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APA to Correct Error in DSM-5 Terminology Regarding Pedophilic Disorder

November 06, 2013

The term “sexual orientation” is incorrectly used to describe pedophilic disorder in the recently updated Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the American Psychiatric Association (APA) said in a press release. The phrase will be replaced with “sexual interest” in the next printing of the manual and in the electronic version. 

Pedophilic disorder is a “paraphilia” and not a “sexual orientation,” the APA clarified in its statement, also noting that the inaccurate terminology was found in the text discussion of pedophilic disorder and not in the diagnostic criteria. 

In a document released earlier in the year, the APA explained changes to paraphilic disorders, including pedophilic disorder. “In the case of pedophilic disorder, the notable detail is what wasn’t revised in the new manual. Although proposals were discussed through the DSM-5 development process, diagnostic criteria ultimately remained the same as in DSM-IV-TR. Only the disorder name will be changed from pedophilia to pedophilic disorder to maintain consistency with the chapter’s other listings.” 

DSM-5 includes eight paraphilic disorders: pedophilic disorder, exhibitionistic disorder, fetishistic disorder, frotteuristic disorder, sexual masochism disorder, sexual sadism disorder, transvestic disorder, and voyeuristic disorder. 

 “APA stands firmly behind efforts to criminally prosecute those who sexually abuse and exploit children and adolescents. We also support continued efforts to develop treatments for those with pedophilic disorder with the goal of preventing further acts of abuse,” the organization said. 

—Lauren LeBano

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