Work Groups

Early in May 2008, the American Psychiatric Association announced the names of the DSM-V Work Group members. There are 13 Work Groups with a total of 120 members.  The majority of the members are MD’s, with only one to two members of each team as Ph.D’s.

 The  Work Groups reviewed the DSM-IV’s strengths and issues. From their review, the Work groups restructured the DSM-5 to better reflect the advances made in psychiatry,  developed a research plan targeting disorders requiring greater refinement than the field trials provided, and compiled a list of proposed changes in categorization and specific disorders between the DSM-IV and the DSM-5.

This compiled list was posted online at From this webpage, clinicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, and other medical providers around the world can review the proposed changes and provide individual feedback. There will be three sessions where the proposed changes will be accessible to the public, and after each the Work Groups review the public’s response to the proposed changes and alter the structure, criteria, and categorizations appropriately.

Throughout this processes, the goal is to streamline the DSM, making it more practical and useful to medical practitioners everywhere. This is the first time the public psychiatric community has been able to comment on the changes between the DSM-IV and proposed DSM-5, and the APA Work Groups able to respond to the public’s concerns.  This represents a fundamental shift in the DSM-IV, focusing even more on making the DSM a viable, useful tool to clinicians in all settings.

The 13 Work Groups correspond roughly to the Work Groups of the DSM-IV-TR, with a few exceptions. The DSM-V Work Groups include:

1)      ADHD and Disruptive Behavior Disorders

  1. 10 members working on 10 disorders

2)      Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum, Posttraumatic, and Dissociative Disorders

  1. This Work Group has been expanded since the DSM-IV-TR, where they studied only ‘Anxiety Disorders’
  2. 14 members working on 35 disorders.
  3. 2 members without M.D.

3)      Childhood and Adolescent Disorders

  1. This Work Group roughly corresponds to the DSM-IV Team ‘Disorders usually first Diagnosed in Infancy, Childhood or Adolescence’.
  2. Reflects the shift to a chronological progression structure of disorders the DSM-V
  3. Includes 8 members evaluating 8 disorders, 2 of which are non MD

4)      Eating Disorders

  1. The same set of disorders as in the DSM-IV

5)      Mood Disorders

  1. Also called Mood Disorders in DSM-IV
  2. Consists of 12 members, working on 26 disorders
  3. 10 members hold M.D.s

6)      Neurocognitive Disorders

  1. In the DSM-IV-TR, this group is identified “Delirium, Dementia, Amnesic and other Cognitive Disorders Work Group”
  2. 9 members working on 24 disorders

7)      Neurodevelopmental disorders

  1. Called the same in the DSM-IV
  2. 13 members, working on 17 disorders

8)      Personality and Personal Disorders

  1. In the DSM-IV included only ‘Personality Disorders”
  2. 11 members. 15 disorders

9)      Psychotic Disorders

  1. DSM-IV: “Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders Work Group”
  2. 12 members working on 12 disorders

10)   Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders

  1. Previously (in the DSM-IV-TR) divided into two groups: the Premenstrual Dysphonic Disorder Work Group, and the Sexual Disorders Work Group
  2. 13 members working on 27 disorders

11)   Sleep-Wake Disorders

  1. Same Work Group title as the DSM-IV-TR
  2. 7 members working with 14 disorders

12)   Somatic Symptom Disorders

  1. Same title in DSM-IV-TR
  2. 10 members working on 9 disorders

13)   Substance-Related Disorders

  1. Same title as DSM-IV-TR
  2. 12 members working on 41 disorders

The difference in Work Group titles between the DSM-IV and the DSM-V reflect the DSM-V’s shift towards making diagnoses accessible for medical providers in fields beyond psychiatry. The categorization of disorders under groups reflected similarities among symptoms in the DSM-IV, while the DSM-V reflects similarity of causes, and consequently streamlines treatment options and alterations.

One of the Work Groups that was in the DSM-IV but not the DSM-V was the “Multiaxial issues Work Group”. The disorders of this group, which include Psychiatric System Interface Disorders like Adjustment disorder, dissociative disorder, factitious disorder, impulse control disorder, and somatoform disorders were spread among several other groups, or with their expansion, had  new groups dedicated to develop them (such as Impulse Control disorders).

Janet Greider

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