Why is "Autism" described as a "disorder"?

The reason "Autism" is described as "Autism Spectrum Disorder", rather than a condition is based on the information found in the DSM - 5.

The description of the disorder (along with prognosis, symptomology, prevalence, etc.) is discussed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition.  It is usually referred to as DSM -5 and is published by the American Psychiatric Association.

Most professional organizations recognize and accept the nomenclature described in the manual, thus providing the international community of mental health professionals the opportunity to discuss current and trending best practices using a common frame of reference.

The fact that mental conditions are called "disorders" rather than "illnesses" is a nice detail.  The stigma of "mental illness" is difficult - if not impossible - to overcome for many individuals.  At least 'disorder' doesn't seem nearly as damning as 'illness'.

As always, just our opinion.

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