10 Exciting New Additions to the DSM-5

After nearly 20 years with the increasingly outdated DSM-IV, mental health professionals around the country rejoiced last year when the American Psychiatric Association released its updated Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, or the much- anticipated DSM-5. This mammoth text strives to outline each and every mental disorder diagnosable in individuals around the world, and because medical discoveries have blossomed in the intervening two decades since its predecessor, the DSM-5 includes plenty of fascinating new disorders for mental health professionals to review and identify in their patients. Here are 10 of the most intriguing new inclusions in the DSM-5.

Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder

The entry on autism was expanded dramatically in the DSM-5, but until social (pragmatic) communication disorder, psychiatrists lacked a diagnosis for speech and written language programs outside of the autism spectrum. This disorder is linked mostly to issues in communication and can impact academic and career performance.

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

This disorder can only be diagnosed in children under 18, and its symptoms are similar to a child’s temper tantrums, though a child with DMDD may act out more violently and more frequently. Dismissing children with this disorder leads to incorrect diagnosis or even lack of treatment, allowing irregular development in the child and stress on the family.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

This disorder is another in the line of menstrual cycle–related disorders afflicting between 2 to 5 percent of women around the world. Depression and feelings of hopelessness are the most harmful symptoms of PMDD, but women with this disorder also experience more intense symptoms of regular menstruation, like bloating and cramps.

In the past, there were significantly more mental afflictions associated with women’s menstrual cycle, but as understanding of female anatomy improved, disorders like “female hysteria” have fallen out of medical favor. Unfortunately, very real disorders related to the menstrual cycle, like PMS and PMDD, are still used to discriminate against women in the workplace.

Hoarding Disorder

With various popular television shows shining a spotlight on this particular mental disease, it’s not particularly surprising that it has a sizable entry in the DSM-5. This disorder is marked by an individual’s reluctance or inability to part with possessions for a plethora of reasons. On television, “experts” try to help those afflicted with hoarding disorder by clearing out all evidence of the disease with trash bags and dumpsters, but now that the disorder has been thoroughly studied, psychiatrists can treat the affliction at its root with proper treatment and medication.

Caffeine Withdrawal

It’s official: Caffeine is a drug, and when regular users are parted from their drug, they experience certifiable withdrawal symptoms. Whether or not this is a positive development for regular coffee drinkers is up for debate. Minor withdrawal can be diagnosed through headaches, difficulty sleeping, and general moodiness after a certain amount of time away from the drug, but many physicians warn that these symptoms could also be caused by a more serious underlying condition as well.

Cannabis Withdrawal

As Washington and Colorado herald the legalization of marijuana and 23 states allow the sale of medical marijuana, studies of the effects of cannabis are reaching new heights. One study noted that 40 percent of regular cannabis users experienced withdrawal symptoms like loss of appetite, nightmares, and intense cravings that impacted their ability to function in day-to-day life.

Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behavior Disorder

This disorder could easily be confused with common sleepwalking, though its symptoms are actually much more dangerous. Often episodes of REM sleep behavior disorder involve acting out a dream in real life, which usually brings harm to the afflicted individual and anyone else in the room with him or her. Treatment for this disease includes sleep therapies in addition to making the bedroom safe — removing sharp or hazardous items and providing cushioning for falls or trips.

Major Neurocognitive Disorder With Lewy Body Disease and Mild Neurocognitive Disorder

This particular disease seems complicated, but really it is a clarification of the umbrella term “dementia” diagnosed almost haphazardly in elderly adults with mental disorders. Now psychiatrists have a standard with which they can judge the severity of a senior’s neurocognitive disorder, and thus they can more effectively prescribe treatments and medications for mild sufferers or major sufferers.

Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder

This affliction is another disease associated with child behavior. Perhaps easily confused with symptoms of attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), the symptoms of DSED — including inattentiveness and impulsiveness — actually stem from improper caregiving and neglect.

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