dsm5trThe text revision for DSM5 is the now the diagnostic book of record for the APA…and for the ASWB. We've detailed some of the changes in earlier posts. The changes between regular 5 and 5-TR are many, but easy to miss. One big change stands out and it worth some extra time to get familiar with before stepping up to the the social work licensing exam: the reworking of extended grief into prolonged grief disorder. Here's the full criteria via Psychiatry Online.

Diagnostic Criteria for Prolonged Grief Disorder (F43.8)

  1. The death, at least 12 months ago, of a person who was close to the bereaved individual (for children and adolescents, at least 6 months ago).

  2. Since the death, the development of a persistent grief response characterized by one or both of the following symptoms, which have been present most days to a clinically significant degree. In addition, the symptom(s) has occurred nearly every day for at least the last month:

    1. Intense yearning/longing for the deceased person.

    2. Preoccupation with thoughts or memories of the deceased person (in children and adolescents, preoccupation may focus on the circumstances of the death).

  3. Since the death, at least three of the following symptoms have been present most days to a clinically significant degree. In addition, the symptoms have occurred nearly every day for at least the last month:

    1. Identity disruption (e.g., feeling as though part of oneself has died) since the death.

    2. Marked sense of disbelief about the death.

    3. Avoidance of reminders that the person is dead (in children and adolescents, may be characterized by efforts to avoid reminders).

    4. Intense emotional pain (e.g., anger, bitterness, sorrow) related to the death.

    5. Difficulty reintegrating into one's relationships and activities after the death (e.g., problems engaging with friends, pursuing interests, or planning for the future).

    6. Emotional numbness (absence or marked reduction of emotional experience) as a result of the death.

    7. Feeling that life is meaningless as a result of the death.

    8. Intense loneliness as a result of the death.

  4. The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

  5. The duration and severity of the bereavement reaction clearly exceed expected social, cultural, or religious norms for the individual's culture and context.

  6. The symptoms are not better explained by another mental disorder, such as major depressive disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder, and are not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., medication, alcohol) or another medical condition.

Remember, the social work licensing exam is meant for beginning social workers. You are being tested for starter knowledge, skills, and abilities-primarily the KSAs that might prevent you from doing harm as you put your license to use. Even for the clinical exam, you don't have to memorize every line of every diagnosis. But you should have a working familiarity with the diagnoses that come up most regularly (you know the ones).

A great way to get that knowledge locked in and get familiar with the test itself: practice tests. We've got lots of 'em. If you haven't already, create an account to get started.

Happy studying and good luck on the exam!

May 23, 2022
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