BPS raises concerns regarding DSM-V

BPS on Twitter

This week @BPSOfficial Tweeted (www.twitter.com#!/BPSOfficial) a link to a discussion about their concerns, raised as part of a consultation process, regarding the latest edition of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual for the classification and diagnosis of mental disorders; otherwise known as the DSM-V.

On the news section of the BPS site they have posted (20/06/2012) a comprehensive snippet of their response (there is also a link to the full response).  In the comment they summarise their concerns regarding the way some disorders are categorised; citing issues such the inclusion of categories that are too broad and the impact of low inter-rater reliability on diagnosis.


You can get an insight into the process involved in developing the DSM-V by following this link:


There is an interesting section on this site where the main changes are outlined. One change includes a footnote warning clinicians to distinguish between “normal bereavement” where the loss is significant and Major Depressive Disorder, to prevent misdiagnosis where the bereavement response lasts more than 2 months. Also relevant to the AQA A spec, is a comment about concerns surrounding the proposed inclusion of a Mixed Anxiety Depressive Disorder which will now appear in a section suggesting that further study is required.

AQA A Unit 4: Section A – Psychopathology

As part of Unit 4 under the AQA A spec, students are required to learn about…

“Issues surrounding the classification and diagnosis of their chosen disorder, including reliability and validity” (www.aqa.org.uk) in relation to either schizophrenia, depression, phobic disorders or OCD.

Textbooks inevitably cannot keep up with on-going developments and so it is vital to complement their content with up to date knowledge. In my opinion, student’s written AO2 will be better informed and more likely to be well reasoned if it is based on what is current and therefore relevant.

Creating a learning resource

This is a great opportunity to keep students learning topical and relevant. Ask students to read the comment from the BPS on their site and discuss why the BPS might have these concerns.  Students could be asked for example:

  • What is meant by the term inter-rater reliability?
  • Why is the BPS concerned about what they call “catch all” categories?
  • Will the DSM ever get to a point where it is the final version?
  • The DSM-V will include a “Cultural Formulation Interview” to enable clinicians to assess cultural of the diagnosis they are making. Why is this necessary?

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