Addict Nation? DSM-V May Say Yes…

In May 2013 the American Psychological Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) will be published in its 5th edition (DSM-V).

The proposed changes to the addiction criteria have created a firestorm over concerns that the entire population will now be labeled as addicts.

The DSM functions as the “go to” book for diagnosis of mental health disorders and contains in its pages the criteria for such diagnoses. Addiction has for quite a long time had conflict over how it should be diagnosed, but now in the DSM-V there will be new categories such as “behavioral addiction undefined” and “binge eating disorder” as well as “hypersexuality”…who is to define what something like hypersexuality is? Disorders are generally defined as maladaptive behavior that interfere with your life, does this change with these new categories?

Addiction could be defined as anything one does too much of that causes a problem things like working too much could fall into this category.

What is interesting is that there is debate about including internet addiction, since any habit can become excessive, compulsive, and/or life threatening the question
becomes where is the line for diagnosis? It seems a little too subjective for comfort.

Substance related addictions will now be in a separate category, called “addiction and related disorders” with each drug given its own category. Issues can arise here because someone who binge drinks in college once and then decides it is not for them could be considered an addict under this.

Now of course these changes are only proposed and there is still a lot of debate going on about what will be included in the DSM-V, but these are very scary times for both clinicians and the general population..if you are already struggling with an addiction you know how difficult it can be.

People will be able to use their insurance coverage with more flexibility if these changes take effect, but they will also be faced with dealing with misdiagnosis in some cases, for example the disorder diagnosis of hyper-sexuality, who is to define what that is.

Maybe some people just want sex more than others, maybe someone has the time to have a lot of sex without creating havoc in their lives…who is protecting the population from misdiagnosis by clinicians looking to make a buck?

All of these issues need to be examined before the new edition gets released. I will keep watch over this issue and perhaps write about it again in the future.

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