Are these disorders and syndromes “real” psychiatric illnesses? The DSM-5 no longer separates delusional disorder from shared delusional disorder. If criteria are met for delusional disorder, that diagnosis is made. If the diagnosis cannot be made but shared beliefs are present, the diagnosis “other specified schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorder” is used.
Those who advocated for inclusion of PAS cited the benefits that follow from a legitimate diagnosis such as legitimatizing problems that family therapists and psychotherapists encounter, allowing insurance coverage, and stimulating research. However, PAS was rejected as not having a good enough scientific basis.
Managing affective involvement
How does the psychiatrist manage families where emotional involvement is extreme? Psychiatrists first need to decide whether the family is capable of making changes and is willing to work on structural change within the family. If not, we can help patients remove themselves from destructive family situations. If the patient in your office wants to leave the family system or minimize the impact of the family system, individual psychotherapy that identifies the impact of family dysfunction, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, can be used as a type of deprogramming. Exit strategies also can be discussed.