent this, however, the symptoms guidelines have been established to avoid overuse of the diagnosis. For instance, no child under the age of six or over the age of eighteen can be given the diagnosis.
Other symptoms must be described as persistent and extreme outbursts with very little time in between episodes. The outbursts also must be present three to four times for at least one year.
Somatic Symptom Disorder
This new disorder takes hypochondria to a new level, giving it a stand-alone diagnosis, with a coding of 300.82. Somatic symptom disorder was created for those individuals who spend an excessive amount of time focusing on and fearing health problems.
While they must have at least one actual physical symptom that has persisted longer than six months, the diagnosis is mainly based on the anxiety surrounding that symptom.
An example, if you have persistent headaches for six months or longer, you may begin to fear you have brain cancer or a tumor or some other life threatening disease. Even if it is proven to not be anything life threatening, you may continue to fear of an undiagnosed terminal problem.
Your fear surrounding the possibility of having a fatal disease begins to interfere with your ability to function at work or in your personal life. You are basically consumed by the fear and anxiety that something may be wrong with you.
A major difference with somatic symptom disorder is that your physical pain or ailments are very real. Your reaction to these ailments is extreme and over-inflated.
Gender dysphoria, code 302.85, has been called gender identity disorder in the past. The update and changes come with more accurate research available on those who suffer from the disorder. Because professionals know more about it today, they can more accurately diagnose.
The more people are educated, the better decisions they can make. Remember in the seventies when homosexuality was listed as a mental disorder? That didn’t happen because people were homophobic. It happened because they had little research and information regarding the topic.
To be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, you must have symptoms for at least six months. Your symptoms include a persistent feeling that you are the wrong sex. If you are a girl, you truly feel as if you should have been born a boy. Or vice versa.
You desire the body parts of the opposite sex and dislike the private parts you currently have. The older you get, the more you focus on transitioning to the other sex. You begin thinking about and achieving the change of your gender through hormones and surgeries.
Gender dysphoria goes way beyond a cultural fad or someone trying to fit in. It goes beyond an adolescent who is curious about the opposite sex and a general identity questioning. If you have this disorder, you are certain you were meant to be the opposite gender.
Your certainty can lead to emotional dysfunction in school, personal and work roles. It interferes with daily functions because it is all you can focus on until it is resolved.
So, What Do You Do About It?
If you feel you have one of these new psychiatric disorders, there are specific steps you can take to get help.
Individual counseling is the single best way to help you sort through your thoughts and develop a better understanding of why you are feeling this way. Seek counseling from experienced professionals in your area of concern.
If you are confused about your gender, find a counselor who specializes in this area. Don’t go to a specialist in eating disorders if you are having temper outbursts.
Another step is to get a diagnosis. Your counselor can recommend a Psychiatric who is trained specifically to treat your symptoms. With some disorders like somatic symptom disorder, anti-anxiety medications can be beneficial. So, make sure your Psychiatrist specializes in your disorder.
Other steps you can take to help yourself is establish a positive support system. You are not alone in this battle. Your counselor can do the research for you and direct you to appropriate local support groups. Family counseling is necessary to help your friends and family understand what you are going through.
A counselor can mediate these sessions so that everyone is being heard.
Having a diagnosis can be a good thing. It can be a great start to a great new life.