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The DSM-IV had several different diagnoses for people who were distressed about their health (somatoform disorders). The DSM-V will have one. That seems like it might be good, but the criteria for diagnosing people with this condition might have been broadened to the point where the diagnosis might be misapplied.

"People can be diagnosed with Somatic Symptom Disorder if, for at least six months, they’ve had one or more symptoms that are distressing and/or disruptive to their daily life, and if they have one...of the following three reactions:

Criteria #1: disproportionate thoughts about the seriousness of their symptom(s);

Criteria #2: a high level of anxiety about their symptoms or health; or

Criteria #3: devoting excessive time and energy to their symptoms or health concerns.

Can you see how this diagnosis potentially includes everything from a stomach ache to cancer?
I'm of several minds about this.

Mind 1: I have chronic physical health issues and chronic mental health issues. When my mood disorder isn't well controlled, I absolutely fret about my health a lot more. So I think the state of mind they are describing is something real for some people.

Mind 2: But does the state of mind really need its own name and diagnosis? Can't they just include this as an aspect of mood disorders or obsessive disorders in general? Do anxiety or obsessive thoughts about your health require special treatments that are different from other anxiety and obsession treatments?

Mind 3: I'm concerned that this diagnosis will be used to deny people tests that could determine why they are having symptoms, or deny them treatments that would help them manage the symptoms of their chronic conditions. I'm concerned that it will be disproportionately applied to women and people of color.

More: http://dxrevisionwatch.com/2012/05/26/somatic-symptom-disorder-could-capture-millions-more-under-mental-health-diagnosis/
To meet requirements for Somatization Disorder (300.81) in DSM-IV, a considerably more rigorous criteria set needed to be fulfilled: a history of many medically unexplained symptoms before the age of thirty, resulting in treatment sought or psychosocial impairment. The diagnostic threshold was set high – a total of eight or more medically unexplained symptoms from four, specified symptom groups, with at least four pain and two gastrointestinal symptoms.

In DSM-5, the requirement for eight symptoms is dropped to just one.

This entry was originally posted at http://firecat.dreamwidth.org/797845.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments. I prefer that you comment on Dreamwidth, but it's also OK to comment here.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 17th, 2013 10:08 pm (UTC)
This is interesting; I'll definitely have to consult my friend who's a psychiatrist about it. Oh, and my psychiatrist, I guess.

Because it's definitely a thing; pre-tumor, I wasn't really all that depressed or anxious, even though I have a clinical diagnosis of depression and anxiety. But having my physical health deteriorate rapidly certainly triggered a depression, and it's good to recognize that as a thing. But I can also see the drawbacks to considering it an actual condition.
Jan. 18th, 2013 02:41 am (UTC)
Um. I have all three of those symptoms about my symptoms, and in discussions with my PCP, I *should quite reasonably* be having all three of those symptoms about my symptoms. Additionally, some of those symptoms are, in fact, symptoms of physiological conditions for which I am under treatment (or are side effects to the treatments for physiological conditions). None of which adds up to a diagnosis (in my case) for Somatic Symptom Disorder anywhere except on paper in the DSM.

Any chance of seeing you at Pcon this year?
Jan. 18th, 2013 10:59 am (UTC)
I'm glad your PCP isn't about to attach a useless-for-you diagnosis.

Which one is Pcon? I'm going to Fogcon and possibly
Wiscon this year.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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