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article imageU.S. psychiatrists drop 'Asperger's disorder' from list

By Tim Sandle     Dec 4, 2012 in Health
The term “Asperger's disorder" has been dropped from the official manual used by the American Psychiatric Association, which has recently been published. This could have implications for the diagnosis of cases of autism.
The first major review of the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) guidance manual for twenty years has led to some changes in what will be the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. According to The Guardian the changes include removal of the term "Asperger's disorder" and the re-categorization of bad and frequent temper tantrums as “disruptive mood dysregulation disorder” (DMDD).
The Star notes that other additions include hoarding and binge eating; along with “disruptive mood dysregulation disorder,” characterized by persistent irritability in children and frequent episodes of behavior outbursts.
ABC News notes that the removal of “Asperger's disorder" is part of a review of autism. Asperger’s has been considered for several years as a special type of autism, applied to people who display high intelligence and vast knowledge on narrow subjects but lack social skills. People diagnosed with the condition were characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.
However, the view of the APA is that the category is without foundation and labeling people as such can lead to misdiagnosis. Instead the term “autism spectrum disorder" has been added.
The stated aim of the update is to ensure that affected children and adults are more accurately diagnosed. However, some people are opposed any change, fearing that children who lose the diagnosis will no longer be eligible for special services.
The manual is not only of importance for U.S psychiatric practitioners. It is used by the insurance industry for deciding what treatment it will pay out for. The manual is also used by schools, social and community services for the allocation of services.
More about Aspergers, Aspergers syndrome, Autism, Psychiatry
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