Experts Redefine Crazy, Include 'Binge-Eating'

And Asperger's joins the autistic spectrum

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 3, 2012 5:21 PM CST

(Newser) – The American Psychiatric Association wrapped up a 13-year edit of its highly influential book of mental disorders this weekend. Full details of the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—known as DSM—will emerge in May, but Time reports on the biggest changes:

  • Asperger's syndrome will lose its independent status and become part of the autistic spectrum. The controversy: Asperger's is less severe than autism, and parents fear the loss of diagnosis will mean children with Asperger's won't qualify for special services, reports CBS.

  • Binge-Eating Disorder will be labeled a full-blown illness. This will create a new market for professionals to treat the ailment and receive insurance reimbursement. It also raises the question of whether downing a pint of Haagen-Dazs is a sign of depression or a distinct disorder.
  • Bereavement can be considered depression. Skeptics have long complained that the APA's definition of depression is too expansive; now psychiatrists will be allowed to consider grief over a lost loved one as a form of depression.
  • Children who frequently flip out may have DMDD—disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. Critics say it's only normal for kids to have outbursts, but the APA contends that DMDD will help avoid over-diagnosis of bipolar disorder in children.
  • Not in the new DSM: sex addiction. Many APA members wanted it, but "there evidence just wasn't there," says an APA board member.
Click for two more DSM additions: skin-picking disorder and hoarding.

Binge-eating is now its own psychiatric disorder.
Binge-eating is now its own psychiatric disorder.   (Shutterstock)
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