Thursday, March 11, 2010

Proposed DSM update includes kiddie temper tantrums...

... or, as they call it, "explosive behavior and irritability":

Problems with the new diagnosis abound. There is no guarantee that clinicians will be any less likely to prescribe antipsychotics for this disorder than for bipolar disorder. Though the intention is to view this disorder as biologically based, the authors of the justification report acknowledge that evidence for the biological basis of any psychiatric disorder is “very preliminary.’’ Insurance companies may not cover treatments other than medication.

Allen Frances, chair of the DSM-IV Task Force and a harsh critic of DSM-V, refers to the diagnosis as “a misguided medicalization of temper outbursts.’’

He worries that the diagnosis would be very common in the general population and promote a large expansion in the use of antipsychotic medication. I agree that this is a risk. Aggression and temper tantrums are a healthy normal part of development. It would be wrong to label children exhibiting these behaviors with a disorder.

From the Boston Globe. Admittedly, I'm no expert, but it seems to me that kids who have temper tantrums, while annoying, are not crazy; certainly not as crazy as those proposing this change.

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