Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders Essay

Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders Essay

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Since the first diagnosis of autism was made in 1943 by an psychiatrist named Kanner [1], the diagnostic criteria of autism ever since has been evolving over time in both clinical and research settings. One of the world’s most widely used classification handbook of mental disorders is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) proposed by the American Psychiatric Association. DSM has underwent 7 revisions since its first edition published in 1952. The latest edition, DSM-5, was released in May 2013.
In comparison to the previous edition DSM-IV-TR, DSM-5 sets a stricter standard to diagnose autism spectrum disorder (ASD). For example, in DSM-IV-TR, there is no need to meet the criteria of having repetitive or stereotyped behaviors while it’s the prerequisite for the current diagnosis. The second major change is that DSM-5 lumps together autism disorder (AD), Asperger syndrome and Pervasive developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) into one category of ASD, which formerly were three separate classifications. Additionally, DSM-5 introduces social communication disorder (SCD) as a new diagnosis category. Another notable difference lies in the principles of ASD diagnosis. Instead of using a triad of core symptoms (impairments in social interaction, impairments in communication, and manifestation of repetitive behaviors), DSM-5 uses a dual-symptom approach (deficits in social communication, and repetitive or stereotyped behaviors) [2, 3, 4].
In order to evaluate the new diagnostic manual, we should first clarify the goal of medical classification. Firstly, disease classification must accurately reflect the nosography or phenotype of a particular disease in order to help patients or health professi...


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...eveloped jet, the children who are newly diagnosed with SCD will miss their appropriate treatments. Additionally, to the patients diagnosed with ASD under DSM-5, they still face problems. By dropping categories of Asperger syndrome and PDD-NOS, DSM-5 treats these patients equally with autism disorder (AD) patients where AD is a more severe form of ASD. This equivocal term may lead to under-treatment of AD and over-treatment of Asperger syndrome and PDD-NOS patients. To alleviate these issues, more research needs to be done to reveal the true validity of the new approach and provide solutions. For example, low sensitivity of DSM-5 could be rectified by reducing one or more symptoms criteria [6]. For autistic children and their families, new appropriate treatments and accessible services should be provided as soon as possible in order to improve their quality of life.

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