The American Psychiatric Association (“APA”) recently published the fifth version of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (“DSM-5”), which is a widely-used handbook for health care professionals to assess and diagnose mental disorders. According to the APA, DSM-5 – which is the first major revision since 1994 – accounts for the wealth of new research and knowledge about mental disorders since the release of the last version. DSM-5 includes new diagnoses for mental illnesses such as communication disorder (persistent difficulties in the social uses of verbal and nonverbal communication), new depressive disorders (including recognition of a premenstrual dysphoric disorder), and certain impulse related disorders (such as hoarding and skin-picking).

DSM-5 includes mental disorders of which managers, supervisors and human resources personnel may not be knowledgeable, but that may be implicated by the Americans with Disabilities Act and amendments thereto. Accordingly, employers are advised to take steps to ensure that their management and human resources personnel carefully respond to employee requests related to mental disorders, including engaging in the interactive process and providing reasonable accommodations where appropriate.