Recently the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition, was released by the American Psychiatric Association. This serves as the official mental disorder classification system used in medical fields and consequently “the bible” for insurance companies who reimburse practitioners for mental health services provided to their eligible covered employees.

There are several areas of controversy with the new classification system and the diagnostic system employed. The familiar axes of DSM-4-TR are gone. Initial controversy seems to focus on Asperger’s disorder now placed on a continuum with Autistic Disorder; childhood bipolar disorder has a new name and is reconceptualized.  Bereavement can more easily be classified as a mental disorder. There are 15 new diagnoses including hoarding, cannabis withdrawal and gambling addiction.

Not everyone, in and out of the mental health professions, is delighted with the changes.

For mental health counselors, therapists and others using DSM-5, remember that in terms of national exams such as the National Counselor Exam, exam items based on the new DSM may not appear for at least a year. Then these items will be in the experimental/developmental state while exam taker data is compiled about responses to these new items. My guess is that it will be two to three years before items based on the DSM-5 will be scored for you and impact your results. And, there may be only one or two DSM-5 related questions on the exam.