Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals are expanding the symptom and diagnostic categories for addiction, which will expand by millions the number of people who could potentially qualify for medical interventions.
This couldn't come at a worse time for private and government health insurance entities who are trying to rein in costs. It seems some of these categories fall more readily into the personal responsibiity realm rather than a mental health problem.
The revision to the manual, known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or D.S.M., would expand the list of recognized symptoms for drug and alcohol addiction, while also reducing the number of symptoms required for a diagnosis, according to proposed changes posted on the Web site of the American Psychiatric Association, which produces the book.
In addition, the manual for the first time would include gambling as an addiction, and it might introduce a catchall category — “behavioral addiction — not otherwise specified” — that some public health experts warn would be too readily used by doctors, despite a dearth of research, to diagnose addictions to shopping, sex, using the Internet or playing video games.