Subgrouping the Autism ‘‘Spectrum’’: Reflections on DSM-5

Posted on: 18 Iulie, 2013

Trainig AITAMeng-Chuan Lai1,2*, Michael V. Lombardo1, Bhismadev Chakrabarti1,3, Simon Baron-Cohen1
1. Autism Research Centre, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2. Department of Psychiatry, National Taiwan University
Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, 3. School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics, University of Reading, Reading, United Kingdom
The biology of autism cannot yet be used diagnostically, and so—like most psychiatric conditions—autism is defined by behavior [Rett syndrome (Rett’s disorder) is diagnosed by incorporating biology, but it has been moved out of the ‘‘Autism Spectrum Disorder’’ category in DSM-5].
The two international psychiatric classification systems (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM] and the International Classification of
Diseases [ICD]) remain useful for making clinical diagnoses, but each time these classification systems are revised, the new definitions inevitably subtly change the
nature of how the conditions are construed. While acknowledging concerns about issues such as diagnostic inflation [1] and financial conflicts of interest [2],
DSM-5 is now ‘‘set in stone’’ and will be published in May 2013. Although this manual is primarily designed for creating a common language for clinical practice, it is
also often used in research settings to define the conditions to be studied. Here we reflect on what the revision may mean for research, and for understanding the nature of autism.



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