Mental Disorder Guideline Expansion Worries Psychiatrists
Efforts to expand the definition of a mental disorder have been met with opposition by healthcare professionals in the United States and the United Kingdom, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. Practitioners are concerned that the update to the industry’s official guidelines will increase the number of patients on prescription drugs.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is healthcare’s standard for how patients are diagnosed and treated for mental illnesses, and helps determine whether insurers will pay for their care. The American Psychiatric Association’s changes to the guide would give broader criteria for diagnosing existing ailments such as ADHD and give “mental disorder” status to behaviors like frequent temper tantrums and lack of sexual arousal.
These changes, which are scheduled to be published next year, have many psychiatrists worried that people with relatively common behaviors will be given unneeded drugs.
“Everyday disappointments, sufferings and eccentricities are being redefined as psychiatric disorders, and that could lead to medication treatment,” said psychiatrist Allen Frances, an emeritus professor at Duke University who helped write the current guide. “This is expanding the boundaries of psychiatry.”