Controversy Stirring Over Possible Changes to Asperger Syndrome Diagnosis

Asperger Syndrome (AS) was officially recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) for the first time in 1994. The DSM is published by the American Psychiatric Association and is used by mental health care professionals to identify specific disorders. The DSM-V (fifth edition) has proposed to eliminate Asperger Syndrome as a specific disorder (which it currently is) and categorize it under general Autism Spectrum Disorder.

What is good about the revisions is that the new DSM will view Autism disorders on a spectrum from mild to severe, rather than specific and distinct disorders such as Asperger Syndrome.  AS doesn’t go away.  It is just refined as an Autism disorder on the milder end of the continuum.

Many Aspies and their loved ones are worried by this adjustment. Since they do not view themselves as autistic, they feel like it would label them as something different than they are. This revision has the potential to impact their future especially since Asperger’s has recently been accepted and understood on a greater level. The rather controversial question is, will changing the diagnosis change the way someone with Asperger’s is viewed?

The American Psychiatric Association is open to hear the public opinion of their proposed revisions. This window of opportunity will be open through April 20, 2010. Updates to the 2013 DSM-V will be based off of these comments and field trials. So now’s your chance to do the research on these proposed changes and make your opinions known! I would love to hear what your thoughts are on this matter as well. Please feel free to leave me a comment.

Click here to read the DSM-V proposed revisions. If you would like to participate in giving your comment to the American Psychiatric Association, click here. For more information, CNN Health posted a great article on this topic – Revised psychiatry manual targets autism, substance disorders.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *