Some of the country's leading health officials are changing the way they define mental disorders.
On December 1, the American Psychiatric Association voted on new criteria for the fifth edition of its book, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM5].
"It's the gold standard," said Knoxville psychologist Dr. Lois Prislovsky on the book, which is used by psychologists and psychiatrists across the country.
More Information: Read about all of the APA's changes here
The new edition, which will be released in the spring of 2013, will hold a number of changes. Hoarding Disorder will be officially recognized in the book for the first time ever. The term, pedophila, will now be referred to as pedophilic disorder. Asperger's Syndrome, a disorder that affects social interaction, will now be classified as a form of autism.
Knoxville resident Marc Silberman was diagnosed with the disorder in 1994.
"I have social problems with knowing what to say and do, and what's not appropriate and how much is too much information to give," he said.
Silberman told 10News he is happy to see health officials place more focus on the issue of mental disorders than they did two decades ago.
"It's national, people all over the United States understand it," he said.
Prislovsky, who is also president of the Psychoeducational Network, said she believes the APA's changes will make it easier for doctors to diagnose certain mental disorders.
"It's going to make us more specific with our diagnosis, because the body of knowledge has grown so much, we can be more accurate," she said.
It's a sentiment APA President Dr. Dilip Jeste agrees with.
"We developed DSM-5 by utilizing the best experts in the field and extensive reviews of the scientific literature and original research and we have produced a manual that best represents the current science," Jeste said in a press release.
According to the APA, the organization has been evaluating changes to the DSM for more than a decade. It has received contributions and opinions from more than 1,500 experts in the fields of psychiatry, psychology, and social work from 39 countries.