The problem with the DSM-5 is they have added a new diagnostic category called “Somatic Symptom Disorder.” According to the diagnostic criteria, a person can be diagnosed with Somatic Symptom Disorder (SSD) if for at least six months, they have had one or more symptoms that are distressing and/or disruptive to their daily life, and they have one of the following reactions:
- Disproportionate thoughts about the seriousness of their symptom(s).
- A high level of anxiety about their symptoms or health.
- Devoting excessive time and energy to their symptoms or health concerns.
What You Can Do
Since the DSM-5 is so close to being released, the options we have to try to stop the inclusion of SSD are very limited. Our best hope is through Allen Frances, MD, who was the chair of the DSM-4 Task Force. He has written an excellent article in Psychology Today on the dangers of adding SSD to the DSM-5: Mislabeling Medical Illness As Mental Disorder. I encourage you to click on the link to his article and make a brief comment supporting his stand. The more page views and comments he has, the better his chance of persuading the editors of the DSM-5 to make a last-minute change.