Rapid Responses to BMJ DSM-5 ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’ opposition piece

Rapid Responses to Allen Frances’ BMJ opposition piece on DSM-5‘s ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’

Post #230 Shortlink: http://wp.me/pKrrB-2HN

Update March 28: Currently 27 BMJ Rapid Responses have been published. BMJ has also launched a Poll asking readers to vote on: “Will the new DSM-5 lead to patients being mislabelled as mentally ill?” Vote on this page

Update March 26: a tautology that serves no useful purpose… 1 Boring Old man on SSD

On March 20, BMJ published a commentary on the DSM-5 ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’ by Allen Frances, MD, with contribution from Dx Revision Watch, strongly opposing the inclusion of this new, poorly tested disorder in the forthcoming DSM-5, scheduled for publication on May 22.

Dr Frances is professor emeritus, Duke, and had chaired of the Task Force for DSM-IV.

Article here:

PERSONAL VIEW

The new somatic symptom disorder in DSM-5 risks mislabeling many people as mentally ill

This new condition suggested in the bible of mental health diagnoses lacks specificity, says Allen Frances

The opinion piece is also featured in this week’s “Editor’s Choice”:

Editor’s Choice
US Editor’s Choice

DSM-5 and the rough ride from approval to publication

Edward Davies, US news and features editor, BMJ

Rapid Responses to the BMJ article can be read here:

http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f1580?tab=responses

24 Rapid Responses have been published. I am publishing both my submissions, below:

Suzy Chapman
Patient advocate

27 March 2013

What evidence for safety of application of SSD in children?

Extracts from Somatic Symptom Disorders Work Group ‘Disorders Description’ document, published May 2011, for the second DSM-5 stakeholder review [1]:

“The presentation of these symptoms may vary across the lifespan. A corroborative historian with a life course perspective may provide important information for both the elderly and for children.”

“PFAMC [Psychological Factors Affecting Medical Condition]* can occur across the lifespan. Particularly with young children, corroborative history from parents or school can assist the diagnostic evaluation.”

“In the elderly somatic symptoms and comorbid medical illnesses are more common, and thus a focus on criteria B becomes more important. In the young child, the ‘B criteria’ may be principally expressed by the parent.”

It appears, then, that the ‘B type’ Somatic Symptom Disorder (SSD) criteria are intended for application where the parent(s) of a child with chronic somatic symptoms are perceived to be expressing ‘excessive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors,’ or ‘disproportionate and persistent concerns,’ or ‘maladaptive’ coping strategies; or considered to be devoting ‘excessive time and energy’ to [a child’s] symptoms or health concerns or demonstrating ‘dysfunctional and maladaptive beliefs’ about symptoms or disease.

There is no evidence that SSD or PFAMC have been field tested by APA or by any other group for safety and reliability of application in children and young people.

If the finalized criteria sets and texts for this section allow for the application of a diagnosis of Somatic Symptom Disorder where a parent is considered to be excessively concerned with a child’s symptoms, families caring for children with any chronic disease or condition may be placed at risk of wrongful accusation of ‘over-involvement’ with a child’s symptomatology.

Where a parent is perceived as enabling ‘maintenance of sick role behaviour’ in a child or young person this can provoke a devastating cascade of intervention: placement or threat of placement on the ‘at risk register’; social services and child protection investigation; in some cases, court intervention for removal of a sick child out of the home environment and into foster care or for enforced in-patient rehabilitation against the wishes of the family.

This is already happening in the UK, USA and currently in Denmark, in families with a child or young person with chronic illness or disability, notably with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or ME. It may happen more frequently in families where a diagnosis of chronic childhood illness + SSD has been applied.

This section of DSM-5, seemingly overlooked by clinicians in the field, both within and outside psychiatry and psychosomatics and by medico-legal and disability specialists demands urgent scrutiny and investigation.

*Note: In DSM-IV-TR, PFAMC is located in the Appendix under ‘Other Conditions That May Be a Focus of Clinical Attention.’ For DSM-5, PFAMC is being relocated to the mental disorders classifications and coded under the new section ‘Somatic Symptoms and Related Disorders’ that replaces DSM-IV-TR’s ‘Somatoform Disorders.’

References:

1 Somatic Symptom Disorders Work Group ‘Disorders Description’ document, second stakeholder review, May 2011
Competing interests: I reviewed and provided comment and suggestions for this BMJ commentary by Allen Frances, MD. I run a website that archives and reports on DSM-5 and ICD-11 activities.

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Suzy Chapman
Patient advocate

26 March 2013

Dichotomy

I am puzzled by the disconnect between the cautiousness expressed within this 2011 article by Dr Dimsdale [1] and his work group’s barrelling through with a new construct, which James Phillips notes [2] lacks a high level of empirical support.

Dr Dimsdale is evidently aware of the perils of over diagnosing mental illness and identifies inter alia that a number of factors influence the accuracy of diagnoses: that one must consider how thorough was the physician’s evaluation; how adequate the physician’s knowledge base in synthesizing the information obtained from the history and physical examination; that time pressures in primary care make it difficult to comprehensively evaluate patients and thus contribute to delays and slips in diagnosis; that physicians can wear blinders or have tunnel vision in evaluating patients – that just because a patient has previously had MUS [Medically Unexplained Symptoms] that there is no guarantee that the patient has yet another MUS; that diagnoses are shaped by the state of medical knowledge at the time when the patient is evaluated; that new diseases are constantly arising; that aetiologies are eventually established for diseases that have previously not been well understood.

Yet the group is proposing to operationalize an entirely new disorder of its own devising, using highly subjective criteria for which no significant body of research into reliability, validity and safety has been published, that will capture adults, children, adolescents and elderly people with diverse illnesses.

Whilst it was welcomed that for the third iteration, the chronicity criteria of “greater than one month” was removed with the merging of SSSD [Simple Somatic Symptom Disorder] with CSSD  [Complex Somatic Symptom Disorder], it is of considerable concern that in order to accommodate SSSD within the CSSD criteria, the “B type” threshold has been reduced from “at least two” to “at least one,” thereby potentially increasing prevalence.

It is also of considerable concern that no data on prevalence estimates were available for the second and third draft review and no data on impact of different thresholds for the “B type” criteria.

In light of the field trial findings, it is also of concern that the SSD work group has yet to publish any projections for prevalence estimates and the potential increase in mental health diagnoses across the entire disease landscape, nor on the projected clinical and economic burden of providing CBT and similar therapies for patients for whom an additional diagnosis of Somatic Symptom Disorder is assigned.

Given the majority of mental health disorders are diagnosed and treated within primary care and non-psychiatric settings, it is remarkable that the Task Force failed to recruit any general practitioners or clinicians outside the field of psychiatry and psychosomatics to serve on this work group, nor a medico-legal specialist.

In a counterpoint response to Allen Frances’ May 2012 New York Times Op-Ed piece, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) stated:

“…There are actually relatively few substantial changes to draft disorder criteria. Those that have been recommended are based on the scientific and clinical evidence amassed over the past 20 years and then are subject to multiple review processes within the APA.”

The Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders chapter is one section for which substantial changes to existing definitions and criteria are being introduced but with no body of rigorous evidence to support the SSD construct – a construct already influencing proposals for a new ICD classification, “Bodily Distress Disorder” for the World Health Organization’s ICD-11 and ICD-11-PHC (primary care) version, to replace several of ICD-10’s existing Somatoform Disorder categories.

During the second public review of draft criteria for DSM-5, the ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’ section received more submissions from advocacy organizations, patients, and professionals than almost any other disorder category. But rather than tighten up the criteria or subject the entire disorder section to independent scientific review, the SSD Work Group’s response was to lower the threshold even further – potentially pulling even more patients under a mental disorder label.

In February, Dr Dimsdale told journalist, Susan Donaldson James, for ABC News:

“…If it doesn’t work, we’ll fix it in the DSM-5.1 or DSM-6.” [3]

APA says there will be opportunities to reassess and revise DSM-5’s new disorders, post publication, and that it intends to start work on a DSM-5.1 release. Patient groups, advocates and professionals are not reassured by APA’s ‘publish first – patch later’ approach to science.

Dr Dimsdale has described his group’s revision as “a step in the right direction.” But DSM-5 appears hell bent on stumbling blindly from the “treacherous foundation” of ‘medically unexplained’ into the quicksands of loose, unvalidated constructs.

The appropriate response would be for APA to pull this disorder out of the main diagnostic section, now, before its new manual rolls off the presses and relocate under the “V codes.”

1 Dimsdale JE. Medically unexplained symptoms: a treacherous foundation for somatoform disorders? Psychiatr Clin North Am 2011;34:511-3.

2 BMJ Rapid Response: http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f1580/rr/637773

3 New Psych Disorder Could Mislabel Sick as Mentally Ill, Susan Donaldson James, ABC News, February 2013.

Competing interests: I reviewed and provided comment and suggestions for this BMJ commentary by Allen Frances, MD. I run a website that archives and reports on DSM-5 and ICD-11 activities.

Related content

The President’s Message in the Spring edition of The National Forum, newsletter of the National CFIDS Foundation Inc. (Vol. 18, No. 4 Spring 2013) is devoted to the DSM-5 SSD issue and can also be read here on their website.

Allen Frances, MD, blogs at DSM 5 in Distress, and Saving Normal at Psychology Today.

Mislabeling Medical Illness As Mental Disorder December 8, 2012

Bad News DSM-5 Refuses To Correct Somatic Symptom Disorder January 16, 2013

For additional commentary on ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’:

Somatic Symptom Disorder could capture millions more under mental health diagnosis by Suzy Chapman for Dx Revision Watch, May 26, 2012

‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’ – the most ubiquitous mental health diagnosis you never heard of

‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’ – the most ubiquitous mental health diagnosis you never heard of

Lead psychiatrist for DSM-IV voices opposition to DSM-5’s new ‘catch-all’ criteria in BMJ, today

Post #229 Shortlink: http://wp.me/pKrrB-2GI

Update: Rapid Responses to the BMJ article can be read here:

http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f1580?tab=responses

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The opinion piece published under BMJ’s “Personal View” section, on Wednesday, is now featured in this week’s “Editor’s Choice”:

http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f1918

Editor’s Choice
US Editor’s Choice

DSM-5 and the rough ride from approval to publication

BMJ2013;346doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f1918 (Published 22 March 2013)

Edward Davies, US news and features editor, BMJ

Update: Media coverage for BMJ article:

Times of India

Eat or surf a lot? You risk being labelled mentally ill

Malathy Iyer, TNN | Mar 24, 2013

…Earlier this week, American psychiatrist Allen Frances, who helped devise the fourth edition of the manual (DSM-IV), lashed out against the new installment in the British Medical Journal. “It risks mislabelling a sizeable number of population as mentally ill,” Frances wrote.

He is disturbed about a new introduction called ‘somatic symptom disorder’ that will need only one bodily symptom distressing or disrupting daily life for about six months. “This new category will extend the scope of mental disorder classification by eliminating the requirement that somatic symptoms must be medically unexplained,” he wrote. In a field trial study to check for somatic symptom disorder, the results included 15% of patients with cancer or heart disease and 26% with irritable bowel syndrome or fibromyalgia. “The rate of psychiatric disorder among medically ill patients is unknown, but these rates seem high,” added Frances.

Doctors in India are not too supportive of the somatic symptom disorder…

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Medscape Medical News > Psychiatry

DSM-5 Somatic Symptom Disorder Debate Rages On

Deborah Brauser | March 21, 2013

The inclusion of the new somatic symptom disorder category in the soon-to-be-released Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) continues to spark heated debate in the field of psychiatry.

In a “Personal View” published online March 19 in BMJ, Allen Frances, MD, writes that the new disorder could result in “inappropriate diagnoses of mental disorder and inappropriate medical decision making” and urged clinicians to ignore the category completely…

…”The proposed diagnosis is unsupported by any substantial evidence on its likely validity and safety and was strongly opposed by patients, families, caregivers, and advocacy organizations,” he writes.

“Every diagnostic decision is a delicate balancing act between definitions that will result in too much versus too little diagnosis — the DSM-5 work group chose a remarkably sensitive definition that is also remarkably non-specific.”

He adds that clinicians should just ignore this classification altogether…

(Free registration for access to full article.)

Rheumatology Update

New ‘somatic symptom disorder’ captures fibromyalgia

Tony James | March 22, 2013

The new diagnosis of ‘somatic symptom disorder’ due for inclusion in the American Psychiatric Association’s updated diagnostic manual will capture up to a quarter of fibromyalgia patients…

Psychiatry Update (Australia)

Clinicians urged to ignore DSM-5 ‘somatic symptom disorder’

Tony James | March 20, 2013

The chair of the DSM-IV task force has told clinicians to ignore the new diagnosis of ‘somatic symptom disorder’ in DSM-5.

In a strongly-worded critique in this week’s BMJ, Professor Frances said that every diagnostic decision was a delicate balancing act between over-diagnosis and under-diagnosis…

“…The diagnosis of somatic symptom disorder is based on subjective and difficult to measure cognitions that will enable a ‘bolt-on’ diagnosis of mental disorder to be applied to all medical conditions, irrespective of cause.”

Field trials had shown that the new definition captured 15% of patients with cancer or heart disease and 26% with irritable bowel syndrome or fibromyalgia.

(Registered Medical Practitioner site; registration required for access to full article.)

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Inform 21

Un nuevo trastorno podría clasificar a millones de personas como enfermos mentales

March 21, 2013

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UK Times

The Times Mental Health

Psychologists to fight new list of mental illnesses

Martin Barrow, Health Editor | March 21, 2013

Everyday Health

Why Obsessing Over Physical Symptoms Could Equal Mental Illness

A psychiatrist argues in a new paper that a change in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) could lead to misdiagnosis of people with cancer and heart disease as mentally ill.

Jaimie Dalessio | Everyday Health Staff Writer | March 20, 2013

Come May, everyone with chronic medical illness or long-term pain – from cancer to coronary disease, MS to myalgia, becomes a potential candidate for a new mental health label.

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On Wednesday, BMJ publishes a commentary on the DSM-5 ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’ by Allen Frances, MD, who chaired the Task Force for DSM-IV, with contribution from Dx Revision Watch:

http://www.bmj.com/uk/comment

Full article available without subscription, here:

http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.f1580

PDF here:

http://www.bmj.com/highwire/filestream/636761/field_highwire_article_pdf/0/bmj.f1580.full.pdf

PERSONAL VIEW

The new somatic symptom disorder in DSM-5 risks mislabeling many people as mentally ill

This new condition suggested in the bible of mental health diagnoses lacks specificity, says Allen Frances

Allen Frances chair of the DSM-IV task force

The fuzzy boundary between psychiatry and general medicine is about to experience a seismic shift. The next edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is scheduled for release this May amid controversy about many of its new disorders. Among these, DSM-5 introduces a poorly tested diagnosis—somatic symptom disorder—which risks mislabeling a sizeable proportion of the population as mentally ill…

BMJ Media release will be available here:

http://group.bmj.com/group/media/latest-news

Psychiatric creep

For DSM-5, the somatoform disorders section is being dismantled and four rarely used disorders are being replaced by a single new diagnosis, ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder.’

Out go DSM-IV’s rigorous criteria sets and the requirement for multiple symptoms to be medically unexplained; in comes a far looser definition that doesn’t distinguish between ‘medically unexplained’ symptoms or somatic symptoms in association with diagnosed medical illness.

From May, patients with common diseases like cancer, angina, diabetes or multiple sclerosis; with long-term pain, chronic illnesses like irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia or CFS, or with unexplained conditions that have so far presented with somatic (bodily) symptoms of unclear cause may qualify for an additional mental disorder diagnosis of ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’ if the clinician considers they also meet the criteria for ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder,’ and may benefit from treatment.

The SSD criteria set focuses on the psychological impact of persistent, distressing bodily symptoms on the patient’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors and the degree to which their response is considered ‘disproportionate’ or ‘excessive.’

As the criteria stand, this new disorder will potentially result in a ‘bolt-on’ mental health diagnosis being applied to all chronic illnesses and medical conditions if the clinician decides the patient’s response to distressing symptoms is ‘excessive’ or their coping strategies are ‘maladaptive,’ or that they are ‘catastrophising’ or displaying ‘fear avoidance.’ Or if the practitioner feels the patient is spending too much time on the internet researching data, symptoms and treatments, or that their lives have become ‘dominated’ by ‘illness worries,’ they may be vulnerable to an additional diagnosis of SSD.

Patients with chronic, multiple bodily symptoms due to rare conditions or multi-system diseases like Behçet’s syndrome or Systemic lupus, which may take several years to diagnose, will also be vulnerable to misdiagnosis with a mental disorder.

There is no substantial body of research to support the validity, reliability or safety of the ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’ diagnosis.

During the second public review of draft criteria for DSM-5, the ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’ section received more submissions from advocacy organizations, patients, and professionals than almost any other disorder category. But rather than tighten up the criteria or subject the entire disorder section to independent scientific review, the SSD Work Group’s response has been to lower the threshold even further – potentially pulling even more patients under a mental disorder label.

The ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’ Work Group rejected eleventh hour calls from professionals and patients to review its criteria before going to print.

APA says there will be opportunities to reassess and revise DSM-5s new disorders, post publication, and that it intends to start work on a ‘DSM-5.1′ release. Patient groups, advocates and professionals are not reassured by a ‘publish first – patch later’ approach to science.

Notes for media, websites, bloggers:

1. The next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) will be published by American Psychiatric Publishing Inc. in May 2013. It will be known as ‘DSM-5′ and has been under development since 1999.
http://www.dsm5.org/Pages/Default.aspx
http://www.dsm5.org/Documents/DSM%205%20development%20factsheet%201-16-13.pdf

2. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has spent $25 million on the development of DSM-5.

3. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is used by mental health and medical professionals for diagnosing and coding mental disorders. It is used by psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, counselors, primary health care physicians, nurses, social workers, occupational and rehabilitation therapists and allied health professionals.

The DSM is also used for medical insurance reimbursement and informs government, public health policy, courts and legal specialists, education, forensic science, prisons, drug regulation agencies, pharmaceutical companies and researchers. Diagnostic criteria defined within DSM determine what is considered a mental disorder and what is not, which treatments and therapies health insurers will authorise funding for, and for how long.

4. Four existing disorder categories in the DSM-IV ‘Somatoform Disorders’ section: somatization disorder [300.81], hypochondriasis [300.7], pain disorder, and undifferentiated somatoform disorder [300.82] will be eliminated and replaced with a single new category – ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’ for DSM-5.

5. APA has held three stakeholder comment periods during which professional and public stakeholders have been invited to submit comment on the proposals for the revision of DSM-IV categories and criteria (in February-April 2010; May-June 2011; May-June 2012).

6. DSM-5 is slated for release at the American Psychiatric Association’s 166th Annual Meeting, San Francisco (May 18-22, 2013). The new manual is available for pre-order and will cost $199: http://www.psychiatry.org/dsm5

7. Allen Frances, MD, was chair of the DSM-IV Task Force and of the Department of Psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC; Dr Frances is currently professor emeritus, Duke.

8. Dr Frances blogs at DSM 5 in Distress, and Saving Normal at Psychology Today.

Mislabeling Medical Illness As Mental Disorder was published on December 8, 2012

Bad News DSM-5 Refuses To Correct Somatic Symptom Disorder was published on January 16, 2013

For additional information on ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’:

Somatic Symptom Disorder could capture millions more under mental health diagnosis by Suzy Chapman for Dx Revision Watch, May 26, 2012

Suzy Chapman

DSM-5 goes to press with ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’ amid widespread professional and consumer concern

DSM-5 goes to press with ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’ amid widespread professional and consumer concern

Post #224 Shortlink: http://wp.me/pKrrB-2EV

Update: On February 8, David J. Kupfer, MD, Chair, DSM-5 Task Force, published in defence of the ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’ category on Huffington Post:

Somatic Symptoms Criteria in DSM-5 Improve Diagnosis, Care

Last week, the American Psychiatric Association sent the next edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to the publishers.

When DSM-5 is released in May, it will introduce a new ‘catch-all’ diagnosis that could capture many thousands more patients under a mental disorder label.

Today, on Saving Normal at Psychology Today, Allen Frances, MD, who chaired the DSM-IV Task Force, publishes the third in a series of commentaries voicing considerable concern for all illness groups for the implications of an additional diagnosis of ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder.’

Why Did DSM 5 Botch Somatic Symptom Disorder?

Allen Frances writes:

“Once it is an official DSM 5 mental disorder, SSD is likely to be widely misapplied – to 1 in 6 people with cancer and heart disease and to 1 in 4 with irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia…The definition of SSD is so loose it will capture 7% of healthy people (14 million in the US alone) suddenly making this pseudo diagnosis one of the most common of all ‘mental disorders’ in the general population.”

Suzy Chapman writes:

“These highly subjective, difficult to assess criteria have the potential for widespread misapplication, particularly in busy primary care settings – causing stigma to the medically ill and potentially resulting in poor medical workups, inappropriate treatment regimes and medico-legal claims against clinicians for missed diagnoses.

“Why has the Task Force and APA Board of Trustees been prepared to sign off on a definition and criteria set that lacks a body of rigorous evidence for its validity, safety and prevalence, thereby potentially putting the public at risk? And why is APA prepared to abrogate its duty of care as a professional body and expose its membership, physicians and the allied health professional end-users of its manual to the risk of potential law suits?”

From May, an additional mental health diagnosis of ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’ (SSD) can be applied whether patients have diagnosed medical diseases like diabetes, angina, cancer or multiple sclerosis, chronic illnesses like IBS, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or chronic pain disorders, or unexplained conditions that have so far presented with bodily symptoms of unclear etiology.

A person will meet the criteria for ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’ by reporting just one or more bodily symptoms that are distressing or disruptive to daily life, that have persisted for at least six months, and having just one of the following three responses:

1) disproportionate, persistent thoughts about the seriousness of their symptoms;
2) persistently high level of anxiety about their health or symptoms;
3) devoting excessive time and energy to symptoms or health concerns.

In the DSM-5 field trials, 15% of the ‘diagnosed illness’ study group (the trials looked at patients with either cancer or coronary heart disease) met the criteria for an additional mental health diagnosis of SSD.

26% of patients who comprised the irritable bowel syndrome or fibromyalgia study group were coded for SSD.

A disturbingly high 7% of the ‘healthy’ control group were also caught by these overly-inclusive criteria.

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Psychiatric creep

As the criteria stand, this new disorder will potentially result in a ‘bolt-on’ mental health diagnosis being applied to all chronic illnesses and medical conditions if the clinician decides the patient’s response to distressing symptoms is ‘excessive’ or their coping strategies are ‘maladaptive,’ or that they are ‘catastrophising’ or displaying ‘fear avoidance.’ Or if the practitioner feels the patient is spending too much time on the internet researching data, symptoms and treatments, or that their lives have become ‘dominated’ by ‘illness worries,’ they may be vulnerable to an additional diagnosis of SSD.

Patients with chronic, multiple bodily symptoms due to rare conditions or multi-system diseases like Behçet’s syndrome or Systemic lupus, which may take several years to diagnose, will also be vulnerable to misdiagnosis with a mental disorder.

There is no substantial body of research to support the validity, reliability or safety of the ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’ diagnosis.

During the second public review of draft criteria for DSM-5, the ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’ section received more submissions from advocacy organizations, patients, and professionals than almost any other disorder category. But rather than tighten up the criteria or subject the entire disorder section to independent scientific review, the SSD Work Group’s response has been to lower the threshold even further – potentially pulling even more patients under a mental disorder label.

The ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’ Work Group has rejected eleventh hour calls from professionals and patients to review its criteria before going to print.

APA says there will be opportunities to reassess and revise DSM-5‘s new disorders, post publication, and that it intends to start work on a ‘DSM-5.1’ release. But patient groups, advocates and professionals are not reassured by a ‘publish first – patch later’ approach to science.

Read Parts One and Two, here:

Part One: Mislabeling Medical Illness As Mental Disorder | Allen Frances, December 8, 2012

Part Two: Bad News DSM-5 Refuses To Correct Somatic Symptom Disorder | Allen Frances, January 16, 2013

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Notes for media, websites, bloggers:

1. The next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) will be published by American Psychiatric Publishing Inc. in May 2013. It will be known as ‘DSM-5 ‘ and has been under development since 1999.
http://www.dsm5.org/Pages/Default.aspx
http://www.dsm5.org/Documents/DSM%205%20development%20factsheet%201-16-13.pdf

2. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has spent $25 million on the development of DSM-5.

3. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is used by mental health and medical professionals for diagnosing and coding mental disorders. It is used by psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, counselors, primary health care physicians, nurses, social workers, occupational and rehabilitation therapists and allied health professionals.

The DSM is also used for reimbursement and informs government, public health policy, courts and legal specialists, education, forensic science, prisons, drug regulation agencies, pharmaceutical companies and researchers. Diagnostic criteria defined within DSM determine what is considered a mental disorder and what is not, which treatments and therapies health insurers will authorise funding for, and for how long.

4. Four existing disorder categories in the DSM-IV ‘Somatoform Disorders’ section: somatization disorder [300.81], hypochondriasis [300.7], pain disorder, and undifferentiated somatoform disorder [300.82] will be eliminated and replaced with a single new category – ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’ for DSM-5.

5. APA has held three stakeholder comment periods during which professional and public stakeholders have been invited to submit comment on the proposals for the revision of DSM-IV categories and criteria (in February-April 2010; May-June 2011; May-June 2012).

6. DSM-5 is slated for release at the American Psychiatric Association’s 166th Annual Meeting, San Francisco (May 18-22, 2013). The new manual is available for pre-order and will cost $199: http://www.psychiatry.org/dsm5

7. Allen Frances, MD, was chair of the DSM-IV Task Force and of the Department of Psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC; Dr Frances is currently professor emeritus, Duke.

8. Dr Frances blogs at DSM 5 in Distress, and Saving Normal at Psychology Today.

Mislabeling Medical Illness As Mental Disorder was published on December 8, 2012

Bad News DSM-5 Refuses To Correct Somatic Symptom Disorder was published on January 16, 2013

For additional information on ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder’:

Somatic Symptom Disorder could capture millions more under mental health diagnosis by Suzy Chapman for Dx Revision Watch, May 26, 2012

Suzy Chapman

DSM-5 rejects call for urgent reconsideration of new “Somatic Symptom Disorder” category

DSM-5 rejects call from lead psychiatrist for DSM-IV Task Force for urgent reconsideration of new “Somatic Symptom Disorder” category 

Post #219 Shortlink: http://wp.me/pKrrB-2C0

Today, Allen Frances, M.D., publishes a follow-up to our December 8 commentary in which we set out the implications for all chronic illness patient populations of misdiagnosis with “Somatic Symptom Disorder (SSD)” or misapplication of an additional diagnosis of “SSD.”

In the second of three commentaries, Dr Frances reports on the outcome of his representations to the DSM-5 Somatic Symptom Disorder Work Group, key APA Board of Trustees office holders and DSM-5’s Task Force chair and vice-chair, for urgent reconsideration of this new “catch-all” mental health disorder.

The texts for DSM-5 are expected to be finalized for the publishers by the end of this month.

Dr Frances’ first commentary on SSD is approaching 20,000 views and has received over 300 comments on Psychology Today, alone. It is also published at Huffington Post and at Education Update and widely circulated on other platforms.

There has been an overwhelming response to our concerns with comments pouring in from patients with diverse chronic illnesses and medical conditions including Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Interstitial Cystitis, Behcet’s disease, Endometriosis, Lupus, Hashimotos thyroid disorder, Hughes Syndrome, Pancreatitis and Chronic Lyme disease –patients whose symptoms had been dismissed for years before finally receiving a diagnosis or who are still struggling to obtain a diagnosis, many of whom had been mislabelled with a somatoform disorder.

We’ve also received many emails from patients and international patient organizations.

Please circulate this follow-up commentary. I am particularly keen to reach platforms for patients with common chronic diseases and conditions – cancer, heart disease, diabetes, COPD, MS, RA, chronic pain; also Lyme disease, chemical injury and rare diseases, IBS and Fibromyalgia, ME and CFS.

Allen Frances, M.D., was chair of the DSM-IV Task Force and of the department of psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC. He is currently professor emeritus at Duke.

Psychology Today

DSM5 in Distress

The DSM’s impact on mental health practice and research
by Allen Frances, M.D.

Published on January 16, 2013 by Allen J. Frances, M.D., in DSM5 in Distress

Bad News: DSM 5 Refuses To Correct Somatic Symptom Disorder
Medical Illness Will Be Mislabeled Mental Disorder

“Many of you will have read a previous blog prepared by Suzy Chapman and me that contained alarming information about the new DSM 5 diagnosis ‘Somatic Symptom Disorder.’

“SSD is defined so over inclusively by DSM 5 that it will mislabel 1 in 6 people with cancer and heart disease; 1 in 4 with irritable bowel and fibromyalgia; and 1 in 14 who are not even medically ill.

“I hoped to be able to influence the DSM 5 work group to correct this in 2 ways: 1) by suggesting improvements in the wording of the SSD criteria set that would reduce mislabeling; and 2) by letting them know how much opposition they would face from concerned professionals and an outraged public if DSM 5 failed to slam on the brakes while there was still time…”

Read on here:

Bad News: DSM 5 Refuses To Correct Somatic Symptom Disorder
Medical Illness Will Be Mislabeled Mental Disorder

 

The most recent proposals for new category “J 00 Somatic Symptom Disorder”

IASP and the Classification of Pain in ICD-11  Prof. Dr. Winfried Rief, University of Marburg, Germany

Slide 9

Ed: Note that the requirement for “at least two from the B type criteria” was reduced to “at least one from the B type criteria” for the third iteration of draft proposals. This lowering of the threshold is presumably in order to accommodate the merging of the previously proposed “Simple Somatic Symptom Disorder” category into the “Complex Somatic Symptom Disorder” category, a conflation now proposed to be renamed to “Somatic Symptom Disorder,” also the disorder section name. A revised “Rationale/Validity” PDF document was not issued for the third and final draft. A brief, revised “Rationale” text was published on a Tab Page for the Somatic Symptom Disorder proposal and criteria but is no longer accessible.

Proposals, criteria and rationales, as posted for the third draft in May 2012, were removed from the DSM-5 Development website on November 15, 2012 and placed behind a non public log in. Criteria as they had stood for the third draft can no longer be viewed but are set out on Slide 9 in this presentation, which note, does not include three, optional Severity Specifiers that were included with the third draft criteria.

 

Related material

Mislabeling Medical Illness As Mental Disorder: The Eleventh DSM-5 Mistake, Psychology Today, DSM5 in Distress, Allen Frances, MD, December 8, 2012

Somatic Symptom Disorder could capture millions more under mental health diagnosis, Suzy Chapman

Submission to Somatic Symptom Disorder Work Group in response to third draft proposals, Suzy Chapman

Additional commentary

Oak Park Behavioral Medicine, Mind Your Body blog

Moving in the Wrong Direction

Dr Tiffany Taft, Ph.D., Northwestern University, December 13, 2012

IBS Impact IBS Impact blog

Proposed DSM-5 Criteria May Unfairly Label Physical Conditions as Psychological Disorders

11th hour call: “Mislabeling Medical Illness As Mental Disorder” by Allen J. Frances, MD.

11th hour call: “Mislabeling Medical Illness As Mental Disorder” by Allen J. Frances, MD.

Post #217 Shortlink: http://wp.me/pKrrB-2AL

Image Copyright Dx Revision Watch 2012On December 8, Allen J. Frances, MD, blogged at Psychology Today on our shared concerns for the new DSM-5 category – Somatic Symptom Disorder. Dr Frances was chair of the DSM-IV Task Force and of the department of psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC. He is currently professor emeritus, Duke.

One in six people suffering from cancer, heart and other serious diseases risks being saddled with a psychiatric diagnosis if they are considered to be “excessively” worried about their illness or spending more time on the internet researching their symptoms than the American Psychiatric Association (APA) thinks good for them.

But many illness groups – particularly the so-called “functional somatic syndromes” – stand to be captured by these new criteria and assigned an additional mental health diagnosis, or placed at risk of misdiagnosis.

The DSM-5 manual texts are still being finalized and the Somatic Symptom Disorder Work Group has been asked to reconsider its criteria and tighten them up before the next edition of DSM is sent to the publishers.

Please demonstrate to the APA and the Somatic Symptom Disorder Work Group the level of concern amongst clinicians and allied health professionals, patients, caregivers and advocacy organizations by visiting Dr Frances’ blog post and leaving a comment. You can read the commentary at the link, below.

If you share our concerns that these catch-all criteria will see thousands more patients tagged with a mental health label please forward the link to your colleagues and contacts and post on Twitter, blogs and social media platforms.

Thank you,

Suzy Chapman for Dx Revision Watch

Mislabeling Medical Illness As Mental Disorder: The Eleventh DSM-5 Mistake

Psychology Today, DSM5 in Distress, Allen Frances, MD, December 8, 2012

Additional commentary

Oak Park Behavioral Medicine, Mind Your Body blog

Moving in the Wrong Direction

Dr Tiffany Taft, Ph.D., Northwestern University, December 13, 2012

IBS Impact IBS Impact blog

Proposed DSM-5 Criteria May Unfairly Label Physical Conditions as Psychological Disorders

The most recent proposals for new category “J 00 Somatic Symptom Disorder”

Ed: Proposals, criteria and rationales, as posted for the third stakeholder review and comment period, in May 2012, were removed from the DSM-5 Development website on November 15, 2012 and placed behind a non public log in. Criteria as they had stood for the third draft can no longer be viewed but are set out on Slide 9 in this presentation, which note, does not include the three, optional Severity Specifiers that were included in the third iteration.

Note that the requirement for “at least two from the B type criteria” was reduced to “at least one from the B type criteria” between the second and third set of draft proposals.

IASP and the Classification of Pain in ICD-11  Prof. Dr. Winfried Rief, University of Marburg,

Slide 9

Related material

Somatic Symptom Disorder could capture millions more under mental health diagnosis

Submission to Somatic Symptom Disorder Work Group in response to third draft proposals

Bloomberg: How Many Billions a Year Will the DSM-5 Cost? Allen Frances, MD

Bloomberg: How Many Billions a Year Will the DSM-5 Cost? Allen Frances, MD

Post #216 Shortlink: http://wp.me/pKrrB-2Av

Update: Additional recent articles on DSM-5 development:

Healio Psychiatric Annals > Practice Management > News

DSM-5: a ‘living document’ that may impact practice, patients health

December 21, 2012

Bloomberg

How Many Billions a Year Will the DSM-5 Cost?

Illustration by Pete Gamlen

Allen Frances, MD | December 20, 2012

Further responses to the commentary on DSM-5 Somatic Symptom Disorder by Allen Frances and Suzy Chapman published last week on Psychology Today, Huffington Post and Education Update:

IBS Impact blog

Proposed DSM-5 Criteria May Unfairly Label Physical Conditions as Psychological Disorders

“Recently in the IBS and chronic illness community, several professionals and self-advocates have begun expressing concern about proposed changes in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, commonly known as the DSM…The DSM is revised periodically and the 5th edition is expected to be released in 2013. While there are many controversial proposed changes, one that has received relatively little attention in the mainstream media is particularly alarming in its potential implications for people with chronic illnesses, especially ones that are still scientifically poorly understood, like irritable bowel syndrome or commonly overlapping conditions like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and interstitial cystitis among others…”

Mind Your Body

Moving in the Wrong Direction

Dr Tiffany Taft, Ph.D., Northwestern University | December 13, 2012

“…Rather than repeating what’s in store in DSM 5, this article provides an excellent summary of the proposed changes. It’s really worth taking the time to read, whether you have diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, lupus, or fibromyalgia. The bottom line is, regardless of the etiology of your chronic illness you are a candidate for the Somatic Symptom Disorder (SDD) diagnosis. If you’re a parent caregiver, your reactions to your child’s illness may be deemed pathological as well…”

The Reporting on Health Member Blog

DSM 5 – Misdiagnosing or Mislabeling of Medical Diseases

Kate Benson | December 19, 2012

Related material

Somatic Symptom Disorder could capture millions more under mental health diagnosis

Submission to Somatic Symptom Disorder Work Group in response to third draft proposals

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