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US Autism & Asperger Association
January 20, 2012

Welcome to USAAA WeeklyNews, an email newsletter that addresses a range of topics on Autism Spectrum Disorders including Asperger's Syndrome.


"In 1995, my son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS, then a year later diagnosed with autism. He will need extensive 24 hour care for the rest of his adult life. Does this mean that kids diagnosed with PDD-NOS will not receive any services. That's what they are proposing for the new DSM-5."

VOICE YOUR CONCERNS NOW AND CALL the American Psychiatric Association at 888.357.7924.

Contact the DSM-5 Task Force Chairs:
David J. Kupfer, M.D., DSM-5 Task Force Chair
Darrel A. Regier, M.D., M.P.H., DSM-5 Task Force Vice-Chair

DSM-5 The Future Manual

New Definition of Autism Will Exclude Many, Study Suggests

By BENEDICT CAREY
New York Times
Published January 19, 2012

autism_change_definitionProposed changes in the definition of autism would sharply reduce the skyrocketing rate at which the disorder is diagnosed and might make it harder for many people who would no longer meet the criteria to get health, educational and social services, a new analysis suggests.

The proposed change would consolidate all three diagnoses under one category, autism spectrum disorder, eliminating Asperger syndrome and P.D.D.-N.O.S. from the manual.

The definition is now being reassessed by an expert panel appointed by the American Psychiatric Association, which is completing work on the fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the first major revision in 17 years. The D.S.M., as the manual is known, is the standard reference for mental disorders, driving research, treatment and insurance decisions. Most experts expect that the new manual will narrow the criteria for autism; the question is how sharply.

"If clinicians say, 'These kids don't fit the criteria for an autism spectrum diagnosis,' they are not going to get the supports and services they need, and they're going to experience failure."

The results of the new analysis are preliminary, but they offer the most drastic estimate of how tightening the criteria for autism could affect the rate of diagnosis. For years, many experts have privately contended that the vagueness of the current criteria for autism and related disorders like Asperger syndrome was contributing to the increase in the rate of diagnoses - which has ballooned to one child in 100, according to some estimates.

"Dr. Lord said that the 1993 [Yale] study numbers are probably exaggerated because the research team relied on old data, collected by doctors who were not aware of what kinds of behaviors the proposed definition requires. Dr. Volkmar acknowledged as much, but...

FULL STORY

DSM-5 The Future Manual

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Talk Doesn't Pay, So Psychiatry Turns Instead to Drug Therapy

By GARDINER HARRIS
New York Times
Published: March 5, 2011

psychiatristDOYLESTOWN, Pa. - Alone with his psychiatrist, the patient confided that his newborn had serious health problems, his distraught wife was screaming at him and he had started drinking again. With his life and second marriage falling apart, the man said he needed help.

But the psychiatrist, Dr. Donald Levin, stopped him and said: "Hold it. I'm not your therapist. I could adjust your medications, but I don't think that's appropriate."

Now, like many of his peers, he treats 1,200 people in mostly 15-minute visits for prescription adjustments that are sometimes months apart. Then, he knew his patients' inner lives better than he knew his wife's; now, he often cannot remember their names. Then, his goal was to help his patients become happy and fulfilled; now, it is just to keep them functional.

Like many of the nation's 48,000 psychiatrists, Dr. Levin, in large part because of changes in how much insurance will pay, no longer provides talk therapy, the form of psychiatry popularized by Sigmund Freud that dominated the profession for decades. Instead, he prescribes medication, usually after a brief consultation with each patient. So Dr. Levin sent the man away with a referral to a less costly therapist and a personal crisis unexplored and unresolved.

FULL STORY

To leave comments, go to our Blog.


Psychiatric Group Faces Scrutiny Over Drug Industry Ties

By BENEDICT CAREY and GARDINER HARRIS
New York Times
Published: July 12, 2008

It seemed an ideal marriage, a scientific partnership that would attack mental illness from all sides. Psychiatrists would bring to the union their expertise and clinical experience, drug makers would provide their products and the money to run rigorous studies, and patients would get better medications, faster.

But now the profession itself is under attack in Congress, accused of allowing this relationship to become too cozy.

After a series of stinging investigations of individual doctors' arrangements with drug makers, Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, is demanding that the American Psychiatric Association, the field's premier professional organization, give an accounting of its financing.

After a series of stinging investigations of individual doctors' arrangements with drug makers, Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, is demanding that the American Psychiatric Association, the field's premier professional organization, give an accounting of its financing.

FULL STORY

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