The American Psychiatric Association Needs Your Input Now!
When we or a loved one seeks treatment for mental illness, the treating professional provides a diagnosis and treatment (hopefully!). The diagnosis comes from a very important manual known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM). This manual is periodically revised by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to reflect current research and knowledge.
From now until April 20th, the APA is soliciting public feedback for recommendations to the DSM. The current version is called DSM-IV; the new version will be called DSM-V. There is an interim version called DSM-IV-TR which has been in use since 2000. That version recognizes anosognosia as an important feature of schizophrenia and it is crucial that it be retained so that persons with severe mental illness who are unable to recognize their illness can still get treatment.
Let the APA know that the DSM-IV-TR already acknowledges anosognosia as a symptom manifesting in many people with severe mental illness. Since the research has demonstrated that anosognosia is present in 40-60% of persons with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, we are requesting that the APA retain the language currently embodied in the DSM-IV-TR version, including persons with bipolar disorder as follows from page 304, "A majority of individuals with Schizophrenia (and Bipolar Disorder) have poor insight regarding the fact that they have a psychotic illness. Evidence suggests that poor insight is a manifestation of the illness rather than a coping strategy. ..This symptom predisposes the individual to noncompliance with treatment and has been found to be predictive of higher relapse rates, increased number of involuntary hospital admissions, poorer psychological functioning, and a poorer course of illness."
Here's how YOU can make a difference! The following steps take a little time and effort but the pay-off is great.
- Log onto http://www.dsm5.org/Pages/Registration.aspx;
- Register (and remember your user name);
- Wait until you get an e-mail with your password;
- Go back to the DSM page and click on "Proposed Draft Revisions to DSM Disorders and Criteria";
- On the right hand side of the screen it will say "Participate". Type in user name and password;
- Click onto "Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders";
- The very last option will say "Schizophrenia";
- At the very bottom there will be a box entitled "My comments to the Proposed Revisions to Schizophrenia". Suggested wording: My brother/sister/son/daughter/partner/spouse has been diagnosed with schizophrenia/bipolar disorder. Lack of insight into the disease has kept him/her from accepting needed, life-supporting treatment. Since the research has demonstrated that anosognosia is present in 40-60% of persons with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, we are requesting that the APA retain anosognosia as a recognized symptom of schizophrenia, as well as bipolar disorder.
Thank you for taking the time to make a difference!