Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center Assesses the Impact of the DSM-5

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Changes in the recently released DSM-5 may impact who is eligible for treatment from a mental health center.

Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center

Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center

By re-defining certain disorders, the DSM-5 affects how people are diagnosed. In turn, this can affect the accessibility of mental health treatment programs.

The American Psychological Association (APA) released the hotly contested fifth edition of their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) on May 17th of this year. The new manual contains some significant changes to the way certain mental illnesses are defined, classified, and diagnosed, which means significant changes to mental health center treatment plans.

South Florida’s Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center is a multifaceted mental health treatment facility, exactly the type of establishment that may feel the impact of the DSM-5. The facility continues to administer care on an individualized basis, focusing on respectful and sensitive treatment.

“The DSM-5 won’t change the way we treat our patients, though it may affect when and how they come to receive treatment,” said Ben Brafman, founder of the Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center. “By re-defining certain disorders, the DSM-5 affects how people are diagnosed. In turn, this can affect the accessibility of mental health treatment programs.”

A notable change to the DSM-5 includes the spectrum of Substance Use Disorder, or SUD. We no longer refer to a ‘dependency’ on drugs or alcohol, but rather to an addiction. The severity of the addiction runs along a sliding scale, and may be anything from mild to severe. The designation of severity is still made under professional discretion, as is the development of treatment plans.

“The sliding scale of Substance Use Disorder may mean that more people are eligible for treatment at a mental health center, specifically those that fall on the ‘mild’ end of the spectrum,” Brafman said. “The question is not whether or not they should be eligible for treatment, but whether or not the nation has the facilities to deal with these increased numbers.”

The DSM-5 affects diagnoses of mental health and substance use disorders. In turn, it may affect insurance policies and research funding, especially with the upcoming implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Many experts predict that the DSM-5 and ACA will be compatible, leading to early intervention and more people receiving treatment. However, the full impact remains to be seen.

“Making a mental health diagnosis is never black and white,” said Brafman, a behavioral health expert. “It can be difficult to draw the line between a classified disorder and normal behavior. The DSM-5 attempts to do that, but we don’t yet know if they have been successful.”

The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center is a full service mental health facility located in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Dedicated to helping individuals who suffer from mental illness find a path to living better, The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center offers treatment and support for a wide variety of mood and thought disorders including: depression, anxiety disorders, anger management, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. For more information on mental health treatment please contact The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center at 1-888-205-2775 or online at http://www.mentalhealthcenter.org.

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Alton Smith
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