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The American Psychiatric Association publishes a diagnostic manual for psychiatric diseases called the DSM. In an effort to better-define people with a psychosomatic disorder or with hypochondria, their task force created a newly labeled disorder: Somatic Symptom Disorder. This replaces hypochondria and psychosomatic disorder.

However, this new diagnosis and its broad criteria threatens to continue the struggle neuro-endocrine-immune disease patients have against some doctorss who erroneously believe the symptoms are rooted in psychiatry or "all in their head."

Those with invisible, yet
hard-to-diagnose diseases,
such as neuro-endocrine-immune diseases, are especially
vulnerable to being misdiagnosed
as having a psychiatric disorder.

The main criteria for this disorder is the level of attention the person gives to their symptoms. This will cause problems because it includes no objective measure for the doctor to determine whether the patient's response to the symptoms is appropriate to the situation. It depends solely on the doctor's judgment.
Problems with the new somatic symptom disorder diagnosis criteria:
  • Untested
  • Overly broad
  • Will lead to misdiagnoses
  • No objective measures
  • Causes confusion between biomedical diseases and psychiatric disorders

Our efforts to correct this:

Despite our efforts and the efforts of other organizations, the American Psychiatry Association did not make any changes and have included the broad somatic symptom disorder criteria in their new diagnosis manual, which was released in May 2013.

News reports on this issue:

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