Binge drinkers may be recategorized as alcoholics

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Binge drinkers may be re-categorized as alcoholics

January 27, 2013 — “Are you an alcoholic— or just a problem drinker? It may not matter, according to the latest version of the DSM, psychiatry’s diagnostic manual,” writes Maia Szalavitz at Time magazine, examining possible consequences for teens and young adults of revisions to the medical definition of alcoholism. “And now, in a new study of the different levels of alcohol misuse, scientists say the changes made to the DSM-5 may not even represent a significant improvement in the diagnosis of alcoholism. In fact, the revised definition collapses the medical distinction between problem drinking and alcoholism, potentially leading college binge drinkers to be mislabeled as possible lifelong alcoholics.  The changes take effect in May, when the DSM-5 will be released.” Experts warn that the new policy of lumping beginning drinkers with end stage alcoholics “was driven by researchers who are not sensitive to how the label would play out in young people’s lives.”

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