People can be diagnosed with SSD if, for at least six months, they’ve had one or more symptoms that are distressing and/or disruptive to their daily life, and if they have one of the following three reactions:
Criteria #1: disproportionate thoughts about the seriousness of their symptom(s);
Criteria #2: a high level of anxiety about their symptoms or health; or
Criteria #3: devoting excessive time and energy to their symptoms or health concerns.
The vague description of SSD to be included in DSM-5 will cause numerous people to be misdiagnosed with a mental disorder due to a physical disorder they live with, including chronic illnesses, cancers, etc. This stigmatizes those with illnesses and can prevent them from accessing proper treatment, especially in illnesses that have been previously thought to be 'all in your head' like fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. It could also have horrible effects for those on the cusp of disability and disfigurement, or in the health activist/blogging world, trying to fight for awareness and to stop the advancement of their illnesses.
It can also apply to parents or loved ones overly concerned with an illness someone they care for is experiencing. One hates to think of a legitimately ill child being taken away from a caring parent because he or she actually is trying to get something done for the benefit of the child's well-being.
Kirsten Schultz started this petition with a single signature, and now has 541 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.