University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine faculty member David Kupfer, MD (pictured), the Thomas Detre Professor and Chair in the Department of Psychiatry, is chair of a national team charged with drafting the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a periodically updated compendium of psychological conditions for professional reference.
The DSM is an American handbook for mental health professionals. It lists different categories of mental disorders and the criteria for diagnosing them, according to the publishing organization the American Psychiatric Association (APA). It is used worldwide by clinicians and researchers as well as insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and policy makers.
With its update comes much debate. Some psychiatric conditions, in particular, tend to be a target of widespread controversy. But not all medical experts believe many of these disorders should be dismissed so readily by the public.
“Individuals should not think these disorders are trivial,” says Dr. Kupfer. “They are real. By having them in the DSM, hopefully it makes the stigma less.”
The following are just a few of the many controversial diagnoses in the medical literature today:
-Intermittent Explosive Disorder
-Sibling Rivalry Disorder
-Oppositional Defiant Disorder
-Dissociative Fugue State
-Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
-Multiple Personality Disorder
-Social Anxiety Disorder
The APA recently announced the members of the work groups who will review scientific advances and research-based information to develop the fifth edition of its DSM-V. The work group members are composed of more than 120 world-renowned scientific researchers and clinicians with expertise in neuroscience, biology, genetics, statistics, epidemiology, public health, nursing, pediatrics, and social work. DSM-V is scheduled to be published in 2012.
“A wealth of new research has emerged since 1994, when the current diagnostic criteria were established in DSM-IV,” explained Dr. Kupfer, chair of the DSM-V Task Force. “The work group members will examine the extent to which this new research warrants modifying the current organization of disorders, descriptions of disorders, and the criteria for diagnosis.”
Dr. Kupfer acts is also director of research at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic where he oversees investigations for the department’s 200-member faculty. For much of his career, Dr. Kupfer’s research has focused on the conceptualization, diagnosis, and treatment of mood disorders. Towards that end, Dr. Kupfer has been an advocate of collaboration between clinical investigators in psychiatry and the basic neurosciences. Past research studies have concentrated on sleep disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, depression, and insomnia.
Illustration: University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
ABC News (05/27/08)
American Psychiatric Association News Release (05/01/08)
American Psychiatric Association, DSM-V: The Future Manual