The current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), produced by the American Psychiatric Association, was published in July of 2000. It is now in the process of being updated, and the next edition, The DSM-5, is scheduled to be released in May, 2013. This manual is the main resource used by mental health professionals in identifying, diagnosing, and treating all mental health disorders.
One of the areas under consideration for revision is the categorization of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Currently classified under Anxiety Disorders, there are those who feel it should be included in a proposed OC-Spectrum Disorders category, and still others who think this OC-Spectrum Category should then become a subset of the Anxiety Disorders section. I’ve also read about the possibility of an Obsessive-Compulsive and Movement Related Disorders grouping.
It’s enough to make my head spin. As I read and research and struggle to understand the pros and cons of the various classification options, and how it will affect those with OCD, I have to admit I’m kind of lost. I know that where and how OCD is ultimately classified might change statistics (prevalence rates of the disorder, for example), and can even affect how the disorder is assessed and treated in some cases. But it doesn’t change OCD. It is what it is and my hope is that, no matter what the new manual says, psychiatrists and psychologists will pay more attention to the person they are treating than the manual they are referencing.
For specific information regarding possible changes to the classification of OCD, you can start with this American Psychiatric Association site, and if you are interested in commenting on the proposed changes, you can do that here. There’s also a great interview on mentalhelp.net with Gregory Murray, PhD., which touches on the history of the DSM and what it’s really all about.
From my viewpoint what it’s really all about is helping those with obsessive-compulsive disorder. How it ends up being classified in this new manual shouldn’t be nearly as important to health care providers as making sure they know and understand what OCD involves and the proper therapies for it.