The fifth edition of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) was approved by the American Psychiatric Association board of trustees on Saturday. The board's approval was the final step needed before the DSM-5's formal release in May, 2013. The DSM was last revised in 1994.
This is excellent news for those in the eating disorder community who have been waiting for the inclusion and recognition of BED (binge eating disorder). This is a very important step forward, as this change could allow those who struggle with BED to obtain treatment with insurance coverage. With specific criteria to refer to, it will be much more difficult for insurance companies to deny access to treatment for BED. Additionally, we hope that with this classification and recognition comes proper diagnosis, research, prevention, and awareness of eating disorders.
The updated manual will no longer use "axes" to classify diagnoses into broad groups. An associated restructuring of diagnostic groups will be used to bring disorders thought to be biologically related under the same headings. Additionally, many of the diagnostic criteria will now include so-called dimensional assessments to indicate severity of symptoms.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, "Particularly over the past two decades, there has been a wealth of new information in neurology, genetics and the behavioral sciences that dramatically expands our understanding of mental illness." In order to revise the DSM, work groups consisting of experts in various areas of diagnosis have analyzed what sections of the manual work well, and what sections do not meet the needs of clinicians.
More information about the revision can be found on the APA's DSM5.org website.