Criteria for Autism is changing as the DSM-5 creates a new category: Autism Spectrum Disorder

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has proposed new diagnostic criteria for Autism in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

While final decisions are still months away, the recommendations reflect the work of dozens of the nation’s top scientific and research minds and are supported by more than a decade of intensive study and analysis.

The proposal recommends a new category called autism spectrum disorder which would incorporate several previously separate diagnoses, including autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified.

The proposal asserts that symptoms of these four disorders represent a continuum from mild to severe, rather than a simple yes or no diagnosis to a specific disorder. The proposed diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder specify a range of severity as well as describe the individual’s overall developmental status–in social communication and other relevant cognitive and motor behaviors.

This change will help clinicians more accurately diagnose people with relevant symptoms and behaviors by recognizing the differences from person to person, rather than providing general labels that tend not to be consistently applied across different clinics and centers.

Field testing of the proposed criteria for autism spectrum disorder does not indicate that there will be any change in the number of patients receiving care for autism spectrum disorders in treatment centers–just more accurate diagnoses that can lead to more focused treatment.

via American Psychiatric Association

DSM is the manual used by clinicians and researchers to diagnose and classify mental disorders. The APA will publish DSM-5 in 2013, culminating a 14-year revision process.

Do you have ADD or ADHD? Test yourself against the official criteria from the DSM-IV

The following is excerpted from the DSM-IV, the medical manual used by the American Psychiatric Association to define mental disorders. These definitions are then broadly accepted in the entire health profession.

Go ahead and give yourself the test.
 

Diagnostic criteria for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

A. Satisfy Either (1) or (2):

1. Six (or more) of the following symptoms of inattention have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:

Inattention

  • (a) often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
  • (b) often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
  • (c) often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  • (d) often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork. Chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions)
  • (e) often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
  • (f) often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework)
  • (g) often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g. toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools)
  • (h) is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
  • (i) is often forgetful in daily activities

Continue reading Do you have ADD or ADHD? Test yourself against the official criteria from the DSM-IV