Like it or not, the long-awaited DSM-V arrived today. Although there has been much criticism and controversy surrounding its changes, I’d like to point out some of the potential benefits.
Why do we need the DSM anyway? Three main reasons: to communicate information, to bill insurance, and to provide standardized criteria for research purposes. So when looking at each change, we might consider the following questions: Is this particular change going to help me diagnose someone properly? Pick up something I might otherwise miss? Avoid a wrong diagnosis that might lead to unnecessary or the wrong type of medication? Provide better or more appropriate services? Communicate or advocate with insurance companies? Provide more accurate information for research trials? Promote research needed for environmental influences on mental health?
I’ve read the criticisms of the DSM-V and agree with some of the concerns. Additionally, as I’ve written previously, I believe the newly added Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder is actually dysregulation due to overstimulation and hyperarousal from electronic screen devices. Aside from that, however, I was curious to review the summary of changes and was surprised by how helpful I thought they might actually be. This is not an overview of that summary (which you can read here), but instead is a list of what I—as a clinician—thought might be prove beneficial.
 For a summary of legitimate DSM concerns, see Dr. Allen Frances’ blog here: DSM-V in Distress