THE DSM-5 Made Easy To Understand



  • It’s often referred to as the psychiatrist’s bible.
  • DSM stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
  • It covers all mental health disorders for both children and adults.
  • It lists known causes of these disorders, statistics in terms of gender, age at onset, and prognosis as well as some research concerning the optimal treatment approaches. Ref1D
  • The last revision (DSM IV) was in 1994
  • It is 947 pages and costs $199 Ref 1G
  • Mental Health Professionals use this manual when working with patients in order to better understand their illness, potential treatment, and help insurance companies 1H
  • American Psychiatric Association & National Institute of Mental Health started talking about the 5th version in 1999
  • DSM-V was released during the APA’s 2013 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA in May of 2013


  • Asperger’s, PDD, CID will result in a diagnosis of Autism RefA
  • The parameters of how depression is defined after a love one passes away RefB
  • Criteria for diagnosing schizophrenia, bipolar disorder,DID and Depressive disorders has changed and some argue they are not for the better Ref2
  • Temper tantrums will be known as Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder Ref2
  • Worrying about medical illness will be known as somatic symptom disorder
  • Binge Eating Disorder is now a disordered behavior Ref3
  • Skin picking will now be classified as OCD RefC
  • Childhood bipolar disorder will be called disruptive mood dysregulation
  • Hoarding is now a disorder
  • More attention to behavioral symptoms will be added to PTSD
  • Specific Learning Disorders is broadened RefC1
  • Substance Abuse now requires 2-3 symptoms rather than one before
  • Some disorders will no longer be included as mental disorders RefC2
  • For more information on the development, changes, things that will stay the same, updates, and concerns, see APA


  • Changes in how the mentally ill are diagnosed will affect their chances of getting help financially Ref4
  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) argued that the changes clumped too many things together that some argue is too broad
  • The NIMH argued that the DSM-5 lacked validity
  • Some considered who have “normal problems” will now resent that they have a “mental problem”
  • It is over-treating those who are well and neglecting people with serious illnesses resulting in many criminals who haven’t received the proper care for their mental disorder, notes Dr. Allen Frances.
  • It will convert millions of “normal” patients into “mental”patients Ref6
  • It does not include the more diagnostic tests including scans that better aid them in diagnosing their patients. (This had been the hopes of several psychiatrists.)mentioned Dr. James Murrough
  • Clinicians think it poorly reflects the clinical realities of their patients. Ref7
  • Increasing the number of people who qualify for a diagnosis may lead to prescribing more meds and an increase in stigma. “The lowering of diagnostic thresholds poses the epidemiological risk of triggering false-positive epidemics.” Ref8
  • Several concerns are voiced in a petition regarding DSM-5
  • Specific Learning Disorders broadens the criteria which some say will interfere with academic skills


  • Insurers, patients and their families should be confident that there will be effective treatments & DSM-5 will be the resource for giving the best available care Note: NIMH has not changed it’s overall position, however. RefC
  • Marla W Deibler states in her article several reasons why she thinks the DSM-5 will benefit patients why The DSM-5 Is Not Crazy
  • For more potential benefits visit Open Letter to DSM-5
  • Medical Professionals,Patients, and their families will better understand things and possibly get the right diagnosis and hopefully the correct treatment plan.


  • If you have never been diagnosed with a mental disorder, some of your behaviors that were usually just concerned “normal” behavior might now be concerned as a mental illness.
  • You or a loved one may start taking a medication that is not necessary.
  • If you have previously diagnosed with a mental illness, the name and treatment for it may change.
  • If you are a medical professional, you will be forced to learn all the new classifications of mental illnesses and problems that always seemed normal that are now considered a mental illness
  • If you are recently diagnosed with a mental illness that you didn’t know anything about before because it is a new term in the DSM-5, you may be stigmatized.
  • If you have always been able to get your medications for a mental illness easily either through your insurance, medicare, or medicaid, they may not be covered anymore as your diagnosis may change due to new rules of the DSM-5
  • If you are a creator of the DSM-5, you will be criticized at the changes that have been made.
  • If you are an advocate, it might become harder to help others for various, possibly unknown problems you know nothing about yet.
  • If you are an employer and find out that one of your employees has a mental illness, will you find a reason to fire them?
  • If you are a friend or loved one who is suddenly told that someone they care about is now mentally ill, what will you do? Will you change their opinion of them? Will you be supportive? Will you educate yourself about their new illness? Will you let stigma change the relationship you have with them?
  • MY OPINION ON THE DSM-5 (I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 25 yrs ago.)
  • It is here and chances are it is here to stay. Therefore, I really can’t do much about it. I just have to hope that my doctor does not change my diagnosis. I have no problem being called someone with bipolar disorder so there is no issue there.
  • Although there is a controversy and some psychiatrists are refusing to use it, DSM-5 will become the norm eventually. As we learn more about the problems/symptoms/treatments/medications involving mental disorders this is progress. Progress is a good thing. Although some disagree, it all has set a spotlight on some good things that have happened in the psychiatric field, the advances, and overall more understanding of doctors and their patients. If the DSM did not change to reflect the advances (agreeable or not), then there would be something wrong.
  • I think it is sad that people who overeat are now being referred to as a mental patient and they think it is wrong because now they are “mentally ill” shows not only ignorance on their part and how stigma is still running rampant.
  • Some things like temper tantrums now being labeled as a mental illness takes it too far. Kids have been having temper tantrums for years with no diagnosis or medication needed
  • Too many diagnoses are being treated by medications when it might be more helpful or at least equal to changing their exercise, talking it out, eating foods that are not processed, taking vitamins, and/or needing more sleep. Some of the over diagnosed and treated with medications can do more harm than good, especially in younger age. It is sad that doctors are so quick to hand out medications because they are not educated enough in medical school about nutrition and vitamins, the pharmaceutical companies are offering kick-backs for the doctors prescribing certain medications when they really shouldn’t be. 
  • Change needs to happen in most things in life and often is resisted by many. However, if we give it all a chance,  it could help not hurt the psychiatric field.

I have researched and used several sources to write this blog entry. I have given credit to where I found the  information. Sometimes, although I have referenced an article, it may not be an exact quote. If I have not cited where I found the information, it is what I learned from several sources or by mistake omitted the article. This was not my intent. If you believe I have not given you credit for something I should have, please write to me at

About Michelle Clark Bipolar Bandit

I am a strong advocate for the mentally ill and have been since I was first approached by a lawyer in a psychiatric facility as a teenager. He wanted me to help him fight how the mentally ill are mistreated. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 17 after a full blown manic episode. Before that, I suffered from debilitating depression for 4 years. My goals are to help others by sharing my story and providing tips to deal with mania and depression. I often write blogs related to advocating for people like myself. I want to encourage, inspire, and educate those with #bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses and also include inspirational #quotes. I founded the group Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses and the page Mental Health Advocates United and have several social media sites that are related to bipolar disorder and/or advocacy. If you are an advocate or would like to be, I hope you join our FB group: Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to THE DSM-5 Made Easy To Understand

  1. Pingback: Deibler InsuranceLifeAct | LifeAct

  2. Michelle Jackson says:

    Tank you for sharing this information with us. I was wondering about the Text Revisions that was referenced by clinicians. This will help me do a better job advocation and providing Peer Suppport.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s