BMJ Group - New condition that may lead to “inappropriate medical decision making” warns expert. The new somatic symptom disorder in DSM-5 risks mislabeling many people as mentally ill

Millions of people could be mislabeled as mentally ill when psychiatry's bible of diagnoses is updated in May, warns a senior doctor in this week’s BMJ.

The next edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) – used around the world to classify mental disorders - will include a new category of somatic symptom disorder.

But Allen Frances, Chair of the current (DSM-IV) task force warns that the DSM-5 definition of somatic symptom disorder “may result in inappropriate diagnoses of mental disorder and inappropriate medical decision making.”

The new category will extend the scope of mental disorder classification by eliminating the requirement that somatic symptoms must be “medically unexplained” he explains. In DSM-5, the focus shifts to “excessive” responses to distressing, chronic, somatic symptoms with associated “dysfunctional thoughts, feelings, or behaviours.”  Read more...