Criminal Law Employment Law

How Changes to the DSM Could Affect Your Practice

The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — the listing of all recognized mental disorders — is set to have a new (fifth) edition published in 2013. A draft of the document was just released and displayed for public comment. This document clearly affects those in the mental health profession, but you may wonder what it has to do with lawyers. It seems predictable that the effects on the legal community will be felt in the criminal and employment areas and possibly in other areas as well.         

Proposed changes include new designations of gambling addiction and binge eating as recognized mental disorders.         

The proposed change creating a new category for gambling addiction could lead to the disorder being used as a defense to an employee’s embezzlement to pay gambling debts, or by an employee fired for excessive absences from work due to visits to the race track. The proposed change recognizing binge eating as a disorder may lead to more overweight employees claiming a disability.         

What do you think these changes will mean for your practice or the law generally? Do you think lawyers should provide their input to the proposed changes in an organized way? Tell us what you think!     

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