In last night’s Psychopathology class I was discussing the significant changes throughout the history and editions of the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (I-VI), especially in regard to the growth of mental health diagnoses. That led us to talk about a couple of diagnoses, once added, that have become “popular.” By popular I don’t mean en vogue or fun or the like. What I mean is that there has been a significant increase in the usage of that diagnosis.
What diagnosis? Asperger’s Syndrome.
Why? Some feel it is because the diagnosis is known and now those who went undiagnosed now are more likely to receive a correct diagnosis. Others feel that therapists are over diagnosing–lumping in every kid who has any hint of a social quirk.
It will be interesting to see what happens to the numbers being diagnosed when DSM5 comes out (2013?) and Asperger’s is subsumed into a generic Autistic Spectrum Disorder. I’d be willing to bet that fewer people will get the diagnosis because of stigma alone.
Whether over or under used, there are adults who meet criteria for this diagnosis and who might be helped (along with their spouses) if they had some hooks to use to understand what was happening in their relationships. If you are involved in counseling folks who meet criteria for this diagnosis…or think you might, check out the this website.
Click the link “tests” and check out a couple of the free adult forms you might use in the diagnostic process. They may not be quite as robust in their statistical properties, but they do give you a good way to narrow the conversation with your clients.