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Despite pressure, US psychiatric association won't classify parental alienation as disorder

09/21/2012 01:38 EDT | Updated 11/21/2012 05:12 EST
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Rebuffing an intensive lobbying campaign, a task force of the American Psychiatric Association has decided not to list the disputed concept of parental alienation in the updated version of its catalogue of mental disorders.

The term conveys how a child's relationship with one estranged parent can be poisoned by the other parent, and there's broad agreement that it sometimes occurs in the context of divorces and child-custody disputes.

However, debate has raged for years over whether the phenomenon should be formally classified as a mental health disorder by the psychiatric association as it updates its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders for the first time since 1994.

The new manual won't be completed until next year, but the decision against classifying parental alienation as a disorder has been made.

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