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New Manual For Diagnosing Mental Disorders Gets Stamp Of Approval

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has completed a decade-long process and approved changes to its diagnostic manual. The new manual – the first complete revision since 1994 – comes out in May.

Since psychiatry and psychology do not have the kind of scientific measures as biologically-based medicine, diagnoses often come down to judgment calls.

The goal for new manual, to be known as DSM-5, is to make the process as scientifically valid as possible but Temple University psychology professor Frank Farley says even though it’s am improvement; it’s not completely successful.

“Significant decisions are made about people in the courts, in the mental health system, with insurers so we want it to be absolutely impeccable and so some of these aspects are not particularly solid science.”

Farley points to changes in personality disorder diagnoses and suggests a new childhood disorder called disruptive mood disregulation – characterized by three temper tantrums a week – describes fairly normal behavior.

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