Psychiatric group OKs changes to manual

DSM-5 considered 'bible' of psychiatry

Author: By Miriam Falco CNN Medical Managing Editor

Published On: Dec 02 2012 01:27:18 AM EST Updated On: Dec 03 2012 10:14:07 AM EST

(CNN) -
Starting next year, the process of diagnosing autism may see drastic changes following the revision of the official guide to classifying psychiatric illnesses.

After years of reviewing and refining criteria used by psychiatrists and other experts to diagnose mental health disorders, the American Psychiatric Association board of trustees on Saturday approved major changes to the manual, better known as DSM-5.

The approval of the changes in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders came during a meeting in Arlington, Virginia.

The DSM is considered the "bible" of psychiatry because it's the criteria mental health professionals use to diagnose their patients.

It is also used by insurance companies, schools and other agencies responsible for covering or creating special provisions for individuals with developmental or mental disorders.

Whether someone receives the death penalty or a lesser sentence can rise or fall depending on criteria for a mental health disorder as defined in the DSM.

Autism diagnoses will see significant changes in how patients are labeled...