The next generation of mental disorders? Washington Post

Children who throw too many tantrums could be diagnosed with “temper dysregulation with dysphoria.” Teenagers who are particularly eccentric might be candidates for treatment for “psychosis risk syndrome”.

Supporters argue that the revisions would make diagnoses more accurate, creating more useful and precise definitions and sometimes reducing the number of psychiatric labels. For example, “autistic disorder” and “Asperger’s disorder” would be replaced with a new, single category called “autism spectrum disorders.” Critics, however, fear the new diagnoses could unnecessarily stigmatize many people and lead to the unnecessary use of psychiatric medications that can sometimes produce serious side effects.

“By massively pathologizing people under these categories, you tend to put them on an automatic path to medication, even if they are experiencing normal distress,” said Jerome C. Wakefield, a professor of social work and psychiatry at New York University.


Others expressed concern about the proposals to create new conditions such as “temper dysregulation with dysphoria,” or TDD. Supporters say it is intended to counter a huge increase in the number children being treated for bipolar disorder by creating a more specific diagnosis, though critics argued that it would only compound the problem of overtreatment.

“They are close to treating the children like guinea pigs. I think that’s appalling and outrageous,” said Christopher Lane, author of “Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness.” “The APA should be moving to prevent such controversial practices, not encouraging them, as it is doing here.”