Monitor on Psychology - February 2012 - (Page 42)

populations or types of disorders, such as mood and anxiety disorders, neurocognitive disorders and children and adolescents. APA Board Member Nadine J. Kaslow, PhD, of Emory University School of Medicine, has been working with an international group of psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals to ensure that the ICD-11 gives more attention to interpersonal factors that may affect both mental and physical health. Kaslow cites as an example the difference between having a broken arm because your parents beat you up versus having one because you were playing soccer, fell down and hurt yourself. The same goes for mental health diagnoses. “Clearly, having information on relationship context can make a big difference in the types of interventions people consider for a particular problem,” says Kaslow. “And greater attention to relationship context has the potential to improve prevention as well as treatment efforts.” Making the ICD easier to use is another goal. That’s especially important since most people worldwide who need mental health treatment will never see a mental health professional, simply because specialists are not available. “The field is telling us that the classification should be simplified substantially,” says Reed. In the survey of psychiatrists, he points out, more than 85 percent thought there should be fewer than 100 diagnostic categories. The personality disorders section is one that’s likely to be simplified, says Reed, explaining that the ICD-10 includes many separate types of personality disorders. The psychologists and other members of the working group tackling this section believe that what’s most helpful in determining treatment is not the specific kind of disorder an individual has but how severe that disorder is. As a result, the working group proposes to restructure the section to emphasize severity, with information on subtypes available if users want it. The new version will also draw on research about how clinicians conceptualize mental disorders in hopes of creating a more intuitive classification system. Two large studies by WHO have found what Reed calls “an astonishing level of consistency” in the way clinicians around the world mentally organize mental disorders. And the way they conceptualize disorders isn’t the same way existing classification systems do, he adds. Protesting proposed changes to the DSM hen President David N. Elkins, PhD, and two colleagues within APA’s Div. 32 (Society for Humanistic Psychology) heard about the proposed revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), they were alarmed. But what could three people do? Plenty, as it turns out. Although their original aim was simply to educate the division’s members, Elkins, Secretary Brent Dean Robbins, PhD, and student representative Sara R. Kamens soon decided to share their concerns in an open letter to the American Psychiatric Association. Thinking it would pack more punch with a few more signatures, they posted it online (see www. last October. The response astounded them. “Within two days, we had more than 1,500 signatures,” says Elkins. So far, more than 10,000 individuals and 40 mental health organizations have W signed on, and media outlets as diverse as Nature, USA Today and Forbes have covered the controversy. APA, which has no official position on the controversy, urges its members to get involved in the debate (see APA’s statement in the January Monitor, page 10). The open letter outlines three major concerns with the proposed draft of the DSM-5, set for publication in 2013: • Lowering of diagnostic thresholds. The draft proposal expands the potential pool of people with some disorders, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. “There’s already a great deal of concern that children are being misdiagnosed,” says Elkins. “With a lowered diagnostic threshold, we fear that thousands more kids will be misdiagnosed and treated with Ritalin or other drugs.” • Introduction of new disorders. The proposal also introduces several new disorders that protesters fear may increase risks for certain vulnerable populations, such as 42 M o n i t o r o n p s y c h o l o g y • F e b ru a ry 2 0 1 2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Monitor on Psychology - February 2012

Monitor on Psychology - February 2012
President’s column
From the CEO
APA files two briefs in support of same-sex couples
New registry seeks to understand addiction recovery through ‘crowdsourcing’
APA launches a database of tests and measures
Watch for new member benefit: “APA Access”
Apply now for APA’s Advanced Training Institutes
PsycTHERAPY, APA’s new database, brings therapy demos to life
In Brief
APA scientists help guide tobacco regulation
A-mazing research
‘A machine for jumping to conclusions’
Judicial Notebook
Random Sample
Righting the imbalance
The beginnings of mental illness
Science Directions
Improving disorder classification, worldwide
Protesting proposed changes to the DSM
Interventions for at-risk students
Harnessing the wisdom of the ages
Anti-bullying efforts ramp up
Hostile hallways
R U friends 4 real?
Support for teachers
Speaking of Education
Record keeping for practitioners
Going green
At the intersection of law and psychology
Division Spotlight
Grants help solve society’s problems

Monitor on Psychology - February 2012