DSM-5 does not treat personality disorders separately from other mental disorders as did its predecessors.
Will the DSM-5 Lead to Crazy Employment Law?
From the Experts
By James J. McDonald Jr.
The American Psychiatric Association released a new edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, known as “DSM-5,” on May 18. Although the manual is primarily used by psychiatrists and other mental health professionals in diagnosing patients, its influence extends to the courts and the development of employment law as well. DSM-5 will surely affect employment law profoundly, but it may well do so in some disparate and unpredictable ways.
DSM-5 is likely to expand the number of conditions covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Although DSM-5 cautions that the assignment of a diagnosis does not imply a specific level of impairment or disability, this distinction has little practical meaning given the enactment of the ADA Amendments Act in 2008, in which Congress decreed that the definition of “disability” for purposes of the ADA is to be construed broadly in favor of coverage. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s regulations issued under that law even decreed that certain psychiatric disorders, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder, will almost always qualify as disabilities.