Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders
In the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the revised chapter of “Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders” includes substantive changes to the disorders grouped there plus changes to the criteria of certain conditions.
Substance Use Disorder
Substance use disorder in DSM-5 combines the DSM-IV categories of substance abuse and substance dependence into a single disorder measured on a continuum from mild to severe. Each specific substance (other than caffeine, which cannot be diagnosed as a substance use disorder) is addressed as a separate use disorder (e.g., alcohol use disorder, stimulant use disorder, etc.), but nearly all substances are diagnosed based on the same overarching criteria. In this overarching disorder, the criteria have not only been combined, but strengthened. Whereas a diagnosis of substance abuse previously required only one symptom, mild substance use disorder in DSM-5 requires two to three symptoms from a list of 11. Drug craving will be added to the list, and problems with law enforcement will be eliminated because of cultural considerations that make the criteria difficult to apply internationally.
In DSM-IV, the distinction between abuse and dependence was based on the concept of abuse as a mild or early phase and dependence as the more severe manifestation. In practice, the abuse criteria were sometimes quite severe. The revised substance use disorder, a single diagnosis, will better match the symptoms that patients experience.
Additionally, the diagnosis of dependence caused much confusion. Most people link dependence with “addiction” when in fact dependence can be a normal body response to a substance.
The chapter also includes gambling disorder as the sole condition in a new category on behavioral addictions. DSM-IV listed pathological gambling but in a different chapter. This new term and its location in the new manual reflect research findings that gambling disorder is similar to substance-related disorders in clinical expression, brain origin, comorbidity, physiology, and treatment.
Recognition of these commonalities will help people with gambling disorder get the treatment and services they need, and others may better understand the challenges that individuals face in overcoming this disorder.
While gambling disorder is the only addictive disorder included in DSM-5 as a diagnosable condition, Internet gaming disorder will be included in Section III of the manual. Disorders listed there require further research before their consideration as formal disorders. This condition is included to reflect the scientific literature on persistent and recurrent use of Internet games, and a preoccupation with them, can result in clinically significant impairment or distress. Much of this literature comes from studies in Asian countries. The condition criteria do not include general use of the Internet, gambling, or social media at this time.
Other Disorders of Interest
DSM-5 will not include caffeine use disorder, although research shows that as little as two to three cups
of coffee can trigger a withdrawal effect marked by tiredness or sleepiness. There is sufficient evidence
to support this as a condition, however it is not yet clear to what extent it is a clinically significant disorder.
To encourage further research on the impact of this condition, caffeine use disorder is included in
Section III of DSM-5.
DSM is the manual used by clinicians and researchers to diagnose and classify mental disorders. The American Psychiatric
Association (APA) will publish DSM-5 in 2013, culminating a 14-year revision process. For more information, go to www.DSM5.org.
APA is a national medical specialty society whose more than 36,000 physician members specialize in the diagnosis, treatment,
prevention and research of mental illnesses, including substance use disorders. Visit the APA at www.psychiatry.org
and www.healthyminds.org. For more information, please contact Eve Herold at 703-907-8640 or email@example.com.
© 2013 American Psychiatric Association