Call to Action to all public health activists and support groups.
This should be of concern to all public health groups. Many are not aware nor fully understand the magnitude of the changes being made by the Somatic Symptoms Disorder work group for the DSM-5. The DSM codifies psychiatric conditions and is used worldwide as a key guide for diagnosing disorders. As the criterion stands now, those with any medical illness will be at high risk of being labeled with a mental health disorder when they do not have one. This is also detrimental to those with a real need for mental health support. Those that do not need this particular care and treatment will be crowding the same waiting lists and taking up valuable time slots that others need.
In DSM-5 Somatic Symptoms Disorder, the requirement of eight symptoms is dropped to just one. And the requirement of 'medically unexplained' symptoms is replaced by much looser and more subjective 'excessive thoughts, behaviors and feelings' and the clinician's perception of "dysfunctional illness belief' or 'excessive preoccupation' with the bodily symptom.
There is already a high rate of misdiagnosed patients and as this stands now it will only compound the problem. One in six cancer and coronary disease patients met the criteria for DSM-5 'Somatic Symptom Disorder.' The changes to the SSD group as they now stand will have catastrophic repercussions. As many with this label have already discovered there are physicians that will not treat them, very little research available, and benefits from insurance and disability being withheld. Patients with this label are discouraged from seeking further information about this disorder and told they will not get better unless they accept the diagnosis.
"The patient, for their part may need to agree not to look at health information on the web or in books, and not seek other medical opinions. " -neurosymptoms.org (This is the official website by the Somatic Specialists given to patients by most doctors and is endorsed by the NHS and NIH.)
Please share this link and lend your support. Right now it seems to only be getting attention by those already with the diagnosis. However, the ones that stand to be effected most by this negligent codes are those with health ailments and concerns already.
Let all of our voices be heard.