Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The New Crazy

One of the most valuable tools available to those who treat mental illness is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, commonly known as the DSM. The DSM, which is used by doctors, insurance companies, and other mental health professionals, describes and provides numerical codes for all the ways the human mind can go off the rails. It defines more than 300 recognized mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and fetishism. It's quite a book.

This article discusses some of the economics and politics that surround the latest revision of the DSM, and is very interesting. From the economic perspective, a mental disorder must be listed in the DSM and have its own code in order to have its treatment reimbursed by insurance companies, and the National Institutes of Health require DSM codes in order to pay out research grants for the development of treatments. There are also political issues involved, as mental health professionals seek to have new types of disorders documented so that educational and social services will be provided for sufferers of those disorders.

The DSM has been revised several times since its introduction in 1952, and each edition has incorporated new disorders and adjusted the discussion of existing ones. The newest edition of the DSM - DSM-V, due out next year, will include excoriation (skin-picking) and hoarding as recognized mental illnesses, but will not include hypersexual disorder (also known as sex addiction). Go figure.

What other mental disorders won't be included in DSM-V? How about ...

Fiscal Reality Denial - a severe mental disorder common to extreme conservatives, characterized by the delusion that reducing taxes on the wealthy is the best way to assist the poor.

Electronic Communication Addiction - a condition in which sufferers are unable to communicate without the aid of cell phones or text messaging, even with other individuals sitting across a table or at opposite ends of a sofa.

Exertion Avoidance - a mild form of mental illness which manifests itself in a willingness to wait 10 minutes in a running car in order to get a parking place as close as possible to one's destination, rather than parking a short distance further away and walking a bit longer.

So ...

What mental disorders do you think were inadvertently omitted from the new DSM? Leave a comment.

Because it would be interesting to learn whether I'm certifiably crazy or just eccentric.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


1 comment:

Mike said...

Forgetfulness disorder - A tendency to...... Wait, it's a .... No it's when.....