Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Asperger's Syndrome Dropped From Latest Psych Manual

Human Behaviour

An article in Macleans says that Asperger's Syndrome will no longer be a stand-alone diagnosis when the DSM-V, the "bible" of psychiatric disorders, is released in May 2013; it will form part of the general diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.
The fifth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-V, will come out in May and Asperger’s will be notably absent, replaced with the broader definition of “autism spectrum disorder.” Previously, Asperger’s was thought to be a milder form of autism.
The choice to remove the definition from the DSM, sometimes referred to as the psychiatric bible, has been much-debated and is opposed by some who think the change in definition will exclude some patients from diagnosis, and could mean they don’t get the treatment and services they need.
“Our fear is that we are going to take a big step backward,” Lori Shery, president of the Asperger Syndrome Education Network, told The New York Times in January. “If clinicians say, ‘These kids don’t fit the criteria for an autism spectrum diagnosis,’ they are not going to get the supports and services they need, and they’re going to experience failure.”
Not everyone who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome disagrees, however. Joshua Muggleton, a psychology student who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s, writes in The Guardian: “…after looking at the research I was forced to conclude that actually, the DSM-V is a big step in the right direction. For years, studies have been suggesting that autism and Asperger’s syndrome are the same condition, differentiated only by level of impairment.”
If such is indeed the case, and psychiatric science seems to support this assertion, then this is a step in the right direction; putting together similar diagnoses and placing them on a continuum makes perfect sense for issues of treatment. Asperger's Syndrome has received a lot of media attention, chiefly I suspect since those who have been said diagnosed, are both intelligent and articulate, yet suffer other social anxieties that somewhat impair their ability to interact socially. This is a far less severe disorder than the more severe cases of childhood autism, which deserves greater resources for both patients and their families.

You can read the rest of the article at [Macleans]