The Straits Times
Published on Dec 04, 2012

Asperger's out as US reframes psychiatric disorders


WASHINGTON (AFP) - The American Psychiatric Association has voted to review its classification of certain mental disorders, turning autism into a single, all-encompassing category and removing Asperger's syndrome as a separate ailment.

This weekend's vote by the group's board of trustees marks the first revision of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders since 1994 and the fifth since it first came about.

The latest change comes after a lengthy and often animated debate among psychiatrists, patient groups and foundations, sparking concerns among some.

The new criteria - the details of which will be known once the new manual is published in May 2013 - could deprive some patients of access to welfare services because the insurances and public assistance programmes are based on American Psychiatric Association (APA) definitions.