DSM-5: Friend or Foe? A Comprehensive Breakdown of Changes and Controversies

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Developed by Birgit Wolz, Ph.D., MFT

General Course Description

Does the DSM-5, which was published in May 2013, represent a fundamental improvement in how disorders are conceptualized and diagnosed, or are the changes in the new manual flawed, unsafe, scientifically unsound, and costly to our society? Is the revision revolutionizing diagnosis and treatment, or was its process just an exercise in moving a few deck chairs on a sinking ship?

Every previous revision of the DSM caused controversy. But never has the process provoked warfare so brutal with attacks coming from within the profession during and after the DSM-5 revision process. Discussions about the revised manual have stretched well beyond the world of academic psychiatry and have become a matter of intense public interest as well as media coverage.

This intermediate level course provides extensive review of the DSM-5 and how it is different from DSM-IV.It details the new diagnostic categories and discusses their potential impact on clinical work. It also reviews the intense criticism of the DSM-5, including its decision-making process and concerns with its applicability, validity, and whether some of the untested diagnoses have, in fact, turned everyday life problems into mental disorders.

The course also attends to the inevitable important questions, such as what impact has the DSM-5 on clinical practice? Will there be a loss of insurance reimbursements or funding for certain disorders? And can we expect that insurance companies will pay for the treatment of additional diagnoses?

This informative, four-part course explores these and many more questions by providing the most up-to-date information. First, it provides an overview of the manual’s new organization, coding, and the most relevant changes in the diagnoses of psychopathology from the DSM‐IV-TR to the DSM‐5. In addition, it focuses on the concrete differences in diagnostic criteria that effect clinical practice. Clinicians will also learn about the practical implications of the revised manual in the context of the relationship between the DSM and the ICD. Finally, the substantial controversies around the DSM in general, as well as its latest revision, are discussed. Additional resources and references are provided for further study, but they are not part of the course.

Educational Objectives:

    This course will teach the participant to

  • Describe the development of the DSM-5.
  • Understand the changed organization of the revised manual.
  • Identify the rationale and the resulting changes of disorders between the DSM-IV-TR and the DSM-5.
  • Evaluate some of the controversies surrounding the revised manual.
  • Explain the concerns about the changes of specific diagnoses.
  • Clarify questions about the implementation of the DSM-5.

Course Syllabus:

Part I: Introduction and History

  • Introduction
  • History of the DSM
  • Development of the DSM-5

Part II: Highlights of Changes from the DSM-IV-TR to the DSM-5

  • Improvements
  • Overall Changes
    • Organization of the Manual
    • Coding of Disorders
    • Cross-cultural Application
  • Changes of Specific Disorders
    • Neurodevelopmental Disorders
    • Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders
    • Bipolar and Related Disorders
    • Depressive Disorders
    • Anxiety Disorders
    • Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders
    • Trauma- and Stressor-Related Disorders
    • Dissociative Disorders
    • Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders
    • Feeding and Eating Disorders
    • Sleep-Wake Disorders
    • Sexual Dysfunctions
    • Gender Dysphoria
    • Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorders
    • Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders
    • Neurocognitive Disorders
    • Personality Disorders
    • Paraphilic Disorder

Part III: Controversies

  • Critique of the DSM in General
  • Controversies in Regards to the Changes in the DSM-5
    • Who are the Opponents?
    • What are the Problems?
    • Possible Causes of the Problems
    • Culture and the DSM-5
  • Concerns about Specific Diagnoses
    • Autism
    • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
    • Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder
    • Bereavement
    • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
    • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
    • Dissociative Disorders
    • Somatic Symptom Disorder
    • Psychological Factors Affecting Medical Condition
    • Binge Eating Disorder
    • Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder
    • Female Sexual Interest/Arousal Disorder
    • Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders
    • Neurocognitive Disorders
    • Personality Disorders
    • Paraphilic disorders
  • Responses to the Critique
  • Is the DSM Needed for Coding?

Part IV: Summary & Conclusions

  • Over-Diagnosing Versus Under-Diagnosing
  • Implementation of the DSM-5
  • Summary and Conclusion
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Cost: $59.00

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